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Posted: Aug 22 2006, 12:09 AM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 10-July 06
Year of birth: 1996
Wolf Haven resident since: 2005
A good number of our wolves here at Wolf Haven have come to us from private ownerships; it is a all-too-common and very unfortunate situation, one in which the wolves often end up paying the price. Many people believe that if they socialize their pup, or if they love it enough, that it will grow to be like a dog, docile and obedient. Only too late do these folks realize that they are in way over their heads.
Blackhawk came to us from an unfortunate situation like this. He was privately owned in Oregon, along with another wolf, Badger, and their pups, only one of whom, Ladyhawk, survived into adulthood. The owners’ divorce made it impossible to keep the three wolves, so they were sent to a privately run wolf rescue, Never Cry Wolf, in Sacramento. In spring of 2005, Never Cry Wolf was shut down after its permit was not renewed, and was forced to find homes for its numerous wolves, which is when we were contacted about taking in Blackhawk, Ladyhawk, and Badger. Animal care went off to rescue these three and found all three in horrible condition; Blackhawk was the best off, only emaciated, but Ladyhawk and Badger both also suffered from other infections and injuries. Frightened and wary of humans, the three were only successfully crated through the brave efforts of animal staff, and made their way to their new home in Tenino.
Blackhawk now lives in an off-tour enclosure with his daughter, Ladyhawk, behind our California Pack (Miwok, Cherokee, and Stormy). There is no doubt the two are related – they both feature the same black coats and white masking, although Blackhawk is larger. Both have blossomed in the time they have been with us, becoming bolder and more confident, although both are still understandably wary of people. They have together been delighting in all sorts of new and interesting things the animal care staff provides for them, especially deer carcasses and scented enrichments. Although Lady Hawk is the bolder of the two, Blackhawk has become a pro at sneaking in to steal a piece of whatever she’s playing with.
Many people believe owning an exotic animal will bring them closer to nature, or they own them as a status symbol, a cool, uncommon pet. While many may have good intentions, or only their animal’s best interests at heart, wolf ownership is quite a responsibility, and one that people are not usually ready for. Unfortunately, when wolves are owned privately, the result is almost always the same; the animal ends up suffering. Behaving like wild animals (imagine that), they tend to be uncontrollable, frequent escape artists, and destructive. None of these are desirable in a pet, but the animals can’t control the instincts that often lead them to do these behaviors. In the majority of cases, unless a suitable home can be found for the wolf, they are put down.
It’s been quite a fulfilling experience watching Blackhawk blossom into such a happy, well-adjusted animal from the shy, highly suspicious wolf he came to us as. While he still is skittish around people, we can see him putting on weight and gaining confidence with each day. It’s been quite an honor to see him changing in his time with us.
It is through your support, which allows us to continue to rescue and care for unfortunate animals like Blackhawk, Ladyhawk and Badger, that we are able to continue with our important work here. Your generosity allows us to care for our residents, and to continue to educate people about wolves and wolf or wolf-dog hybrid ownership. Thank you!