Our view on SANCTUARY
All too often, when animals are rescued, they are simply saved from being put to sleep. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the animal will then have any quality of life. While rescue facilities always have good intentions, they cannot always provide the type of care that we feel animals deserve. Too many animals, too little staffing, not enough funds for proper food, shelter, or vet care can result in a situation that can become not only unpleasant for the animals, but even cruel and neglectful. At Wild Spirit we understand the intense desire to save those in need, but know that to offer true sanctuary, we must always consider our resources first. We put a great deal of thought into each animal we accept and only rescue when we are certain we can fully provide for that animal. Unfortunately, this means we can only rescue a few of the many thousands of animals in need.
Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary is committed to providing each and every one of our four-legged residents with a permanent home. When wolves or wolf-dogs come to Wild Spirit, they are not simply placed in a cage to live out of their lives. Instead, they find a permanent safe place where they receive the best environment, enrichment activities, nutrition and medical care one can provide.
All our animals are placed in compatible pairs or family groups in different sized habitats depending on their age, activity and social levels. Habitat enclosures range from 5000 sq ft to one acre in size all with natural rocky terrain, native plants, and many trees. Each enclosure is cleaned daily by staff and volunteers and provided with shelter, clean drinking water and areas to rest out of the public view. Several enclosures even include ponds or other enrichment additions.
LOCATION, TERRAIN AND WEATHER
Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary is located in the lovely mountain village of Candy Kitchen, New Mexico. Our 88-acre sanctuary sits amid ponderosa, pinion and juniper trees at 7500 feet elevation. Being in the high desert, our summers reach in the mid 90’s, with winter nights dipping in the 0 to –10-degree range. While summers are warm for the wolves and wolf-dogs, the temperature is never unbearable and they are all provided with plenty of natural shade and many enclosures have large water sources for cooling. Our animals love the cool weather of winter, and are especially frisky during our frequent winter snow falls.
DIET, NUTRITION, SUPPLEMENTATION
Throughout the years, we have dedicated ourselves to researching, developing a diet that is perfect for our wolves. Because canines are carnivorous, meat is the staple of their diet. We feed primarily wild game (such as elk and deer), or poultry, depending on availablility. We feed our residents five days out of the week, which is intended to be consistent with the fasting tendencies of wild wolves. Once a week, we treat our animals to our very own, specially designed “Wolf Loaf” which contains a variety of ingredients intended to mimic the stomach contents of the natural prey of wild wolves.
Our Wolf Loaf is made primarily of beef and turkey with other needed nutritional ingredients such as: vegetables, grains, amino acids, essential fatty acids, bone meal and other vitamins and mineral supplements. Wolf Loaf was created by our director, Leyton, and is a protected recipe. Our animals also receive a weekly multi-purpose vitamin.
Animals with specific needs, including our “geriatric” residents, enjoy diets created daily especially for them. Some of our animals receive daily or twice daily vitamins and supplements to assist with specific health issues.
Animal foods are made with love on site in our large animal food kitchen with walk-in freezer and pantry
We are required by U.S.D.A. to maintain an updated program of veterinarian care schedule and to be visited by our attending veterinarian at least twice a year. Even though we are over 60 miles from the nearest vet office we still typically get vet visits many times through the year. When needed physical examinations are given by trained staff or our attending veterinarian. With extensive knowledge gained throughout the years, and the assistance of several wonderful veterinarians, medical issues are dealt with quickly and efficiently. We believe that enrichment, exercise and nutrition play the most important roll in any animal’s health. That is why we pay such close attention to diet.
Most of our wolves are feed five times per week. Fresh water is provided daily and depending on the season sometimes multiple times each day. Some animals are on special diets that require daily feeding or a specially prepared meal. We also have a morning and evening rounds schedule that is done each day where animals are observed and delivered any medication or supplements they are prescribed.
When we determine how to best care for one of our residents, we are always aware that each wolf and wolf-dog at Wild Spirit is a unique individual with his or her own distinct personality, likes and dislikes as well as special needs. Although we fully understand that no life in captivity can ever compare to life in the wild, we make every attempt to ensure that each of our residents is provided with the most fulfilling life possible while in our care. As wolves are very social animals, all of our residents are kept in compatible pairs or family groups.
We feel it is vital to offer captive animals regular enrichment. We provide quarterly “treats” including the much-anticipated stuffed pumpkin, as well as a wide range of thoughtful activities throughout the year. Through these programs, we keep our wolves minds and bodies stimulated, offer relief from boredom, and encourage exploration and curiosity. We even have a few lucky residents who enjoy going for walks. Of course, those animals comfortable with people enjoy daily, one-on-one attention from our staff and volunteers, as well as a chance to say hello to visitors and get a snack during one of four tours offered to the public.
The safety of our animals is also something we at Wild Spirit take extremely seriously. All of the enclosures at Wild Spirit are designed to contain a wild, challenging animal, especially those prone to escape. Each enclosure is made with 9 gauge chain link fence minimum of 8 feet tall, with added fencing at the top that hangs inward to prevent climbing and/or jumping. All posts, top rail and gates are schedule 40 Steele. We also bury 3 foot of fencing under the ground along the perimeter of each enclosure to prevent our animals from digging out. Enclosures are equipped with a double gate entry system to prevent gate escapes. We not only keep our animals safe within their enclosures, but we also ensure their added safety by preventing unwanted guests from entering the compound unescorted. We have perimeter fence with locked gates, locked buildings, and nightly ‘guard duty.’