Hey! So I had a crazy busy Christmas and New Year! Post to come on that - ALL things Disney. But I just wanted to raise some awareness for Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples FL before I got round to my big holiday post!
I was lucky enough to visit this place last week, and I was educated on a two hour tour around the facility on each wolf there (there's also some foxes, a panther, and some prarie dogs). What they do is absolutely amazing, and I really urge you to donate to them because it goes a long way, and means a lot to them. Luckily they get donations from some of the super markets - donations of MEAT! This is meat that us humans can't have, but they can freeze and give to the animals there. The sanctuary is a Non Profit Organisation, Nancy and Kent who started the foundation became an official organisation in 2001, and the place heavily relies on volunteer help and donations. They are based on just 2.5 acres of land, and recently acquired 30 acres and are awaiting permits so they can have live animals on the land, very exotic ones too!
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So while walking around the sanctuary, which is so beautiful and exotic from the moment you walk in, each den we visited we were given the backstory of the wolf, or wolf dog and how he/she ended up there. Mostly the stories were rescues - injured and bought in, or people thought it would be a good idea to buy a wolf as a pet and were unable to handle them. Now, in most states if you take a wolf, or a wolf dog (which is a wolf bred with a dog) to any shelter they have to be put down. This is just the way it is, so most end up at Shy Wolf to avoid being put to sleep! They come from all over, not just Florida. Their mission is just to let the animals live out their natural life in harmony at the sanctuary. I am not a huge fan of zoo's unless there is a purpose for the animals and by purpose I mean, education, breeding to help extinction etc. But this is not a zoo, these animals quite clearly enjoy their den's - I didn't see any of them pacing about up and down, which is usually a sign of a stressed animal in a cage at a zoo. Mostly saw them all just hanging out on (yes on top) their little houses or playing with one another. It was really nice to see that they'd paired up a lot of the wolves with a partner based on personality traits, some worked some didn't - and the ones that didn't were switched out.
I didn't know that wolf dogs were a thing, but apparently they're often bred and are very expensive, people think it would be cool to own a wolf so they try to domesticate it by breeding it with a dog, but when the wolf dog hits about 2 years old, that's when they can't control it anymore. Suddenly its wolf like instincts kick in. It's a bad breeding, you never know if the dog will get more wolf or more dog in the gene pool, and more often than not it ends up in disaster - but luckily somewhere like Shy Wolf always try to open their doors to new residents.
Fun fact! All of the wolves/wolf dogs have a giant bath tub looking thing in their den, and in there for some they put apple cider vinegar - which apparently is great for their skin and bathing them! Because most of them have had very intense backstories quite a lot of them have issues, skin issues, and one was even blind - Glaucoma.
So - after the tour - we got to play with some of their resident wolf dogs! This was SO fun, just to be up close to these majestic animals was fantastic. Their eyes, their stance, ears, everything. Of course the wolfdogs we got to play with were very domesticated - they rate the animals on levels, from 5 being the most unpredictable (like they'll bite ya in a second if you take your eye off of them...) to level 1 and 2, which means they're 'safe'.
I was just in awe at how passionate everyone is there, they know absolutely everything there is to know about these animals, all their personality traits and background and work so hard to make sure they do have a life of luxury. I really can't wait to see what the future holds for them, and hopefully they can break ground soon on the new location! I have a feeling that I'd be volunteering there in the future.
Do you think you can tell the difference between a wolf dog and a wolf? Have a look at my photos below and let me know what you think are the different character traits. I'll give you some hints, their eyes, chest and ears.