Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tioga meets Little Girl

There have been many changes around the sanctuary over the last year!  As you may already know, we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and we do not receive federal, state, or grant funding of any kind.  We rely solely on private donations, gift shop sales, and tour fees in order to provide for our wolves. Thanks to outstanding support in recent months, we have been able to renovate the facility and provide new enclosures for many of our wolves!  One of these enclosures was set aside for two of our wolves.  Some of you may already know Tioga, but Little Girl is new around here.  Here is their story:

Tioga meets Little Girl  

Tioga of Speedwell

Tioga is a nine year old male timber wolf.  When he and his family were rescued and brought to the sanctuary in 2006 he was just a wee pup!

He learned a lot from his family…especially his father and alpha, Merlin.

Merlin was a true alpha and ruled his pack with authority and affection.  A few months ago he became very ill but reigned strong and dominant over his pack until the end. He will always remain in our hearts.

After the loss of his father Merlin, Tioga became lonely and in need of a companion.

Little Girl of Speedwell

Little Girl is a three year old female timber wolf.  She was rescued from Missouri.  

With her, came a sweet, quirky companion who quickly stole our hearts.  His name was Booboo.

A short time ago, Booboo became ill, and Little Girl was the first to sound the alarm, alerting whoever was near that something was wrong with her friend.  It was because of her that Booboo was given a fighting chance and rushed to the vet.  After several days, Booboo sadly lost the battle with his relentless illness.  With broken hearts, we bid him a fond farewell.

Without the presence of Booboo in an enclosure nearby, Little Girl was in need of a companion too.

Both alone in separate enclosures … would Tioga and Little Girl perhaps make good companions?


It was late one Sunday afternoon, and the new enclosure was finally finished!

Tioga was the first to enter and investigate.

Little Girl wondered if she might get the chance to join him.

At first she was apprehensive, but in no time at all she began to rejoice in her new freedom!

Next, it was time for Tioga to meet her...

…and the games began.

Their first meeting went...pretty well

It wasn’t long before they were happily playing and roaming their new enclosure together.

Thank you to all those who have visited us or donated time or funds to Wolf Sanctuary of PA.  The success story of Tioga and Little Girl, and the ongoing care of all of the wolves, is made possible thanks to your support.

Who knows what the future holds in store for Tioga and Little Girl


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Farewell Merlin, A True Alpha


Merlin came to Wolf Sanctuary of PA with his family on May 05, 2006.  It was a warm spring day.  Along with him came his mate Niksa, her sister Keisha, and a wee baby of two weeks named Tioga.  For the first few days, Merlin and his companions were afraid to leave the small area of concrete in the very front of their enclosure because they had never experienced anything larger.  It was not long, though, before they adjusted to their new, large forest home at the sanctuary, and Merlin was transformed from a fearful apprehensive animal into a loving, happy, and strong alpha wolf.  He especially enjoyed running around his territory and playing in the snow with Niksa, Keisha, and Tioga.  In the summer he enjoyed running and hiding in the tall grasses.  He finally had understood that freedom was the way of life that belongs to each and every wolf.

Merlin was a true alpha male, and through watching his behavior, the volunteers learned more than they ever thought was possible about wolf behavior and the social values of the pack.  Merlin was always seen with his tail held high in the dominant position to designate him as the alpha.  He taught his son, Tioga, to know his position in the pack.  During feedings, he always ate first, as alphas typically do, and he certainly had the appetite of a wolf, once eating over 25 lbs of deer meat in one sitting!  He was a strong and noble leader, and though he was smaller than his son, he held uncontested reign over his pack, and lead his family with authority and affection.

Merlin was a very special member of our packs and his passing will be difficult for all at the sanctuary, wolves and humans alike.  Merlin had a very special human friend and they spent hours of fun and loving times together, right until the end.  We thank God for allowing us to know Merlin and to be a part of his life here on earth. 

As winter approaches, and the wolves at the sanctuary howl to celebrate the coming frost and snow, a deep strong howl will be missing from the chorus--the howl of the one who taught us the true meaning of the word “alpha.”  We take comfort in knowing Merlin is at peace, and can once again play in the snow with his pack, Niksa and Keisha, letting out that alpha howl of his.

"Dear, dear Merlin, you spent many wonderful hours with us and for that we thank you.  You were loving with your family and you taught us so much about love and caring.  You were a strong alpha wolf who knew the value of family and love and you lived your life in a special way that will remain in our hearts forever.  You will be missed but wherever you are now, we know you are running with the wind and being more free than ever......When the snow falls we will be reminded of how much you loved trying to catch the snow flakes.  You showed us that the way of the wolf is a wonderful and exciting life and we will hear you when the wind blows and the trees rustle their branches.  We will watch for the trickling of the water as the stream flows over the stones and you will be remembered.  Farewell my wonderful friend and may you always know wherever you are that you were a shining light to brighten the earth with love.  When the sanctuary rings out with the howling of the Speedwell Wolves, we will listen for your alpha voice and we will remember!"  
~Barbara Darlington--Director, Wolf Sanctuary of PA

born: 2002 / rescued: 05-05-06 / died 11-03-15

Farewell Booboo


You never got to meet BooBoo but you would have loved him too. Our hearts must reach to infinity and beyond to lose so many pieces and continue to beat. It is a hard moment in time that we walk through as each passing day the sun still shines and we laugh and we cry and we remember. With tears in our eyes and with broken hearts we bid Booboo farewell on the evening of November 15, 2015.

With hope in our hearts we had prepared a cozy well insulated enclosure where our Booboo could recover upon his return home. He was to come home that morning, November 16. But that was not to be. The vet called with word that Booboo’s lungs had collapsed again and he immediately required another surgery.

Our dedicated vets and staff had worked long and hard to help him recover, but with each improvement to his health, a new complication would arise. After extensive testing, the only possible conclusion was that he had a form of autoimmune disease which was causing his own system to attack itself. After much consideration, and with great sadness, we made the decision to offer our companion an end to prolonged suffering.

We are so grateful for all of those who helped Booboo through this struggle. Your kindness and aid assisted in providing for Booboo’s surgeries and gave him a fighting chance. He battled hard, and though he lost the fight to his disease, he won our hearts with his vibrant quirky ways and will always be remembered as one of Speedwell’s own.

We love you Booboo. Rest easy, dear friend. 

born: (?) / rescued: 09-11-15 / died 11-15-15

Farewell Chipper


Chipper was born here at the sanctuary on November 11, 2001.  He spent some of his happiest times sharing his days with Destiny of Speedwell.  Chipper taught Destiny that there was nothing to fear from their human caretakers and even encouraged her to come closer to the fence during tours. 

Even in his final years, he remained young in spirit and appearance, sometimes even fooling guests into thinking he was just a pup!  Because of his youthful, sunny demeanor he will always remain one of Speedwell’s most beloved wolves.

Chipper made the tours exciting for everyone, and most of the time, he would begin the howl that so many visitors longed to hear.  His voice would ring out, loud and clear, and all around the sanctuary each wolf would respond until all of their voices could be heard joining in his song.  His spirited voice will never be forgotten.  The first snow of this year will be falling soon and Chipper would have loved to be a part of it but at the same time he will be looking down and perhaps playing in a kind of snow of his own. 

"To our dear Chipper, you will be missed by all of us in the Sanctuary, wolf and human alike!  We will listen for you voice as the wind passes through the leaves and plays in the fields.  In our hearts we know you are now running free and leaping about as you did when you were very young.  We take comfort in knowing you are safe and back with your family.  We bid a loving farewell and thank you for sharing and being a part of our lives."  
~Barbara Darlington--Director, Wolf Sanctuary of PA

born: 11-11-01 died 10-24-2015

Farewell Destiny


When Destiny met Chipper during the first week of June in 2012 there was magic in the air.  They took to each other right away.  As we watched them together we saw a beautiful combination of admiration and dedication between them.  Destiny was often very shy of human interaction, but Chipper taught her there was nothing to fear and after some time together, Destiny even began coming to the fence for treats during tours as long as Chipper was by her side.  

When Chipper passed away there was no place for Destiny to roam.  The love of her life was no longer there and life became unbearably lonely.  Doctors say wolves like humans sometimes pass on from a broken heart, and that is exactly what happened to Destiny.  She could not accept being alone, so as the wind howled through the night she just went to sleep and reunited with the love of her life, to howl and play once again with Chipper. 

"Dear Destiny, you were so much a part of our lives right from the moment you were born, especially mine.  As a newborn you were so small that we wondered if you would ever grow up to be big and strong.  You fooled all of us and your dad and mom, Kojak and Thunder, helped you to learn all about life and freedom which they explained happens only to those wolves who are loved and given a chance to live and grow with a bright future.  We will miss you so much in our lives but you made a special place in our hearts and you will forever be remembered as the lovable little one who grew into a beautiful adult, who finally knew the happiness there could be in this life.  You moved on to join the mate you found you could not live without!  Our lives have been changed with your leaving but we will listen for your happy howling with your mate in the distance and forever you will be in our hearts.  Farewell, my little Destiny, so happy to have had the privilege of being a part of your life!  You will not be forgotten!  You were special and loved by many and your life was a blessing to have been a part of.  We thank you for that!  Good-bye my Destiny" 
~Barbara Darlington--Director, Wolf Sanctuary of PA

born: September 18, 2000 died 11-13-15

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Out with the old and in with the new!

Renovation has been underway for several months now as we race against the coming of winter to install new fencing in many of our old enclosures.  This spring we were happy to be able to move several packs from their old enclosures to new homes just a few hundred yards away.  The eight new enclosures were constructed on reclaimed farmland and completed last spring.   We thank all of our contributors and all of our volunteers for putting forth the time and finances to make these changes a possibility.  Come visit on a private tour to check out all of the new enclosures and to see how the wolves are enjoying their new territories

Thursday, July 30, 2015

What is a Sanctuary and how is it different than a Rehabilitation Center?

A sanctuary is a place to seek refuge.  An animal sanctuary is a facility where animals are brought to live and be protected for the rest of their lives. Unlike animal shelters, sanctuaries do not seek to place animals with individuals or groups, instead maintaining each animal until his or her death.

Wildlife rehabilitation is the treatment and care of injured, orphaned, or sick wild animals so that they can be released back into the wild.

By your generous donations and support we continue to offer sanctuary
to Wolves and Wolf-hybrids for life.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Keisha loved the snow

Today we had snow and tomorrow we are to have snow again.  Keisha loved the snow so it is apropos that the gift of snow be given at her crossing.

A lump appeared above Keisha's left eye.  Growing fast it became a mass almost over night.  She could not open her left eye.  She was an expert at masking pain, but with her other eye blurred by a cataract she started pawing at the lump.  We made the decision to have the lump removed.  The ex-rays where taken and in that moment of review I could see in our vet's eyes the deepening concern.  Surgery began.  It was a tumor.  It had calcified and was spreading quickly.  As the snow started to fall outside, with some of us readying a warm place for her homecoming and others standing by awaiting the end of the surgery the decision was made to say farewell.  Gods speed our beauty.   

Silence.  The whole of my universe rippled as Keisha left us behind to stand beside her sister Niksa.  The gentle current of her voice will ring in other hills and mountains.  Build your pack strong as you have always done.  Tell Winston hello as I am sure he met you and guided you to the great hunt.  I know your sister greeted you warmly. Nuzzles and soft growls.  I close my eyes and I see your face looking up at me.  I open my eyes and I see your face.

Our sweet Keisha, until we meet again fair the well.  You will always be with us in spirit!  In the stillness of the winter night listen for you can still hear her sweet melodic tones calling out across the great divide.  Peace is with you.

Keisha of Speedwell was her name.  She was shy and mysterious; a stealthy beauty in her pack; aunt and mother figure to Tioga and companion to Merlin.   She came to Wolf Sanctuary on May 5, 2006.  She and her pack had many good years in their own territory with space to play and hide and just be free!  

She walked with beauty and grace and we will never forget the time we humans were allowed to share.  We mourn her loss, each in our own way.  For me it is impossible to write about her and not shed tears.  We celebrate her life.   Our beautiful ambassador.  Thank you for being!  As she would tell you "wolves are special and they need to be understood".  

born: 2004 / rescued:   05-05-06 / died 01-22-15 of Bone Cancer

Friday, January 16, 2015

Winston you will be deeply missed.

Winston you will be deeply missed, 

Almost 15 years my friend.  Second in command for many years, faithful brother and pack mentor to the end.  You stood your ground and when your brother Murphy joined the great hunt your cries of anguish could be heard long into the night and through many months after.  I can still hear you and a new pain has settled heavy in my heart. Come back, come back to me, to many gone.  Now you too have joined the great hunt.  Pain is for the living and on January 10, 2015, your pain ended.  Did you look back as your final breath escaped?  A fleeting glimpse as the great plains and flowing waters opened up before you.  Did you stand tall and stretch long?  I know you did, and I smile at the thought of you running and jumping.  Throw your head back and howl, then smile slyly as you always have.  Our beautiful Winston.  My friend.  Our friend.  Now you run with the packs on the great hunt.  Your brother leading the way. Nip his heals for me.  I will look for you after a while.  Until then the memories of you I hold will keep me sated. 

I love you.  We love you.  Winston you will be deeply missed. 

February 3, 2000 - January 10, 2015