A volunteering story by: Jicole Martinez
I had seen the Wolf Guy with his trailer or wolves and booth set up in different places around town. I volunteered at Local festivals, or street fairs where we would educate the public about Wolves, and Wolf Hybrids. We helped to educate people about Not owning Wolves or Wolf Hybrids and explaining the fate of many of those proposed Pet Wolves. Many are euthanized, brought to a shelter or rescue, seized from state officials or Humane Society. From being taken away early from their mothers, many of whom are not provided correct housing or nutrition. They are pulled very early from 1-4 weeks of age and raised by humans to help “tame” the wolf cub. Many times these Wolf cubs are changed hands multiple times and end up unsocialized, incorrectly fed, scared and aggressive. Many people want the wolf look but do not understand or can handle the actual temperament most of the adolesent and adult wolves exhibit. Many times Normal 6 foot fencing would be adequate for a normal dog, but with a wolf it is not adequate and they need extensive housing. The correct housing is at least an 8 foot climb proof fence, with fencing extending 2 feet underground, a place to burrow or make a den, shade, trees, an more interactive environment for the wolf. So you see a Backyard and definitely an apartment are not suited for a wolf, or most wolf hybrids. Most people don’t realize local regulations on wolves and or wolf hybrids and own their animals illegally.
I was really inspired as Wolves are one of my favorite animals and as a little kid I would seek any information I could on them. I always wanted to work with wolves when I was younger. I also wanted to help and possibly touch the wolves that were in the sanctuary. I found it very informative to learn this information and to share it with others. I was born and raised in the inner city in the bay area so I had little contact with wolves other than TV, Books and The bigger Zoos. We had a few local zoo’s but none of them had wolves. I really wanted to volunteer because I had seen a litter of wolf hybrid puppies previously a few weeks before. I wanted to hold and bottle feed the little cubs. I have a strong interest in Mammal Predators and in Pack hunting. So to learn first hand and be around these animals was such an experience and I was helping out by educating the people who were interested enough to come stop by and listen and learn about the wolves. Many of the wolves had sad stories, or interesting stories to be shared, which helped reiterate why wolves belong in the wild and are not suited to be pets or to be cross bred with dogs. Many of the wolves were fed cheap dog food which contains corn and other fillers which are foreign to the wolves diet. Many people don’t realize how much Fresh meat a pack of wolves can go through a week. It’s thousands of lbs. It is not cheap, nor easy job to keep the wolves fed correctly, supplements and vitamins are also usually injected into the meat to help ensure that the wolves are getting all the nutrients and vitamins they need. They also need natural sunlight to obtain Vitamin D that they need. So many people who obtain wolves don’t realize the in depth knowledge needed to properly feed, house and care wolves. Then the first sight of trouble, an escape, unwanted behavior, outgrows their expectations… many of those are what causes the wolf to get displaced from the original owners who were not prepared for the reality of owning a wolf or a hybrid.
The Aha! moment…
I learned more than I could have ever learned from just a book or tv. I never really took into account how to house a wolf, how to feed a wolf, what care that they required if someone or place wanted to care for one properly. I had grown up thinking wolf hybrids were awesome and that I really wanted one someday. Knowing what I know now I don’t think it’s fair to intentionally buy a wolf for any reason. I think in all likelihood that a Sanctuary a Forever home for these wolves that are bought for all the wrong reasons, or displaced from Zoos and such. I think that a Sanctuary or preserve that will be safe for that animals whole lifetime is the best place for them other than in the wild. Human’s have decimated the population of all wolf species. We have hunted them, killed them out of fear and for the protection of our pets and livestock. I think if your a farmer you have to accept the fact that there will always be wild predators. If you live near wildlife you have to expect it to not know boundaries. Animals don’t see that invisible property line that is so blatant to most humans. We move so fast in society we often don’t think about the repercussions of our actions till it is history. We look back at see how we almost ran the wolves into extinction with a few species already gone forever. This experience really made me think about wanting wild animals differently. I changed views from wanting to become a Zoo Keeper to a Research Biologist. So Yes Animals were still my main interest but I learned I rather do my part and study animals usually where they are found naturally and usually from a safe distance. Not interacting or disturbing the animal during it’s natural behavior. I felt like working for a Zoo only helped create the market for the supply and demand for more wolves destined to live captive lives and forced to live in most of the time unhappy, unsuitable conditions and treatment. Many of these animals are abused when they don’t react like a domestic dog might. Some of these animals end their abuse in attack on their caretakers after years of abuse and neglect.
To summarize it in three words…
- Respect, Preserve, Education
Why should you do this
I recommend other people volunteer in something that they really care about or really have an interest in. You might learn a few things that you might not of expected to learn. I thought I knew a lot about wolves but I learned many things that I’ve never even thought of to think about by this experience. I have a whole new perspective on wolves, wolf hybrids and about keeping them as pets.