Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, a non-profit organisation for the care of abused and abandoned captive-bred wolves and wolf dogs, run volunteering positions in the high desert of New Mexico. I joined their team during the winter months to make my gap-year dream come true. I shall ever be thankful for the advice that led me there, for the experience changed my life.
I arrived at the sparse desert wilderness in the middle of the night to find it blanketed in snow. Some days temperatures dropped to minus 20, and on that first night, I awoke to find my wood stove burned out with no idea how to relight it. This was one of many challenges I had to face to survive my new surroundings.
The sanctuary is based on the Navajo Reservation, a tribe of Native American Indians. The sanctuary’s director, Leyton J Cougar, told us about the Navajo on our drive from the airport. I was amazed, for example, I had no idea the reservation had its own laws. My filmic image of the Wild West was slowly being replaced with a new and intriguing reality.