I lived in an enchanting hut named ‘The Dome’ and could see the wolves from my front door. It was a struggle to adapt to no heating, running water, or electricity, an outhouse for a toilet, and showers that at first never seemed to warm up. I wondered if I’d have to go home after only a few days.
The sanctuary had about fifty animals, and I was expected to learn their history, any medications needed, and know them by name, a hard task in an enclosure of similar looking Arctic wolves. You had to look for little traits, like a spot on the nose, or a patch of grey on their fur. Some duties took a while to get used to, such as shifting through discarded bits of deer and elk carcass in wolf kitchen, but we let ourselves go and enjoyed it.
Once I’d past my initial test, I was put in charge of an enclosure of five low content wolf dogs, dogs bred with wolves over several generations to give lots of dog traits, and a furry red-fox, called Romeo. He was a delight to feed, if a little fussy. My main duties were to top up waters, feed, clean, and socialize, meaning I got lots of wolf kisses. After a few months, I upgraded to mid-level animals with higher wolf content. During my initial meeting, Cheyenne climbed my back in an attempt to dominate me, and I had to slip her off to let her know this wasn’t allowed. Other tasks included feeding, a literal barrel of laughs as we tossed loaves of meat into enclosures. Some days we’d feed chicken, and once, we fed what was left of a dear carcass to a very lucky trio. I was even able to take a few wolves for a walk using a very thick leash. The power I felt as I strode with my companion was truly amazing.