Happy National Volunteer Week!

Volunteer designed frame for wolf photos

Volunteer designed frame for wolf photos

by Cindy Irwin, Director of Volunteer Services, Wolf Haven International

Wolf Haven volunteers help to create a better world for wolves and people in many ways. Just as the wolf pack depends upon one another for survival, Wolf Haven depends on volunteers to help us accomplish our goals.

Here are some of many activities our volunteers are involved with that support our mission, “to conserve and protect wolves and their habitat”.

Volunteers Becky & Kaye prepare wolf posters for education programs.

Volunteers Becky & Kaye prepare material for education programs.

Volunteer guide talks to group about wolves.

Volunteer guide talks to group about wolves.

• Provide our guests with a chance to see sanctuary animals and learn about wolf behavior

• Get their hands dirty in the ground to help create a beautiful landscape

• Staff information tables that provide additional information about wolf behavior

•Ask for donations to further the work of the sanctuary

• Serve as a board member for Wolf Haven

• Use artistic talents to support our events & fundraisers

Volunteer Suzanne talks to visitors about prairie plants.

Volunteer Suzanne talks to visitors about prairie plants.

• Create unique or smelly “enrichment” for the resident animals

• Guide guests through the prairie so they can learn about the native plants and animals

• Provide information about wolf conservation throughout the community at schools, churches, fairs,  and prisons

• Give visitors a memorable experience at our sanctuary

<em>Volunteer Kevin discusses nonlethal deterrents to keep predators from livestock.

Volunteer Kevin discusses nonlethal deterrents to keep predators from livestock.




Could you be a Wolf Haven volunteer? Want to learn more? Send an email to Wolf Haven’s Director of Volunteer Services, Cindy Irwin, at cirwin@wolfhaven.org.

Volunteers tend to the enrichment garden in wolf sanctuary.

Volunteers tend to the enrichment garden in wolf sanctuary.

Saying good-bye to Spruce

by Wendy Spencer, Director of Animal Care

RIP Beloved Spruce (2003-20016)

RIP Beloved Spruce

Saying goodbye to one of our friends is never easy, so it is with a heavy heart I write to let you know that Spruce has passed away.

We have been watching a decline in his condition over the course of the last year and though he had been enjoying relatively good quality of life, we knew that his time would be drawing near. During the morning walk-through the sanctuary on Saturday, March 12, Spruce was not at the front of his enclosure waiting for food like he has been every other day for the last 13 years.

Spruce in his younger years

Spruce in his younger years

Right away, we knew something was not right. After checking his shelters and still finding no sign of him, we checked his natural den and discovered him lying near the entrance, head poking out but the rest of his body inside. He was alert and responsive but too weak to get himself out. Animal Care staff chemically immobilized him to help him out of his den and since we had him in hand, we took him to the vet for a full diagnostic. Sadly, x-rays revealed fluid in one of his lung fields as well as what appeared to be cancer. Additionally, his other organs did not look healthy and blood work indicated that his liver was shutting down.  The kindest thing we could do for our friend was to help him along, so Spruce was humanely euthanized at the clinic without every waking up from anesthesia.

An earlier photo of Spruce

Cricket & her brother Spruce

Spruce’s sisters Cricket and Jinkies passed away a few years ago from similar cardio-respiratory conditions, so we suspect there might have been something hereditary in this family. Spruce is survived by three remaining littermates, (Myta, Chai and Bart), who at this point show no signs of any health issues. We are hopeful that whatever afflicted Spruce and his sisters is not present in the rest of the group.

Spruce enjoying a stuffed pumpkin.

Spruce enjoying a stuffed pumpkin.

Spruce and his entire family of eight were rescued from private ownership in 2003, when Spruce and his siblings were just seven months old. We have had the honor and privilege of watching him mature into a larger-than-life presence in the sanctuary. He lived most of his adult life on the public visitor route and because of his comfort level around staff and visitors (as well as his stunning looks), he became one of the most photographed wolves in our sanctuary.

Though he slowed down the last few years, Spruce was one of the most vocal and gregarious animals here and because of his antics, he endeared himself to all who had the honor of knowing him.  He has left an indelible mark on our hearts and minds. And although it is bittersweet each time I walk by his now vacant enclosure, I cannot help but smile a little as I think of him and the joy of his fullness of being. Rest in peace, friend.

Remembering Wayne


by Cindy Irwin, Director of Volunteer Services, Wolf Haven

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”

Flavia Weedn

Wolf Haven has lost a cherished volunteer. Wayne Clark Elliott served as a sanctuary guide steadfastly for ten years. With a booming voice, he shared his passion for wolves with thousands of guests from all over the world. Wayne was known by all as an expressive communicator with a very unique sense of humor.

One of the favorite anecdotes he would share with guests was the wolves’ fondness for frozen bloodsicles. With a straight face, he would suggest that visitors pick up their own frozen blood treat in the gift shop at the end of their visit. You could see folks looking at each other, thinking “Is this guy serious?” All the puzzled looks were replaced with smiles when they heard the words“ Just joking!”, in that rich, commanding tone of voice unique to Wayne.

Wayne packed so much information into his wolf tours that he found it difficult to keep it to the prescribed 50 minutes. He simply loved sharing his passion, which successfully led to his goal of dispelling myth and legend about wolves, both captive and wild.

Wayne receiving award at 2015 Volunteer Appreciation

Wayne receiving award at 2015 Volunteer Appreciation

For many of us, there will always be an empty spot where Wayne once was. He was a great teacher and we all looked up to him. Just like the wolves who have passed during the last 34 years, Wayne will never be forgotten. His contribution to wolf conservation has become a permanent legacy at our sanctuary of peace. I would like to think of him now residing in a heavenly place where he may chat about what he loves, without limits. Rest in peace, Wayne.