By Kurtis Rattay, animal care assistant, Wolf Haven
During this year’s holiday season, the animals at Wolf Haven International have been gifted with three large-scale donations. They all came from organizations looking for a waste-free way to dispose of high-quality meat that, despite being in good condition, could not be repurposed for human consumption. These donations not only kept the products from going to the landfill but saved Wolf Haven thousands of dollars on feeding costs and provided ethical nutrition for the sanctuary’s residents.
The first donation came from Crowd Cow, a company that connects consumers with independent ranches. The donated meat was either unsold or did not meet the standards set by the company. According to one Crowd Cow employee, their East Coast counterpart regularly donates unsellable meat to animal sanctuaries, and the Seattle-based company contacted Wolf Haven with the same intention. Animal Care staff happily drove down to Forest Grove, OR, to pick up 1,500 pounds of craft beef and chicken.
Only a week later, Animal Care staff drove back to Oregon and picked up a huge donation from an out-of-business pet food company specializing in raw cat food. The company had tried for a while to liquidate its products and had contacted several animal centers. The Wild Cat Sanctuary kindly redirected them to us. We drove back to Wolf Haven with 2,500 pounds of frozen venison, beef, chicken and turkey.
The most recent donation came from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Wendy Lowe, a law enforcement officer with WDFW, generously thought about benefiting the wolves when hundreds of pounds of elk meat needed to be disposed-off, following a now-settled poaching case.
Donations are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations. Although a precise total amount of savings cannot be calculated, it is safe to put the number in the thousands of dollars. With substantial sanctuary projects on the horizon, these saved costs can then be allocated to improve sanctuary habitat and infrastructure, which in turn increases the quality of life for the animals.
Wolf Haven is deeply grateful to have been chosen by these organizations—and the wolves and coyotes who call the sanctuary home seem to appreciate the gift as well!
The newest resident at the Wolf Haven International sanctuary in Tenino used to only roam as far as the backyard cable connected to her collar would let her go. Layla, a first-generation wolfdog — her mother was a wolf and her father a Malamute — recently arrived at Wolf Haven by way of an animal shelter in Thurston County.
Want to watch? Wolf Haven International mention begin at 5:53 mark. Wolf Haven included in the “Winning Winter Tours” section of the book.
A new voice can be heard at Wolf Haven. Layla, a three-year old female, is an F1 wolfdog, or first generation, meaning that 50% of her DNA comes from a pure wolf (in this case her mother) and 50% from a domestic dog (her dad, a Malamute).
Author Paula Wild’s latest book, Return of the Wolf: Conflict and Coexistence, was published in October 2018 and became a bestseller in British Columbia. She visited Wolf Haven International in 2016, visited the sanctuary and spent time with Wendy Spencer, our director of operations and Erik Wilber, sanctuary director. Here is a blog post about the howls that she heard while here.
At Wolf Haven International, the staff is tasked with taking care of dozens of wolves and other wild canines. Although much of the job is about stayingout of the animal’s way.
“We are simply guests in the animal’s home, and it’s better for wolves to be left alone so that they can live as a wolf,” said Kim Young, the haven’s communications director.
It’s the holiday season, when many of us will be getting together with family and friends. A big part of holiday traditions are the wonderful meals we share. It’s no different for the resident wolves at the sanctuary when they get their own turkey dinners .
Volunteer of the Quarter, Richard NicholsBy Dan Monn, Animal Care, Gift Shop & Volunteer Assistant and Cindy Irwin, Director of Education & Volunteer Services, Wolf Haven International
If you had the chance to visit Wolf Haven this summer on a Friday or Monday, chances are pretty good that you met one of our outstanding volunteers, Richard Nichols. Richard is a new volunteer who has made a big impact. He easily engages guests at the docent station with warmth and enthusiasm. Model skulls of wolves, coyotes, bears, and cougars are some of the props that guests get to handle and learn from with Richard’s expert guidance. Watching Richard interact with visitors of all ages, you can see how adept he is at making them feel welcome.
Having recently retired, Richard is now pursuing his lifelong interest in nature; that includes getting back to some of his wildlife art and photography, while volunteering as a docent with Wolf Haven and at Northwest Trek as well. He enjoys the opportunity that volunteering gives him to meet new people and talk about the importance of conserving our natural environments. One day in particular stands out for him at Wolf Haven. It is a magical, thrilling sound to hear when our wolves all howl in unison, and one day, they howled a total of nine times! It is unknown why they were so vocal that day, but it made it a very special one for Richard and the guests to share. Still, Richard looks forward to the day that Wolf Haven, and similar organizations, are no longer necessary. Until then, we are very happy to have him as one of our outstanding volunteers.