Jacob and Tamaska were part of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan program, a federally managed program designed to maintain the genetic health and viability of this incredibly endangered species.
Jacob had recently turned 11, and though not considered old by Wolf Haven standards, he was approaching old age. We began to notice some changes in him; most notably, he seemed a little slower than usual. One morning, instead of eagerly waiting at the fence for food and dancing from foot to foot as usual, he hung back. Despite this change in behavior, Jacob continued to eat and move well, but on June 3, he was found lying in his daybed next to the large oak tree in his enclosure. Animal care staff brought Jacob to the clinic where blood work revealed advanced kidney failure. Sadly, there was nothing that could be done but help our friend pass peacefully. Jacob was humanely euthanized at the clinic without ever waking up.
Jacob’s passing took a toll on his enclosure mate, Tamaska. Often when a wolf loses his or her mate, we see what we would call grief manifest in myriad ways, just as we do with humans. Sometimes it is general lethargy, or lack of appetite, or some other change in behavior. For Tamaska, it was all of these things.
Initially we attributed these changes to her adjusting to life without Jacob, but when her behavior didn’t improve, we took her to the veterinary clinic. Bloodwork revealed that Tamaska had Addison’s disease, a disorder of the adrenal gland that is often exacerbated by stress. The most likely scenario is that she had this underlying condition for a while but the stress of Jacob’s passing was the tipping point. They were very bonded and it’s difficult to say what her quality of life would have been moving forward. We could have tried to manage it – the condition is fairly common in certain breeds of dogs – but it would have required us catching her up every 20 days for the rest of her life for injections. This might be ok with a domestic dog, but not a red wolf.
The kindest thing we could do was to help her pass on. Tamaska passed away on June 15, less than two weeks after Jacob died.
Tamaska and Jacob had been very bonded while they lived together at Wolf Haven. In death, we plan to put them together in our memorial garden – just as they should be. Rest in peace beautiful Tamaska and handsome Jacob.
Ruby was one of the red wolves living at Wolf Haven as part of the Red wolf Species Survival Plan program. She passed away in June. Below is a farewell written in her honor and sent to those caring people who had symbolically adopted her.
by Meghan Murphy, Animal Care Assistant
It is with great sadness that I am writing to you because our friend Ruby has passed away. Ruby was only nine years old and very happy and healthy. Her passing was sudden and unexpected and we are all grieving her loss.
During a routine morning walk through the sanctuary on Wednesday June 10, animal care staff noticed Ruby was not out running and posturing at the fence line with her neighbors as she usually does. When animal care staff investigated further, Ruby was found in one of her dens not moving. She had died during the night. Her belly was a little distended, which is not unusual after death, and there were no signs of injury.
The night before her death Ruby had been happily romping and running with her companion Tala, showing no signs of illness. Following her death a necropsy was performed and no cause of death was immediately found. The full results of the necropsy are currently pending.
It has been an honor to care for Ruby. Her bold, feisty and playful nature was a joy to behold. She will be greatly missed and will always remain in our hearts.
Thank you for your generosity, care and support of Ruby while she was with us at Wolf Haven. May her unique and vibrant spirit continue to live on in your heart.