The snow lay all around her and it was eerily silent. Then, she stopped and swung her head to look over her shoulder. Silence. She swore she heard a muted crunch of stealthy footsteps
coming from the wood. Then, a large shape loomed, and then another, as they came over the rise. Her heart thudded as the wolves loped towards her, their hot breath steaming in the wind.
Danielle from Colorado had always loved wildlife, especially canids. From the time she was a young girl, she dreamed about meeting a wolf face-to-face. She was obsessed with the creatures, and her obsession only grew. Now, as an adult, she set out to live her fantasy. But she never knew that these wolves would show her their true nature.
Danielle was nervous when she signed up to volunteer at Colorado Wolf And Wildlife Center. She had no idea what to expect, but more than anything, she wanted to meet a wolf, and this was a way to give back and fulfill her lifelong dream. But the work she was assigned at first was nothing like she had anticipated.
At first, Danielle had to perform tasks around the center that were unpleasant. She had to carve up enormous racks of raw meat by hand, as well as get her hands dirty cleaning toilet tanks. But when would she finally be able to see a wolf up-close? Unbeknown to Danielle, it was all about to become a little too real.
Wolves are social pack animals, nevertheless, a large wolf can bite with a pressure of around 600lb per square inch — twice the strength of a German Shepard or Pit Bull. Wolves are also highly intelligent and are known for their clever ways of outwitting their prey. Danielle was about to witness just how smart these creatures could be.
Colorado Wolf And Wildlife Center
The Colorado Wolf And Wildlife Center is near the town of Divide and includes an education amphitheater, a visitors center, as well as walking trails. The 35-acre plot also has a number of enclosures for wolves and wolf-hybrids, who can be visited under the strict supervision of a guide. The center was built with a very specific purpose in mind.
Big Bad Wolf
The center hoped to educate people about the misunderstood animals, who have long been ostracized and feared by mankind. The Grey Wolf’s population is in steep decline due to hunting, deforestation, and lack of understanding. Throughout history, words like “big”, “bad”, and vicious have often been associated with wolves. But Danielle wanted to prove everyone wrong.
Into The Wild
One day, Danielle was told by a senior staff member that the time had finally arrived. Her heart pounded with excitement and her hands shook — she was about to come face-to-face with a wolf.
The guide led her out the gate and away from the visitor’s center, and then motioned her to follow. But nobody could have anticipated the beasts’ reaction to the girl imposing on their territory.
Danielle walked into the snow with nothing between her and the wolves but the vast wilderness. The snow deadened every sound, and all was strangely quiet. She was beginning to rethink her decision, but it was
too late to go back now. Her footsteps left prints on the ground, but otherwise, there was nothing to see but white and wood. And then she saw them, great hulking shapes coming over the rise.
The wolf approached her cautiously and was then followed by another. Danielle’s heart skipped a beat — the beasts were colossal. Then, something inside her told her to sit down in the snow and wait for them to come to her. But as they drew nearer, the female wolf stopped and did something nobody expected.
The wolf, named Sakara, very slowly lowered her face to Danielle’s. Then, she sniffed her. Suddenly, her great pink tongue darted out of her mouth to lick Danielle — right across her face! Soon after, the other wolf, Kekoa, followed his sister’s lead to inspect the new human, sitting absolutely still in the snow.
This particular pair of wolves were siblings who had been adopted together in hopes that they would be a teaching tool to educate the community. “They were both adopted from a facility in Florida called Seacrest Wolf Preserve,” Michelle Smith from the center explained. But unfortunately, this didn’t go according to plan for very long.
“We had hoped they would be ambassadors. But sadly, like most wolves and high-content wolf dogs, once they reached maturity they became very shy and ‘retired’ at the ripe old age of two,” Michelle added. So
now the wolves live in an enormous enclosure, where they can lead happy lives away from the hunters that pose them such danger. But the way the pair of wolves had reacted to Danielle was unprecedented.
Kekoa also proceeded to lick Danielle’s face, although much more thoroughly than his sister. Then, the massive wolf rolled over onto his back in a display of complete submission and trust. Danielle was taken aback, but then it dawned on her exactly what he wanted. He wanted belly scratches — just like a pet dog!
A Deep Bond
Danielle’s instant bond with the wolves at the center is extraordinary — and the other staff was thrilled! They promptly asked her to continue her work at the center, and she has now been working closely with the wolves for several years. She has developed a deep connection with Kekoa — and Danielle and the wolves couldn’t be happier.
Part Of The Pack
“I have always had a passion for nature and animals,” Danielle revealed on the center’s website. “These wolves have my heart and I am honored to have been accepted into their pack.” Since meeting Danielle, Kekoa “loves to greet visitors with wolf kisses,” the center said on its website.
Michelle adds, “since he was raised by people and bottle fed from the time he was born, he is very well socialized, meaning he enjoys the company of people.” But he loves nobody more than Danielle.
The pair can often be seen together at the sanctuary, where he will eagerly follow her around and enjoy all her attention. But has the center managed to send out the message they set out to?
“This is not the same as domesticated or tame,” Smith added. “He is still a ‘wild’ animal, and he does tend to show it when he is around his sister. A wolf in the wild would not act this way.” But people were awed by the wolf and fearless Danielle, and the video quickly went viral.
A New Perspective
The video of Danielle’s interaction with the wolves at the sanctuary has touched the hearts of thousands — The video exploded on the sanctuary’s Facebook page. Many people are just not aware that a wolf can display such affection towards a human. This has made people think of wolves in a whole new light.
Wolves are in danger of becoming extinct because of humans’ ignorance. They are hunted and blamed for the disappearance of livestock, even though wolves only count for about 1% of these, and they have been depicted
throughout the ages as fearsome creatures. In fact, wolves have highly evolved and complex social systems and they always look out for members of their pack. Humans could still learn a thing or two from wolves!