On our Canadian trip, Esteban and I were going to go to a wolf or wolf-dog sanctuary. I told my students about it, and they were unimpressed and preceded to tell me that wolf sanctuaries existed in Socal as well, so going that far to see one was unnecessary. While I think the sanctuaries in Canada with their acres of land for each wolf pack are wonderful, we decided not to go to one in leiu of finding Wolf Mountain Sanctuary only 30 minutes away from my brother’s house. I figured we could make it a separate trip!
With that in mind, we finally made it to the sanctuary about 6 weeks after our Canadian trip. Booking was a little bit of a hassle because they only book via phone call and don’t always pick up the phone or return messages. After two or three phone calls I booked our four person tour for $25 each. They only accept cash and the tour guides are paid via tips so don’t forget to bring cash! We ended up forgetting and had to scrounge for change to pay our entries haha
We ended up in a group of 12 people where we were introduced to a black wolf from Alaska. It was all by itself, but was very curious about all of the onlookers. We then met 4 other wolves, one of which walked upside down in its enclosure and occasionally snuck out of its enclosure at night to go hang out near the other wolves in their enclosures. Her name is Genesis and she looooved pets!
Next, we got to hold wolf puppies! They had three of them from the same litter, I believe, and we got to meet two out of the three. They were so soft and squirmish. They reminded me of dog puppies. This was the highlight of the tour for me.
We also met face to face with two different full grown wolves. One wolf was an amputee with only 3 legs. Our guide told us that wolves are acutely aware of body language and reading humans. One time they had a visitor who was an amputee with only one arm, and this same wolf approached the visitor and nudged his shoulder where his arm should have been. It was a gesture in solidarity. Wolves are incredibly perceptive creatures. My sister-in-law Julie ended up feeding this wolf a chicken leg which was cool to watch as I was too afraid to feed him 🙂
The other wolf we met in person was so so so tall! It had been rescued from a dorm room at Santa Barbara City College. The students had bought it and tortured it when they were bored. Luckily, he is now safe at the sanctuary and mostly roams freely in the main area of the sanctuary (not near the other wolves). He also got his share of chicken legs, including ones that Esteban and Brett fed him.
I will be honest, being that close to and having a wolf sniff my hand was slightly terrifying. They are magnificent, huge, intelligent creatures. On the drive home I was on the brink of tears just thinking about how these poor wolves would never be in the wild again because of human torture and/or humans killing off their packs in the wild. They truly deserve better than the life they have been given. I am very thankful for the sanctuaries who have rescued these babies in their times of need. If you would like to donate to this sanctuary, here is the link to their website:
I highly encourage you to take a tour of this sanctuary and get to know a little bit more about wolves. Their tour guides are a bit unusual and quirky, but it’s all part of the experience. Let me know in the comments if you get the chance to book a tour and see the wolves! I know one of my friends is planning on going this year and I’m thrilled!