California Wolf Sanctuary
Harmonized howls erupted around us as a beautiful song echoed around the sanctuary. Smiles of adoration were displayed on all of our faces as the wolves raised their heads to the sky. The wolves here at this sanctuary in California have all had bitter pasts from illegally being kept as pets to living in unimaginable conditions. Despite the trauma the wolves have experienced, I was left with countless kisses during our visit and was overwhelmed by their affection. Dazzled by their brilliant eyes and piercing gaze, we understood the true and often misunderstood nature of the wolf.
As we sat out in a clearing, an enclosure door slid open, letting a small, lean wolf out. He was calm and polite and was especially affectionate. He sat down and let us run our hands through his thick grey coat, his tongue hanging out from the heat. I began scratching his ears but every time my fingers stopped for a moment, he wouldn't let me rest and would begin to paw at my free hands. With no choice but to continue the treatment, we began to learn about him and his species.
Wolves are very sociable animals that live in family groups called packs. They take over massive territories and are very reliant on their family members to hunt and survive. Though the wolves at this sanctuary have lost their freedom to roam across lands of what could be as great as 6000 square kilometers, I believe they are immensely happier compared to their previous situations. As hard to imagine as it is, the very wolf we had met had been kept illegally as a pet himself and had hence been brought to the sanctuary. Even though they cannot be fully reintroduced to their natural and rightful environments, sanctuaries like these, fortunately, work to not only provide a safe haven for mistreated animals but to also educate us, humans, about them.