Unlike “Little Red Riding Hood”, who went to Grandma’s house, my wolf encounter began at the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary located in Ramah, New Mexico, just outside Albuquerque off I-40. I was looking forward to it because, as a wildlife photographer, I could never get that close to wolves in the wild!!

Meet Leyton Cougar, Director of the Sanctuary, who was kind enough to personally give me a guided tour INSIDE several wolf pens while politely telling me that he would do his best to protect me during there close encounters!! Definitely not for the faint of heart!!

In the first pen, I was greeted by Raven, a beautiful black wolf, who had been their star education ambassador wolf for nearly a decade. Although he was 12 years old and considered a senior, he still looked handsome to me and along with his companion Cheyenne, put on quite a display for me. Cheyenne could not resist jumping up on me continually, but right on cue, Raven jumped up as well to constantly pin her down as if to protect me from her “wolf kisses” which can be quite exuberant to say the least!!! What a trip!!

Cheyenne doing her thing!

We visited four more pens and I couldn’t get enough of these beautiful animals! A pair of white Arctic wolves had given birth to pups named Frost and Flurry, and on my second visit to the Sanctuary, I spent time with them. It was hard to get their attention because they loved to romp with big brother Forest, who was only a year old. Wolves, being very social animals, love to run and play with their older buddies, and of course, in that way, learn the techniques to survive in the wild. I was thrilled when Forest took time out to give me a BIG wolf greeting!!

As a result of my visit, I have a better appreciation for wolves. For my final farewell, Raven signaled the pack (the Sanctuary has over 60 rescued wolves and wolf-dogs), and on cue, most of them began howling in unison, providing a wonderful farewell for my visit.

Our Mission

The mission of the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary is to provide permanent, safe sanctuary for abused and abandoned captive-bred wolves and wolf-dogs and

To educate the public about the wild wolf by explaining the complexities of wolf-dog ownership as well as the components of excellent care and treatment of all animals, domestic or wild.

Thanks to the generous support of the many friends of Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, the sanctuary continues to improve and grow. Since it is a non-profit organization, donations are always welcome.

Contact Leyton Cougar, Director:
Email: info@wildspiritwolfsanctuary.org
Web Site: www.wildspiritwolfsanctuary.org


In 1967, there were fewer than 800 wolves alive in the United States outside Alaska. Farmers and hunters had been killing them and it seemed as though they were headed for extinction in the lower 48 states.

As a result of the Gray Wolf having been listed as an endangered species, there are more than 3,500 wolves alive in the United States today. In recent years, human attitudes toward wolves have changed. Rather than seeing them as animals to shoot and kill, today people see wolves as unique and beautiful animals that deserve to inhabit our forests and woodlands. And I agree!!

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