“Education is the movement from darkness to light.”
~ Allan Bloom
At Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary we consider education to be our number one defense against the abuse and mistreatment of animals. Unfortunately, there is an overwhelming amount of misinformation out in the world about wolves and wolf-dogs. We encounter the consequences of this lack of truth everyday as we engage with the general public and rescue animals from breeders and owners. We have seen many animals suffer terrible circumstances and even lose their lives because of lacking or inaccurate education in people. In addition to rescuing those animals in need, correcting mistruths and opening minds is the best course to preventing further abuse and destruction.
It is quite possible that no animal is more misunderstood than the wolf. There are multiple schools of thought when it comes to wolves, all inaccurate and harmful:
- Wolves are evil, vicious killing machines that humans must fear and protect ourselves against. Stories such as “Little Red Riding Hood”, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, “The Three Little Pigs” and “The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids”, to name just a few, all portray the wolf as a demon.
- Wolves are angels and should be worshipped as something beyond an animal. This puts the humble wolf on a pedestal and often manifest in the wolf as a “spirit animal”, which can lead to the desire to own them as “companions” or “totems”.
- The wolf is just a large breed of dog and is not much different than domestic dogs. Many believe that wolves are simply wild dogs, and that if raised in a domestic environment, they will act like domestic dogs when they mature.
All of these views are cruel prejudices or inaccurate sentiments about a gentle, powerful, and majestic wild animal. They are neither vicious demon nor enlightened angels, and they are certainly not dogs. Wolves are wild canids that predate the dog, and the most current research we have to date showcases the dog as a domesticated descendent of an extinct breed of wolf. They do not think like dogs, behave like them, or relate to humans in the same manner. They do not hunt and pursue humans, as their natural inclination is to move away from us, not towards us due to the fact that we their only predator. (Wolf-dogs are often considered to be domesticated due to the dog genetics they possess, but too often we find that these animals wild instincts and characteristics outweigh and pair badly with whatever dog qualities they also carry.)
Wolves are shy, highly intelligent, sentient creatures that are also apex predators. As apex predators, they play a crucial role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. They can be killers and in captivity they can certainly be dangerous, but they are not blood-thirsty monsters.
Born with an undomesticated and strong free will, life for wolves, wolf-dogs, and other wild animals bred or moved into private captivity can be as uncomfortable as it is unnatural. Like other privately owned exotic animals, many wolves and wolf-dogs live their lives within escape-proof enclosures, kept against their will. Owning a wild animal is akin to slavery, requiring the breaking of the animals spirit. The lucky ones, which are few and far between, end up at sanctuaries like ours where they will spend the rest of their lives being cared for, free to behave as the choose, but unable to live their lives the way they were meant to: free in the wild.
At Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary we educate the public about the true nature of the wolf and we present the case for not owning them, wolf-dogs, and/or other wild animals as pets. We also teach the public about other wild canids including coyotes, dingoes, wild dogs, and foxes and how they are different from domestic animals like dogs. We provide education in a variety of formats, which include our standard tours, educational encounters, educational programs and even online, via our YouTube channel.