Long-Term Volunteer

So you’re interested in becoming a long-term volunteer with Wild Spirit Spirit Wolf Sanctuary? Great! The Team loves to welcome enthusiastic, passionate, responsible, and hard-working people to help us provide the best care and environment to our rescues. It’s all about them, after all!

Before you submit an application, please review the important information below to learn about volunteer life at Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and what you can expect from your stay. Once you have finished and you are still eager to apply, please complete the online application on this page.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. After applications are reviewed, qualified candidates will be scheduled for a virtual interview, and accepted applicants will be notified via email within a week.

If you have questions regarding the application process, please email us at wswsapplications@gmail.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Basic Information


Volunteers must be at least 21 years old to apply. There is no drug or alcohol use permitted on Sanctuary property. Animal interaction is a privilege and not a right granted to volunteers only after extensive training. Interacting with animals without express permission will result in immediate dismissal.


Our volunteer lodgings are all on-site, outside of the Sanctuary’s perimeter fence. You may be housing with a roommate or living alone, if space allows. Volunteer dwellings include rustic Hogans and small single-room houses, all of which are very modest and not at all luxurious. Your dwelling may be solar-powered, wired for electricity, or potentially none of the above. None of our volunteer homes include running water and many depend on wood stoves for heat in the winter. Common space includes an extremely rustic communal kitchen and a small, attached living room. Volunteers must be prepared to spend a lot of time in close quarters with the rest of our pack. If interested, volunteers are also welcome to camp throughout their stay in our Campground!


Level 1

Volunteers committing up to 6 months will receive a food stipend of $250 per month.

Volunteers who want to commit to an additional 3 to 6 months will have a “Stay Interview” to ensure a longer commitment is in the best interest of both parties.

Level 2

For volunteers who have committed to 1 year and wish to extend their time, first a conversation will be needed to ensure a longer commitment is in the best interest of both parties. Once it is agreed that the volunteer can stay for a longer period, they will begin receiving $400 per month.


Considering how remote Wild Spirit is, our Team recommends driving to the Sanctuary and keeping a car with you. However, we are happy to provide transportation from the Albuquerque airport to the Sanctuary, if that’s not feasible. While most volunteers fly into Albuquerque, if you have other travel plans we will do our best to accommodate them. Please Note: Depending on time of arrival, you may need to spend a night in a hotel. If you do stay in Albuquerque or another nearby town overnight, please let us know where and we will meet you at an agreed upon scheduled time.

Volunteer Options


Animal Care Volunteer applicants MUST be able to commit to a minimum of six months. No exceptions.* The majority of our volunteer applicants are interested in working with our rescues, and we completely understand! However, it’s important that Animal Care Volunteer applicants know that the majority of their time will be spent doing other tasks, not working directly with the animals. They must also be prepared for extremely labor-intensive work, including heavy lifting, long hours of standing, repeated bending, and plenty of walking. Animal Care Volunteers spend most of their time in our Wolf Kitchen where meals are prepared for the rescues, which includes handling and sorting through raw meat, including game meat during hunting season. When not assigned to Wolf Kitchen responsibilities, Animal Care Volunteers assist with seasonal chores, such as weeding, providing tours to guests, and they may assist Team Members in other departments, as applicable.

*Wild Spirit requires Animal Care Volunteers to commit to a longer term as it most benefits the animals. Our rescues operate best when the Team adheres to a strict routine, which includes familiar faces. It takes some animals several weeks to a few months before they start to show signs of comfort with new volunteers walking around. Furthermore, depending on the rescue, it takes a significant amount of time to develop relationships with animals. It can take several months before an animal may “warm up” to you, which could mean they ask for a chin scratch and nothing more. As an “Animals Come First” organization, we NEVER force socialization or interaction with any rescue; it is strictly on the animal’s terms. If this is ignored, a caretaker could be injured, and the Team may have to dismiss the volunteer. As a sanctuary, Wild Spirit strives to provide as stress-free of a home as possible for all our rescues, and it’s less stressful for the animals when the Animal Care Team does not change too often.


We are always looking for volunteers who are interested in working for the animals without directly caring for them each day. Our Maintenance Department has an ever-growing list of tasks to complete, and they are always in need of volunteers who are experienced, possessing relevant skills. Tasks may include anything and everything, whether it be building repairs, property improvements, enclosure maintenance, habitat construction, vehicle repairs, general upkeep, or assisting with other projects, as needed.


As a non-profit and functioning business, we have quite a bit of administrative tasks that happen behind-the-scenes. These tasks include managing our online presence, marketing, guest and donor communications, member services, customer service, Gift Shop management, and educational outreach, to name a few. If you have applicable skills and interests that you would enjoy donating, we’d love to hear from you! There is so much that can be done for our rescues!

Our Culture

Our Team has been working diligently to create and foster a compassionate, honest, respectful, and open community. This is absolutely crucial, as the Team, made up of staff, long-term volunteers, and short-term volunteers, live and work closely together every day.

We share a Community Kitchen for our meals, most of us live on-site outside of the perimeter fence, or, if not on Wild Spirit property, within a few miles of the Sanctuary, and all Team members have access to an on-site shower house with two stalls.

Candy Kitchen, New Mexico is a rural community with about 200 year-round residents. It takes about 15 minutes to drive to the nearest gas station and about an hour to get to Grants or about an hour and 15 minutes to get to Gallup where we can pick-up our groceries and other miscellaneous items.

Life out here is certainly not easy nor is it filled with the typical conveniences many people have easier access to living in more populated areas around the country. Nevertheless, the atmosphere at Wild Spirit is undoubtedly one-of-a-kind and the work is truly rewarding.

Everything we do at Wild Spirit is to benefit the animals we rescue. While much of the work does not include direct contact with our rescues, we strive to always better their lives, which involves providing educational information to the visiting public, finding ways to incorporate and offer different forms of enrichment, habitat upgrades, and a multitude of other projects and tasks.

For new volunteers and staff, our Team wants you to know we are always eager to welcome you! We pride ourselves on supporting a kind, hard-working, and respectful environment, and we’re always pushing to improve the experience for all in our Human Pack. We are team-oriented and operate much like a family, including the occasional bickering. It’s important to keep in mind that by living and working closely with one another it tends to amplify experiences and emotions, both good and bad. Regardless of times of miscommunication and misunderstanding, however, we work together to heal, to grow, and to always do what we can to support one another and to provide the best care we can to our rescues.

Want to speak to a past and/or current Team member to learn more about life at Wild Spirit? Let us know!

You can email the Team at wswsapplications@gmail.com to get connected with someone to address your questions, concerns, or excitements!

Tips from Past Volunteers

  • The Sanctuary is REALLY remote, and you’ll often have to find ways to entertain yourself. We do not have cable or local entertainment options, and Internet does not extend to all volunteer housing at this time.
  • If a car is an option for you, bring one. Everyone needs time away now and then, and a car will help.
  • Making your space your own can be the difference between feeling at home here and feeling homesick. Even if it means over-packing, bring some personal items that will help you feel happy and settled in your house!
  • Expect to get dirty, every single day. Leave the fancy, expensive clothes and shoes at home!

Online Long-Term Volunteer Application

Click the button below to create an application. The application will open in a new window.