Sierra joined the Big Pack in the Sky in September of 2007.
She passed at 9 years old due to Cryptococcosis.
Sierra was an Arctic wolf that arrived at Wild Spirit in March of 2007. Her exact date of birth was unknown, but what we do know is that she came from a breeder in Jacksonville, Oregon. She is the mother of Alice, Thunder, Sabine, Sugar, Storm and Powder, who were rescued a year prior.
Sierra came to us, along with her life-long companion, Yukon, and older son, Axel, when her owner decided to surrender them into our care. He no longer wanted to breed Yukon and Sierra, and Axel was a pup from a former litter that he decided to keep, but no longer wished to own. Happy to give them a home, we began the process of making arrangements and set off to pick them up. Once loaded into our rescue van, all three animals were taken to the vet to be spayed and neutered, but when the vet looked at Sierra he discovered something very surprising – she was already pregnant! Although the addition of a litter of pups was not an ideal situation, staff elected to let her maintain her pregnancy.
Upon arrival at Wild Spirit, the three new rescues settled in nicely, creating their home in one of our most beautiful habitats, full of trees and rocks. Almost immediately, Sierra and Yukon prepared for their final litter by digging a den in the dirt under a large rock slab. While doing so, they uncovered a fungus called Cryptococcus, which is generally not a huge threat for canines, but for a mother and her young pups, it can be lethal.
Thankfully, Axel was unaffected, as he was perfectly healthy and did not spend time in the den. Sadly, the same could not be said for the five puppies Sierra gave birth to: Teton, Shasta, Flurry, Frost, and Trinity. Teton experienced some nerve damage in his front leg, but otherwise recovered fully, and Shasta recovered without any issue. Luckily for Flurry and Frost, they began showing a marked interest in people and wandering away from their mother to investigate the humans around them before excessive exposure occurred. Due to their interest and aptitude, we began to train them to work as Ambassadors, which meant spending a lot more time with people and less time in the enclosure. This allowed both Flurry and Frost to avoid any nerve damage from the Cryptococcus.
Sierra and Trinity were so affected by the Cryptococcus that they ended up passing away due to the infection approximately four months after the birth of the pups. The den was sealed and the fungus treated, but sadly, the damage had already been done. This poor mamma wolf never had the chance to see her pups grow up into remarkable individuals that stole the hearts of all.
Sierra was a shy girl who usually kept to herself. Contact with Sierra was minimal to non-existent due to her introverted behavior. If anyone entered her enclosure, Sierra would normally run the other way. Once she began to know someone, however, Sierra would become much more relaxed about the person wandering around her enclosure. Sierra had the habit of following a good distance behind them and sniffing scent trails left behind.
Likes & Dislikes
Sierra liked her pups spending time with her, digging, and privacy.
It was incredible to see Sierra’s behavior shift almost instantaneously upon the birth of her pups! This shy, reserved girl transformed into a protective mom who would gladly approach to put herself between her pups, and those who might pose them a threat. It was even more rewarding to see her become more relaxed as days passed, and trust was earned.