Thunder joined the Big Pack in the Sky on December 17th, 2020.
He was assisted at 14 years old due to complications following a surgery to remove a grade 3 sarcoma mass.
Thunder was an Arctic wolf born on May 3rd, 2006 and arrived at Wild Spirit May 22nd that very same year. The story of Thunder and his family (The Arctics) and why they lived at Wild Spirit is a long one, but we feel it is important to share it. Thunder and his siblings were born to captive-bred parents, Yukon and Sierra, at a breeding facility. The story we heard was that Yukon and Sierra were born to wolves who were taken from the wild. The breeder who owned Yukon and Sierra had been selling their pups to select private owners or for exhibits like zoos. Very sadly, in order for wolves to be socialized to humans at all, they must be taken from their parents before they open their eyes. Even then, they may not be comfortable around people. For eight years, Yukon and Sierra had each of their newborn litters taken and sold.
The breeder who owned Yukon and Sierra offered to donate two puppies from the litter they were expecting. In our view, we would be giving these pups a safe, secure life, where they would not end up chained or euthanized like so many wolves and wolfdogs. Sierra had a litter of six puppies including Alice, Thunder, Sabine, Sugar, Storm and Powder. Unexpectedly, none of the puppies were sold, and the breeder was left with six puppies who needed to be bottle-fed and cleaned every two hours, constantly with people to maintain socialization and continually exposed to many different situations. We had volunteers eager to help, so we agreed to take all six puppies (and eventually went back to rescue Sierra, Yukon, and Axel, too). Even with a full staff and many volunteers, raising wolf puppies is exhausting work. Despite being surrounded by people and hand-raised by humans, only two of the six puppies grew up to be comfortable meeting the public – Storm and Sabine.
Wild Spirit has grown a great deal since we became an official non-profit back in 1993. We realize we are always evolving, and we work hard to improve and change along the way to ensure we reach our mission statement goals of Rescue, Sanctuary and Education. In order to ensure that our true message is heard and those most in need are offered help, we have decided not to seek out wolf puppies to socialize in the future. If there is a puppy in need of rescue and we can offer them sanctuary, of course, we will. However, we know that the animals most in need are often older, already poorly socialized, and suffering from serious misunderstanding and mistreatment, so those are the ones that we will pursue most diligently.
Our Arctic puppies were introduced to a litter of Arctic/timber wolfdogs in June of 2006. The Arctic/timbers were the same age as our Arctic litter, and although they were supposed to be at WSWS temporarily, their re-homing plans fell through. Since the puppies were all so young, they were raised together as one large pack and naturally divided into pairs or smaller packs of their own choosing as they aged.
Thunder was very sweet and social around people he was comfortable with, but he could be nervous around people he did not know. Many a Caretaker tried their hand at making a friend out of Thunder; most of which were denied. Still, this stoic boy caught the eye of all with his stunning appearance and piercing gaze.
Likes & Dislikes
Like many of our rescues, Thunder loved inguinal rubs! He also enjoyed long walks away from his habitat to take in new sights, and scentroll in the new smells!
Thunder disliked being approached and would always prefer to be the one to initiate interaction. He also used to hate when Forest left the habitat without him.