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Please be aware that there are several active wildfires throughout New Mexico and Arizona that may affect travel to and from the wolf sanctuary. Please call the Gift Shop if you need more information, as we are trying to stay on top of road and fire information: 505-775-3304.

Female High-Content Wolfdog
Willow joined the Big Pack in the Sky on March 9th, 2024.
She was assisted at 13 years old due to a 3rd degree heart-block.
In December of 2022, Wild Spirit was asked to make a miracle come true by taking in five high-content wolfdogs in need of urgent rescue after their owner passed away. At the time, we were beyond our maximum capacity, with not a single empty enclosure for new intakes. While we wanted nothing more than to save these animals’ lives, we weren’t sure it was possible with our limited resources…

Fortunately, we weren’t alone in wanting to see this rescue through, and in a matter of days an entire team of people from across the country had agreed to assist us in going to get the animals AND putting up five new enclosures once we got back home with them! Thanks to this massive show of support, we made plans to retrieve the animals, meeting up with half our team in Kansas while the other half stayed behind to work on constructing the new enclosures.

After arriving at the owner’s property and seeing the animals for the first time, it was clear they were all experiencing extremely high levels of stress following the loss of their owner, and as a result of our presence as well. As such, we quickly came up with a game plan for getting the animals out of their enclosures, vetted, and into the rescue van as quickly as possible. Thanks to the experience and teamwork of all involved, this process went off without a hitch, and within a matter of hours, all five wolfdogs had been seen by the vet and loaded for transport!

Before leaving the home, we learned of three additional high-content wolfdogs also living on-site (one who has since passed), surprising everyone in our group as they hadn’t been mentioned in previous conversations. We decided to ask the owner’s wife whether they needed placement as well. She said they did but she hadn’t thought to ask due to their age, assuming we wouldn’t want them. We advised that while we didn’t have any empty enclosures at the moment, we would be willing to come back for them as soon as possible if placement was needed. She agreed, and we made plans to return for them as soon as we were able.

Thankfully, around 5 months later, after the harsh winter weather allowed us to FINALLY finish building our 4 new enclosures, we were able to make the trip back to Kansas to retrieve the last of the wolfdog rescues: Willow and her lifelong companion, Chuppa. As with the first Kansas rescue, we met with local vet staff on-site at the owner’s home, allowing us to ensure both of our new seniors were happy, healthy, and fit for travel back to New Mexico!

Following their arrival, Willow and Chuppa were placed in an enclosure near many of the rest of our Kansas rescues, allowing their little “pack” to see and hear one another as they used to with their former family. We believe this helped them make a quick transition into life at the sanctuary. Willow settled in well, though at a slightly slower pace than her confident counterpart did. When Chuppa passed in summer 2023, we introduced Willow to mid-content wolfdog Zion, and the two were perfect companions!

We were so blessed that after many long months, we were finally able to close the book on these animals’ old lives, allowing them all to start anew with their wild-spirited family! Though it was more short-lived than we would have liked, we know they spent the last leg of their lives absolutely pampered and loved.


Willow was a mischievous gal who relished in keeping her Caretakers on their toes! The only thing she loved more than food was nibbling and attempting to steal things from humans inside her enclosure. This old wolfdog still acted young at heart, and never let her age slow her down! 


Willow spent the first 3 months at Wild Spirit with her life-long companion, Chuppa. Upon his passing, we were unsure if she would take to a new companion at her age, but when Zion was introduced she certainly proved us wrong! The two were a wonderful pair, and Willow was very pleased with her new, handsome and young companion.

Likes & Dislikes

Willow liked every enrichment under the sun, relaxing by the side of her companions and socializing with her neighbors.

Willow disliked when her Caretakers refused to allow her to take our keys, radio, or anything else she tried to snatch.

Fun Facts

Willow had a very interesting fascination with glasses. If her Caretaker was a glasses wearer, it was an endless pursuit to take them. She never did accomplish that goal, but we’re sure she is still trying across the Rainbow Bridge.

Share your Memories of Willow Below!