Our Westeros Pack was born into horrible conditions at a breeding facility in Iowa. The original owner/breeder had passed away after a lengthy illness, and her surviving family was having a difficult time caring for the 12 high-content wolf-dogs that she left behind. The breeder had kept her wolf-dogs in 10′ x 20′ cages. One cage had four wolf-dogs, one held five. An elderly wolf-dog couple lived together in another cage, and one cage held a solitary male. The cages had cement or plywood floors and only 6-foot-high wire ceilings.
After the breeder died, no one ever went into the cages and the poor wolf-dogs never went outside. The small enclosures were cleaned with a hose from outside, and years of waste had collected in piles around the edges. No one remembered their names or how they were related. They were not spayed and neutered, so each year more puppies were born. None of them ever survived.
A family friend stepped in to try to help take care of the animals and called everyone he thought might be able to help. Unfortunately, no one was able or willing to take on so many animals. Luckily, he didn’t give up and finally called Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. We immediately prepared to make our first trip to Iowa to assess the situation, but before we arrived, the oldest male of the Iowa 12 had passed away.
During the assessment trip, we quickly saw how serious the situation was for the remaining 11 wolf-dogs. Wanting to help any way they could, the family generously offered all of their chain link fencing and hardware to help with the building of the new Iowa Rescue habitats.
Before leaving to return home, WSWS staff couldn’t bear to leave the elderly female, Cassie, behind to wait for the final rescue. We loaded her into the van and took her to Canyon Crossroad Vet Hospital in Albuquerque. She received an extensive exam and the immediate care she needed, and then she came home to rest in safety at WSWS. We were thrilled to pamper Cassie until she passed away in the winter of 2012.
In September of 2012, WSWS staff went back to Iowa to rescue the remaining 10 wolf-dogs. Vet visits revealed they were malnourished, heartworm positive, and had brittle bones and teeth. Due to their age and poor health, we chose not to have some of the Iowa girls spayed, but the boys were all neutered (neutering is often an easier, less invasive procedure with significantly lower risk for the animal).
At midnight, on September 17th, the Iowa 10 stepped foot onto the soil in their new habitats at WSWS. It was the first time they had felt the earth beneath their feet in at least three years!
All of the Iowa 10 were given proper medication for their many health issues, put on a healthy diet, and finally received the care they needed. After 3 years with no space to run, they all ran a bit oddly at first, but with time they’ve adjusted to their new life and home. They have all become much stronger and healthier, although they have had some drama due to shifting pack dynamics and further health issues. So far, Cassie, Ghost, and Lady have joined the Big Pack in the Sky.
World-famous, award-winning fantasy writer, George R. R. Martin and his wife Parris McBride-Martin, are long-time supporters of Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. Parris thought it would be a wonderful gift to her husband to name one of our un-named rescues after one of the characters in her husband’s beloved book series, “A Song of Fire and Ice.” The genius world created in his books has now brilliantly come alive in the HBO series, “Game of Thrones.”
We could not imagine what a blessing it was when they decided to become Pack Mama and Pack Daddy for all of our rescues from Iowa. It’s hard to express how honored we are to have our rescued wolf-dog family become a part of this truly epic creation. The Martins have come to visit them and continue to support their wolf pack with merchandise fundraisers, donations, like a new walk-in freezer, and on-going fundraisers like Westeros Certificates. Mr. Martin also loaned his star powers to a fundraiser to build them a brand new habitat! With Mr. Martin’s help, we’ve raised $150,000 to build larger habitats for this deserving family.