May 8, 2014, W.O.L.F. received a frantic phone call from the director of Colorado Wolf and Wildlife. There was a six-year-old female who needed immediate rescue. Since she had just had a litter of pups, and couldn’t be spayed until she finished lactating, they couldn’t take her. Did we have space for her or know anyone who did?
The director sounded so desperate for help that we agreed to rescue her. After forwarding us her correspondence with the woman surrendering Kaileah, we started reading her story. Kaileah had been purchased by the woman for $1,500 from another individual who had become ill and could no longer keep her. Soon after the purchase, however, her new owner was called away to care for her ailing grandfather and could not bring Kaileah. So she was temporarily placed at a breeding facility until she could be picked up at a time when the lady could take care of her.
Three months later, her owner received a call from the person in charge of the breeding facility. Kaileah had become so aggressive that they were scared to go in with her. She recently had pups but reportedly tried to eat one of them due to the stress she had been under. They had taken the pups away from her at three days old. They told the owner Kaileah needed to be taken home ASAP because of her behavior.
When she arrived to pick up Kaileah and the pups, what she found was disgusting. Kaileah was nothing but skin and bones. Both she and the pups were infested with intestinal parasites. She was in a small kennel with a concrete floor that was covered in feces. She had cuts and scrapes all over her legs from the steel dog door. Far from the aggressive animal described, her owner found Kaileah shy around strangers yet so desperate for attention that she couldn’t go anywhere without Kaileah trying to follow or becoming anxious when left behind. Kaileah needed constant companionship, but as her owner was leaving the country soon and with no one to care for her while she was gone, something needed to be done. By the time she contacted Colorado Wolf and Wildlife seeking placement she had only had Kaileah in her possession for two weeks.
Desperate to get her out of that situation we let her owner know we could take Kaileah now, and one of the male pups as well. We were told that the pups had all been placed but she would be happy to drive Kaileah to us later that week. Arrangements were made and early in the morning on May 16th Kaileah made it to Colorado.
When Kaileah first got out of the car and was put into her new enclosure, she was interested in exploring her new surroundings but very reluctant to leave her owner’s side. So they walked the whole enclosure together. Eventually Kaileah began to feel more comfortable and confident in her surroundings and started to explore on her own. When it came time for them to say goodbye, Kaileah tried to follow her owner out of the enclosure but after she left Kaileah quickly settled into her new home at W.O.L.F.
Originally, since we could not spay her immediately, we decided it would be best to have Kaileah stay by herself to allow her hormones to settle and gain some weight. Shortly after her arrival, however, Sasha and Pax decided that they were no longer interested in being companions and had to be split up. While we were wondering what to do with Sasha this seemed like a perfect solution for finding companionship for Kaileah. It was decided that we would try to put Pax in with her.
On a quiet afternoon we brought Pax down to Kaileah’s enclosure and put him in the catch area so they could meet with a fence safely between them. Pax was very interested in everything, including Kaileah, but she was much more reserved and nervous about his presence. After a while Pax and Kaileah were allowed to meet face to face. Unfortunately Pax’s rambunctious energy and explorations of the enclosure did nothing to make Kaileah feel more comfortable, and when she tried to warn Pax away because he was getting too rowdy, he took that as an invitation to become more intense. It was clear that this pairing was not going to work. It was time to back off, regroup and come up with another strategy.
Later that month, while Kaileah was out for a walk, we noticed Drake behaving strangely when she passed by. Instead of his normal territorial displays, Drake appeared extremely interested but shy, watching Kaileah for a few moments before ducking out of sight only to reappear and repeat the process. Curious, we decided to let them meet at the fence and the two immediately began play bowing to one another. Since we couldn’t put Kaileah in with Drake while he was in with Kasota, we wanted to make sure that what we were seeing was genuine interest between the two of them.
Over the next few weeks we allowed them to interact at the fence and they became progressively more playful and flirty. Drake would even howl mournfully when it was time for Kaileah to go back to her enclosure. With this evidence, we finally made the decision to put Drake and Kaileah together and hopefully find a new, less rambunctious companion for Kasota (though they got along well, Drake’s size and energy were simply too much for her to handle).
Before we could do that though, it was finally time for Kaileah be spayed. We made an appointment with Dr. Teva Stone at the Wellington Veterinary Hospital and on July 16th we took Kai for her surgery. Getting Kaileah into the car was quite a challenge but once she arrived at the clinic she was a dream. Calm and collected, she allowed the vets to examine her and take blood. While in the exam room she was observed straining to pee so Dr. Stone collected the urine and ran a test. She found a lot of red blood cells in the sample so we decided to do more tests while Kaileah was under anesthesia. X-rays did not show any stones, but the urine test showed the presence of crystals. Kaileah will be on a special diet to help dissolve these crystals.
Then came the time for surgery. Initially, because her blood work was so good, Dr. Stone was only going to remove Kaileah’s ovaries but when she looked at Kaileah’s uterus, Dr. Stone found two cysts. One was the size of a pea and the other the size of a marble. It would be safer for Kaileah to remove both the uterus and ovaries. The rest of Kaileah’s organs looked perfect.
Kaileah came out of anesthesia well, and we were able to take her back to the Sanctuary for her to recover. Kaileah was the perfect outpatient. She kept her no- bite collar on, took all of her medications without issue, and didn’t try to lick her incision. Within a few days the fur on her belly was already a quarter inch long, and her incision looked fantastic. Even after we took off her no-bite collar, she left her incision alone. One week after the surgery, her incision looked healed and she was off of her pain medication. We decided it was time to introduce her to Drake’s enclosure.
As we had already done before, we harnessed her up and walked her over to his enclosure. Once in the anteroom we let took her off leash to allow her to greet Drake. Immediately their tails were wagging, and they were play-bowing, showing signs of friendly intentions. It was clear that the door between them needed to be opened. They met nose to nose, Kaileah’s tail up, Drake’s tail down. He delicately sniffed her while she began to jump around and play with him. They ran around and played together for hours before they became exhausted and curled up to sleep together.
Drake and Kaeileah were always together, and their bond grew very strong. Kaileah was definitely the alpha, but was willing to share attention and treats with Drake and her social interactions with staff encouraged Drake to show his more social side. On a sunny day in early May, 2015, the two were enjoying the spring weather, and both wolves accepted attention and massages from staff. The next morning it was a huge shock to staff to discover that Drake had died during the night when a tumor on his heart ruptured. Drake passed very quickly, but his passing left Kaileah, the staff, and volunteers in a deep state of grief.
We wanted to allow Kaileah the time to grieve but we knew she needed another companion. In July we rescued a wolf named Ahote. Ahote was quite shy for his first few days at W.O.L.F., and he did not want any staff contact or much food. After a few days, he was introduced to Kaileah. The pair did several “drive by” walks before even looking at each other. Because of Ahote’s extreme shyness and anxiety, staff gave him a homeopathic remedy for soothing anxiety which did the trick. Within a day, his anxiety seemed to disappear and he was following staff around the enclosure and bonding with Kaileah. The two wolves formed a bond that continues to grow. Ahote is the perfect mate for Kaileah, and we hope they will spend many happy years together.