In the August of 2006, there was a sanctuary near Denver that was in a tough spot and was getting ready to close their doors. Of the 49 animals in their care, 13 wolves and wolf dogs were in danger of being euthanized. We wanted to help, but at the time we only had room for one and we decided to take Shadowhawk.
There was very little information about Shadowhawk when we decided to rescue him, though it was obvious that he had not had an easy life. It also quickly became apparent that he had never been given meat before coming to W.O.L.F. Every meat day, he ate as fast as you could throw meat out of the bucket, barely letting his pack mate, Kiki, get any. After filling his hollow leg, he would collect the rest and bury it for later.
He lived with Kiki in our largest enclosure at the Sanctuary, just over an acre in size, and that seemed to be the best thing for him. Shadowhawk was extremely unsocial with humans and the space allowed him for feel safe while still being able to keep an eye on any of his caretakers as they went about daily chores in his enclosure. Anytime a man approached the enclosure, however, Shadowhawk howl obsessively from a distance until they left.
He became somewhat of a pet project among some of the female volunteers working to try and help him come out of his shell and over come his fears. Eventually, he would approach a few cautiously, but only if there was meat involved. However, since both him and Kiki became stressed with lots of human activity, we left them alone most of the time.
On March 8, 2008, volunteers where in the middle of a massive spring-clean up effort when the volunteers working in Shadowhawk’s enclosure noticed he was lethargic. When he let them walk right up to him them immediately knew something was seriously wrong. When he struggled to stand he was only able to remain on his feet for a few seconds before his legs collapsed.
Despite his obvious discomfort, Shadowhawk was not interested in the vet examining him, grabbing a hold of the muzzle and refusing to let go when they tried to put it on him. Despite the fact that he wasn’t feeling well and still confirmed to the kennel, he got his point across strongly enough that both the vet and tech went flying out of the room. It was a brief lightening of the mood to see him act so independently, but once he could be examined the mood sobered.
Not only did Shadowhawk have a huge tumor on his spine that was eating up his body’s resources he was also in severe renal failure. The only treatment option would be extended hospitalization and surgery and even with that his chances of survival were slim to none. We couldn’t ask Shadowhawk to go through that. So he was made comfortable and brought back up to W.O.L.F. so he could be euthanized in the comfort of his home. His passing was quick and peaceful.