Born: April 11, 2017
Rescued From: Colorado
Given Sanctuary: June 16, 2017

Laura Davis

Originally named Storm, Ashima was born to a backyard breeder on April 11, 2017. Many wolf dog breeders mistakenly believe that wolves, like birds, imprint when their eyes first open.  For this reason, Ashima was sold to a young couple at just three weeks of age. With few instructions on how to care appropriately for a young wolf, the couple was unprepared for dealing with Ashima’s rapid development. During the next six weeks, Ashima grew into an energetic, possessive puppy who would harass the couple’s three-year-old German Shepard and guard her toys obsessively. When they tried to contact the breeder for help with the puppy’s behavioral issues, the breeder provided no assistance or guidance.

Through a combination of unfortunate circumstances and malnutrition, Ashima’s right femur was badly broken at just nine weeks of age. The couple brought her to their veterinarian.  When the extent of the damage was known, they knew they would not be able to afford the surgery. Warned by the veterinarian that most wolf dogs surrendered to rescues or shelters are euthanized, they contacted a local no-kill dog rescue to see if they would be willing to take in a “Husky-mix” puppy. The rescue agreed, and Ashima was transferred to another veterinary clinic for emergency corrective surgery.

Shortly afterwards, the couple contacted W.O.L.F. about Ashima. After speaking with her original owners, seeing pictures, and hearing her story, W.O.L.F. knew she was a high-content wolf dog. W.O.L.F. staff discussed the situation and decided to give one of the two spaces available at the Sanctuary to Ashima. W.O.L.F. conferred with the dog rescue, and it was agreed that she was more suited for placement with W.O.L.F.  After W.O.L.F. picked up Ashima from the veterinarian, there were concerns with the appearance of the surgery site, so staff sought a second opinion from an orthopedic surgeon.

 Unfortunately, the X-rays showed that the repair work done on Ashima’s leg was not the most effective repair technique for this type of fracture.  The orthopedic surgeon providing the second opinion felt the procedure could lead to a stunted and deformed leg as Ashima grew into adulthood. At the very least, the rod extruding from her upper thigh posed a high probability of bone infection. According to the orthopedic surgeon, her best chance for having a functional leg would be to have a second surgery to stabilize what had already been done. Even then, there was a possibility that additional surgeries would be needed later in life to lengthen the leg so Ashima would be able to walk normally.

 Because of her physical condition and the potential for complications and infections, Ashima was not in a position to go immediately to the Sanctuary. For these same reasons, Ashima was not allowed to be around other wolves or dogs until fully healed.  It was decided that she would be cared for by staff and volunteers at an offsite location until her leg completely healed. Much to her caretaker’s delight and concern, Ashima was not at all impeded by having only three good legs.  Despite attempts to follow the veterinarian’s orders to keep Ashima calm and contained, she showed just how wolfy she was with her climbing, crawling, running, jumping, and chewing.

 In fact, she was so skilled at attempting to climb over her containment gate that W.O.L.F. was inspired to change Storm’s name to Ashima.  Her namesake is Ashima Shiraishi who, at sixteen years of age, was one of the world’s best female rock climbers (go girl!). The name also means “without boundaries,” which was fitting for the little wolf’s personality.

 In June 2017, Ashima had her second surgery at Colorado State University. Luckily, she had grown enough that the surgeons were able to repair her leg and remove the metal rod and wires.  The new device she received was internal and would not need to be removed as she grew. In addition, Ashima was given two stem cell injections to aid further in her recovery.

As summer slowly changed to fall, the orthopedic team at Colorado State University took x-rays of her leg.  Her joints were strong and flexible, and her legs were growing at the same rate.  Ashima was finally ready to join the animals at the Sanctuary.  She was placed with the exuberant wolf dog Spartacus, who had boundless energy and could keep up with the wolf pup now known as the “wild child.”

 The match worked extremely well. Ashima began attending educational programs with Spartacus, who was an excellent ambassador wolf and taught Ashima the ropes. They went on many educational programs together. However, as she matured, she decided that she was no longer interested in going for car rides, which ended her time as an ambassador animal.

In August 2023, Ashima was moved into her new home at Red Feather Lakes.  Her habitat was specially selected just for her.  The habitat has long fence lines that allow her to run freely, chasing the ATV as her caretakers drive by or running with her neighbors.  Ashima enjoys the many features of her habitat: rock formations that allow her to soak up the sun, a “mulch couch” that she loves to lay in, and her den that she constructed under a rock formation.

Ashima continues to be an official greeter at the Sanctuary.  She loves getting attention from her caregivers at the fence and enjoys visits from staff.  Her friendly and loving nature shines through and everyone loves her. 

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