Born: April 6, 2005
Rescued From: New Mexico
Given Sanctuary: April 5, 2013

Roberta Glaser

Sharon Sharp

W.O.L.F. first heard about Cree from an animal control officer in Arizona in early March 2013. She was roaming near a Native American reservation in New Mexico. Captured and transported to a veterinary clinic in Arizona, she was held until DNA testing requested by the Arizona Fish and Wildlife Department was completed. For three weeks, W.O.L.F. staff waited anxiously to hear about the results. When the call was finally received, she was classified as a Northwestern wolf cross. If Cree had been classified as part Mexican Gray Wolf, she would have been euthanized. Her test results meant Cree was eligible to be released to W.O.L.F.

Cree was not comfortable around humans, so it was a long, anxious drive back to W.O.L.F.  She was taken to a veterinary clinic for spay surgery and an examination, including an oral check-up. During the examination, W.O.L.F. staff learned that this two-year-old girl was actually closer to eight and had lived a very rough life.  Cree’s teeth were worn, with many dead or broken. She had an umbilical hematoma and the beginnings of ocular sclerosis. When she was brought to the Sanctuary, she was placed in the catch-up area of her new permanent home with Matoskah.

Cree, despite her initial protest about being at the Sanctuary, turned out to be the perfect girl. She adjusted to Matoskah’s grumpy old man persona and bonded with his wonderful personality underneath. She became his constant companion, and in some ways, his protector as Matoskah grew older and more arthritic. When Matoskah passed away in December 2014, staff needed to find a new companion for Cree.  In January 2015, Denali was rescued from Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) in California. Denali was one of the animals LARC rescued from a deplorable tourist attraction in Alaska where the animals were kept on chains.

Denali was released into Cree’s catch area so he could stretch his legs and meet her through the fence. Denali was anxious to get away from staff, and Cree felt the need to defend her territory from the humans. Staff decided to back off to let them calm down before the gate was opened.

Denali was interested in exploring his spacious new home. Cree seemed uncertain about him, preferring to keep her distance.  However, they soon became an inseparable duo. They enjoyed following humans around their habitat at a safe distance, and they were often seen sleeping together. Caretakers could always count on them racing to the bottom of the habitat to explore what was for dinner.

On February 4, 2020, Denali experienced some sort of episode. Staff noticed that his face appeared asymmetrical, he was listing to one side, and he seemed to be having trouble moving about his habitat. Denali was caught up and transported for emergency diagnostics at CSU. The next day, an MRI revealed five lesions in Denali’s brain that ultimately proved to be strokes. The veterinary team felt that W.O.L.F. would be unable to manage Denali’s condition and provide him with a good quality of life.  Staff made the devastating decision to help him pass.

Without Denali’s presence, Cree became more anxious, and staff knew that they needed to find a new companion for her. Later the same month, W.O.L.F. found Kovu, a young male wolf dog in Rifle, Colorado.  Like Cree, he was not social with humans but did get along well with his family’s canines. Staff carefully monitored the introduction. Kovu seemed far more interested in exploring his beautiful new home than he was in meeting Cree. Before long, the two began spending time in close proximity to one another. Their bond continues to deepen.

In September of 2023, Cree and Kovu were moved to their new forever home at Red Feather Lakes.  Their habitat features rock outcroppings where the two are known to lay and observe Sanctuary activities from the highest point.  The two have excavated dens around the trees for them to nap in.  Unfortunately for the magpies, they both have a penchant for hunting and eliminating unwary birds that try to take their food.  Cree continues to defy her age and is very active, alert, and still loves to play with Kovu.

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