Born: December 10, 2018
Rescued From: Colorado
Given Sanctuary: February 27, 2020

Lisa Murtagh

In mid-February of 2020, a wolf dog owner in Rifle, Colorado called W.O.L.F.’s Rescue Coordinator. The woman had a young wolf dog, and she needed help. The owner described Kovu as a yearling wolf dog that her daughter purchased from a midwestern breeder.

Kovu was approximately a year  old when he came to W.O.L.F.  He had not been properly socialized by the breeder. He was always very shy with humans, and as he matured, he did not want to be touched or handled. His family was unable to get him into a car to take him to a veterinarian for neutering, routine exams, and vaccinations. The mother was the only one in the family who could work with Kovu. He constantly paced in his enclosure and was extremely anxious whenever any humans approached.

Kovu was most comfortable with the other family dogs. He enjoyed being with them and they played together. As time went on, he became increasingly anxious, and was not able to tolerate human attention or contact. The owner’s veterinarian recommended medicating Kovu with an anti-anxiety medication, but it had no effect on him.

The owner was desperate and called W.O.L.F. to see if staff could provide any advice or would be willing to rescue Kovu. She loved Kovu and wanted the best life for him.  She was afraid that as he matured, he would escape his enclosure and never return. Her worst fears were that he would be hit by a car or shot. After several phone conversations with the W.O.L.F.’s rescue team, the owner realized that her only option was to try to find sanctuary placement for Kovu.

W.O.L.F. was looking for a companion for an older female named Cree. Staff felt that Cree needed a companion to help her with her anxiety and loneliness. Cree did not enjoy human interaction, so a shy wolf dog, like Kovu, would be a good fit for her.  After several discussions and a review of potential companions for Cree, W.O.L.F. staff made the decision to rescue Kovu and provide him with lifetime sanctuary.

Early in the morning on February 27, the transport team arrived at Kovu’s home. Once Kovu was loaded into the vehicle, the team transported Kovu to CSU, where he received a complete physical examination. Kovu received a clean bill of health and was transported to W.O.L.F.

Kovu was able to go straight into the habitat with Cree. He was released into the lower area of the habitat to allow for the two to be able to meet each other safely through a fence. Once it was determined that the two were compatible, the gate separating them was opened, and Kovu was allowed to explore his new home with Cree for the first time.

Kovu was intent on exploring the mountainside of his new habitat. He had never been able to run in an area that large with so many trees and bushes.  His attempts to navigate the habitat made him look like a puppy tripping over his feet as he tried to be everywhere at once. He started digging a hole, something he was unable to do at his previous home because of the concrete floor of his kennel. Watching Kovu explore was like observing a child at a new playground.

While Kovu readily adjusted to his new surroundings, he was still nervous around his caretakers. Cree became his security blanket. Wherever she was, Kovu was not far behind. Kovu would not even come down to eat when his caretakers put out food unless Cree came down and investigated the bowls first.  Over time, Kovu became more confident.

In September of 2023, Kovu and Cree 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 and take their food.  Kovu and Cree continue to deepen their bond.