In the spring of 2008, W.O.L.F. received an emergency rescue alert from a friend with The Grey Wolf rescue in Wisconsin. A young male wolf-dog currently residing in Illinois (where owning wolves and wolf-dogs is illegal) was in need of immediate help. His owner had been told to get rid of his pet immediately or the animal would be confiscated and killed. The animal, named King, had been living, covered in mud and feces, on a chain in a 5′ X 9′ enclosure. He was being fed two cups of dry food and one raw egg a day, not nearly enough nourishment for a growing wolf. We knew we had to rescue him.
After a cross-country trip from Illinois to Colorado, King was placed in the containment area of Kiki’s enclosure. King exited his kennel quickly and smothered his new human pack with kisses. King turned his attention to Kiki next, and the two animals were soon running the fence line together, bouncing around, and generally acting like puppies. When King was later released into the main part of the enclosure, Kiki and he bounded toward one another and began a lengthy game of chase.
Soon after King’s arrival, he was renamed Rajan, which means king in Hindi. On a diet of 20 pounds of dry dog food and 20 pounds of meat each week, Rajan quickly reached a healthy weight. He was recruited as one of the sanctuary’s Ambassador animals and made frequent visits to schools and campgrounds. Because Kiki was so shy, Rajan went to programs while Kiki stayed behind. Rajan was always so happy to see Kiki when he got home from his outings. He often had a chicken burger, and he saved a piece for her. In the summer of 2013, Kiki was helped to pass after a spinal condition took away her ability to walk unaided.
The Sanctuary gave Rajan adequate time to grieve for his long-time mate. When the time was right, W.O.L.F. rescued Bella Roux, who was social and the right age for Rajan. The introduction of the two wolves was swift and heart-warming. Rajan quickly went from king of his castle to her majesty’s attentive companion. Bella Roux has blossomed in spite of her previous hard life. She became an ambassador and joined Rajan at educational programs in the community. Bella and Rajan could always be counted on to welcome staff and volunteers to their enclosure, and they were one of the Sanctuary’s super couples.
In early 2017, Rajan began having small seizure episodes and many tests (blood work, infectious disease tests, CT scans and even an MRI) were done to try to determine the cause but ultimately the conclusion was that he had developed epilepsy. The MRI did reveal a mass in the sinus cavity that was removed in August of 2017. Initial results came back benign but when Rajan continued to have problems after the biopsy, further diagnostics at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital identified the issue as a fungal infection. The infection was treated but, unfortunately, that was not the end of Rajan’s problems as he was later diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in May of 2018.
While the last two years have been an emotional roller coaster ride for all of the caretakers and volunteers who have come to know and love Rajan, he remained happy and engaged with life, not to mention very spoiled. Bella doted on him as much as his caretakers, and he continued to make everyone’s days brighter.
In late July of 2018, Rajan’s physical condition deteriorated to an unacceptable level, and the heartbreaking decision was made to help him pass. On July 29th, with Bella and the people who loved him by his side, Rajan was helped to cross the Rainbow Bridge. The absence of his bright, outgoing personality leaves a hole in everyone’s hearts but we are truly blessed to have been able to spend so much time with this amazing wolf dog. We know he has touched the minds and hearts of hundreds of people from all over. He will be remembered forever.