April 24, 2011
Rescued From: Oregon
Given Sanctuary: August 17, 2013
Returned to Spirit: March 23, 2024

Lisa Murtagh

In mid-August 2013, we welcomed the stunningly beautiful Reese, whose arrival  made Outlaw a much happier fellow and the Sanctuary a much quieter place! She had long, long legs and a gorgeous reddish-brown and gray coat. W.O.L.F. staff was  searching for compatible companions for Outlaw and Ariel. Ariel’s age and shyness wouldn’t have been a good match for Outlaw’s youth and exuberance.

On July 28th, staff heard from a wolf dog rescue in southern Oregon. They were seeking to place a two-and-a-half-year-old female who would come to the fence for treats but otherwise had no interest in socializing with humans. She preferred the company of her own kind and loved to play with her siblings. She wasn’t a good candidate for adoption, and the rescue wanted her to have a happy life with other wolf dogs for companionship. Staff felt that her age and personality would make her a good match for Outlaw, so arrangements were made to pick her up and bring her home.

Two of our staff members flew into Portland, Oregon on August 16th, rented a van, and drove to southern Oregon to meet up with Reese and her rescuers. On the return trip, staff drove through the night and arrived with Reese at the Sanctuary early afternoon the next day. Reese was released into the habitat adjacent to Outlaw for the initial introduction. She explored that habitat for several hours, occasionally visiting with Outlaw through the fence. There were no signs of aggression from either of the wolf dogs, so gates were opened to allow a closely supervised face-to-face meeting. It went well and the human supervisors backed away to monitor from a distance. Soon, it was clear the two of them were going to be best friends forever.

Reese and Outlaw were often seen frolicking wildly throughout the day, every day. She taught him the joys of a water trough, and he showed her the joys of human affection. Reese was still very shy with people, but she loved to watch them from a safe distance. Reese was the constant companion and playmate Outlaw so desperately needed.

In the early winter of 2016, volunteers and staff noticed that Outlaw was walking with a limp. It turned out he had a torn right ACL. W.O.L.F.’s veterinary team wanted to see if Outlaw’s leg would heal without surgery (an option that is sometimes appropriate). He and Reese were moved to a smaller, flat habitat to help restrict Outlaw’s mobility to allow for healing. The best laid plans did not work. A few days later, Outlaw tore his left ACL. Surgery was now the only option, and it would require surgery for each leg approximately three months apart. Outlaw had his first surgery in late December. He spent nearly three months in recovery at an offsite infirmary and at a Sanctuary location specially modified to keep him comfortable and safe, always under the watchful eyes of staff. Outlaw visited Reese on a regular basis to maintain their strong bond. They were always happy to see each other. On March 27th, 2017, Outlaw had his second surgery and needed another six weeks of rehabilitation before he was able to return to his full-time life with Reese.

Once fully healed, Outlaw rejoined Reese. Outlaw was one of W.O.L.F.’s ambassador animals, so he left her occasionally for short trips to educational programs. Reese always ran to the front of their shared mountain habitat when he returned, excited for the reunion with her companion and hopeful to sneak a piece of the special treat he got at the end of each program.

Reese and Outlaw were a truly bonded pair.  Outlaw was always up front of the habitat, and Reese would hide closely in the bushes to see if she should come down for treats or meals.  When Outlaw passed unexpectedly in May of 2023, it was decided to split another pair to accommodate the needs of a new arrival.  Reese was introduced to her new companion, Castiel, who was even more shy than she was.  For the short time of 10 months, Reese and Castiel became best buds, and Reese took the more dominant role of being first to check things out while Castiel looked on until he got the “all clear.”

Sadly, on Saturday, March 23rd, 2024, during morning rounds, Reese was not as active as she normally was.  With our vet making a visit that day, Reese was examined, and a large mass was discovered.   It was determined by the veterinarian that the mass was not treatable, so the decision was made to help her pass.  She joined her boy Outlaw over the rainbow bridge.  Together, they are romping and playing as they did for so many years.