Timber and Bicho practice their karate. Photo by Monty Sloan
We’re celebrating milestones at Wolf Park this week as we celebrate the ‘adoption’ dates of two of our residents. Two years ago this week, Timber came to live with us. Three years ago, Scarlette was our early Christmas present.
Scarlette in repose. Photo by Kimber Hendrix
Wolf Park is not a rescue and we typically don’t bring in adult animals, but Scarlette and Timber were special cases. Scarlette was brought to our attention just as we were looking for new red foxes to join Wolf Park’s animal residents. Raised around humans and dogs, she was a extremely well socialized, and completely unfit for life in the wild. The rescue she was living at needed to find her a forever home and we were a perfect fit. Scarlette arrived ready and willing to love all humans, make friends with the wolves… and with no idea how to be a fox. We laugh now about the way she poked her first whole carcass and gave us a look of ‘how do I get to the cream filling?’ or the way she would ‘bury’ excess food by dropping it in corners. She chased the wolves along the fence, squealing for the giant, fluffy ‘foxes’ to come and visit her. The wolves tended to salivate at the sight so there were no options for an actual meet and greet.
Scarlette and Joker. Photo by Kimber Hendrix
Joker’s arrival in the spring definitely taught Scarlette about being a proper fox. They bonded quickly and have been affectionate roommates ever since. Like her, Joker is convinced the wolves (except Timber) are future playmates. They fell in love with the wolf puppies this year. With the nursery right across from them, they had ample opportunity to monitor puppy development. They paced the fence with meat in their mouths, calling for the puppies to dine with them. A crying puppy was sure to bring the foxes running with anxious chirps to save them from harm. When the pups started taking walks past the enclosure, the foxes’ joy knew no bounds. They particularly seemed to like Sparrow, who is still often referred to as their ‘daughter’.
Scarlette and Joker excavate their den in case of puppies. Photo by Kimber Hendrix
Meanwhile, Timber was brought to our attention at a time when we were looking for unrelated wolves to join the Wolf Park lineage. Puppies had proven difficult to find so we were interested when Timber was offered to us. She’d been brought up at a facility where she’d been socialized to people and dogs. She’d spent her early life doing outreach programs in the community, but was reaching the age when she needed a home around other wolves. We were happy to give her a new home.
Timber pesters Wotan. He tolerates her better than the other wolves, but not at this moment. Photo by Monty Sloan
Unlike Scarlette, who surveyed her new territory and proclaimed herself queen of all she saw, Timber took some time to adjust to Wolf Park. She wasn’t used to so many people looking after her, and she had no idea how to handle visitors walking past on tours. She was FASCINATED by the wolves next door, particularly Wotan and Wolfgang whom she actively pursued with the wolf equivalent of ‘Hey, sailor! Want to buy a girl a drink?’ The boys seemed a little dazed by the attention.
Eventually Timber started visiting the male wolves and made it clear she loved every boy! To the point that none of the boys could stand her energy level for long. Renki and Wolfgang tolerated brief play dates with her. Wotan and Bicho enjoyed her company for longer stretches, but even they had their limits.
Timber greets the 2017 puppies. Photo by Monty Sloan
This year was an important one for Timber as she became the mother of five healthy wolf pups. She did a nice job looking after them in the den, but was less sure how to handle them once they started moving around. She treated the pups like adult wolves, which was overwhelming for the little ones. She also began showing negative intentions toward the females as soon as they started looking like adult female wolves. She still receives play dates with her sons, Aspen and Máni, and foster son, Niko, but even they find Timber’s bouncy nature to be too much. We hope she’ll settle down eventually and can have a full-time companion, but until then, she is fortunately happy with human attention, walks, toys, and regular dates with all her boys.
Timber and Aspen. All Timber’s puppies already outweigh her. Photo by Monty Sloan
We are blessed to have Scarlette and Timber as part of the family and so grateful for the joy they’ve brought to us.
December 16 – Santa Visits Wolf Park
January 13 – Winter Wolves
February 10 – Winter Wolves
Please consider donating to Wolf Park this holiday season! We cannot exist without the support of so many wonderful people. 2018 is projected to bring new changes to Wolf Park including new seminars, updated kids camps, new education displays, more trees, and improvements to the enclosures. Please help us continue our mission! Sponsor a wolf, become a member, or donate to our year-end fund. We appreciate your support!
How Scarlette greets her favorite people. Photo by Kimber Hendrix