Saying Goodbye to Renki

Renki – April 12, 2004 – January 5, 2018

Renki is no longer with us. A wolf who could fairly be called a legend at Wolf Park was put to sleep on the evening of January 5th. He had been under the weather since December 24th. At first it looked as though it could be a GI infection. We hoped he would recover in a few days, but it was not to be.

Having an indoor infirmary (the Alison Franklin Animal Care Center) was wonderful. We monitored Renki around the clock during some bitterly cold days and nights. As she did after his leg amputation in 2016, Dana slept with him on the futon during night shifts. Giving him subcutaneous fluids, since he was not drinking enough on his own, in an indoor area rather than outdoors, went very smoothly because we could feel our fingers to insert the needle, and the fluid didn’t freeze in the line. Ed Franklin’s gift in memory of his wife, Alison, made a real difference!

During his last two weeks in the indoor kennel he was able to enjoy things like visiting the kitchen (on leash) and watching his pill boluses prepared with treat food. He put his nose up to the edge of the counter and stood there grinning, eyes twinkling, waiting for me to put the bolus in his mouth. He did not have much appetite, but he liked small amounts of treat food. He also enjoyed visits from human friends.

On Wednesday, 1/3 he took a turn for the worse. His breathing rate at rest and asleep was higher than normal. He lost strength and energy. He needed help to maintain a standing position and to walk around. His appetite had increased, but his loss of strength and energy was not a good sign. Dr. Becker came out on Friday for some more diagnostics and consultation. X-rays at the clinic were the next step. The x-rays showed some worrisome changes in his lungs. That and the overall change in his condition, convinced us that we had given him all the good time we could. He was humanely euthanized while Dana cuddled with him. Dr. Becker thought, and I concurred, that, while he was feeling some discomfort, he was not yet in actual pain.

We miss him dreadfully, but are glad that he will not experience further debilitation. In the 17 months since his leg amputation, he has embodied the phrase “Seize the day,” making the most of the time that operation bought him. It’s been a privilege to know him and to see him get on with life every day, even on all threes instead of all fours, and adapting to increasing hearing loss in the last year. All the time we spent with him made his last days in the animal care center much more comfortable and he was able to enjoy visiting the kitchen, having visits from human friends, and once from Ayla (who was kept on leash so she could not knock into him). Of his immediate family, he is survived by his sister, Ayla, half brothers, Wotan and Wolfgang, and niece and nephews, Fiona, Sparrow, Kanti, Bicho, Aspen, and Máni.

We will always remember you Renki.  Hail and Farewell.

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