For Love of the Wolf


Wolves have always played a fascinating roll in western novels.  There is a mystique about the animals that stems as much from misinformation as information. This week I visited the St. Francis Wolf Sanctuary in Montgomery, Texas. It is less than a twenty minute drive from my house, but I felt as if I were a world away.


We parked at the end of a country road and then walked up a gravel path to the place where the mostly rescued animals were held. While caged, they were being tended by a host of volunteers who were also petting and playing with the animals as one would a familiar pet. My fourteen-year-old grandson was with me and he was quickly as intrigued by the animals as I.


The first woman we met was Reverend Jean LeFevre, the founder and the heart behind the sanctuary. As she told us a little about herself and the animals, we could feel her love for them. She has truly led a fascinating life. One of the things she didn’t tell us but which I read on the website explained a lot about her knowledge and respect for the wolves.


“My first hands-on experience with a wolf was White Tornado, in 1976. She was a white wolf living with Grandmother Twylah Nitsch of the Seneca -Wolf Clan- Iroquois Nation, my friend, and a mentor who has blessed my life. White Tornado was an amazing animal, full of energy and love. She showed me the gentleness of her kind and the love and spiritual learning that they can give to us. I have always been fascinated with the Indian lore of the Wolf and their mysticism and feel myself privileged to be able to experience it first hand.”




While we were at the site, two volunteer handlers who obviously loved the wolfdogs (a mix of wolf and dog) had us sit still while they led the wolf dogs past us so that they could get used to our smell. Then we were allowed to pet the wolves that seemed to love the attention.  It was easy to tell from the feel of the coats which ones were predominantly wolf. Their hair was sticky, almost scratchy.


The mission of the sanctuary as stated on their website is: “Saint Francis Wolf Sanctuary (SFWS) is dedicated to the care of rescued, non-releasable wolves and wolfdogs. We do not breed, buy, sell, or trade them. They have often been rescued from dire circumstances. Many have suffered much at the hands of humans; others were simply discarded by their caretakers. We believe they deserve a stable home for the rest of their natural lives, with an abundance of loving and compassionate care.”


They also help educate the public and try to dispel the myths about wolves.  To learn more about the sanctuary, visit their website at




And don’t forget that Trumped Up Charges is on the shelves now. When a mother’s love meets a father’s instinct. Read an excerpt at:







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9 thoughts on “For Love of the Wolf”

  1. That’s great what these people are doing to help the wolves. They are beautiful and very misunderstood animals.

  2. I envy your visit, Joanna. With the re-introduction of wolves to the West, we have much to learn and understand about these magnificent but controversial wild animals. When people try to make them into something they aren’t, that’s when problems arise. And that’s why there’s such a need for a place like the one you visited.
    Years ago I lived next door to a family with a wolf dog. He was beautiful and very protective of his own, but with outsiders like me, he was ferocious. You couldn’t even get close to the fence. I was always afraid he’d attack some child. I hope he never did.

  3. Hi Joanna, I am teary-eyed reading this. I am such a fan of these gorgeous creatures. I have “adopted” one in the wild and am a passionate Defender of Wildlife. I am sick that the Fish and Game department is de-listing the gray wolf from protections in the lower 48 states, after it was hunted nearly to extinction. I am just shuddering.

    I wish I lived close enough to your sanctuary! One wonderful thing I’ve been to see is the rescue zoo in the mountain community of Big Bear, California. Here eleven wolves from a breeding program, no longer young enough to breed but unable to return to the wild, are living out their lives in a wonderful, natural habitat!

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I so agree with you. We were told that one of the big problems are people who illegally breed them, usually wolf dogs, and sell them for a lot of money as pure wolves. Then when the new owners realize they can’t handle them, they just abandon them or kill them. And you’re right, even though loving, they can be dangerous. They are not suitable pets. But they are beautiful wild animals that are all too frequently misunderstood.

  5. Fascinating information and the dedication of these people with these creatures is wonderful.
    Thanks for sharing..

  6. If you’re ever in the area, you should definitely visit. Always call first. They don’t necessarily stick to their printed tour calendar.

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