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 http://wolvesofsaintfrancis.org/
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: