Wolf Hollow

On an unseasonably mild Halloween afternoon, we visited Wolf Hollow, the wolf sanctuary in Ipswich, MA.

It’s been more than nine years since I was last there, and unfortunately the sanctuary population has dwindled to five wolves from the 16 they once had. (They had a long-range plan for reproduction, but the Alpha female they adopted for breeding turned out to be unfit for mothering, and to make a very long story short, they’re in a holding pattern until they can adopt a new breeding pup.)

When I had an affluent NYC salary, I was a member of Defenders of Wildlife, as well as a sponsor at Mission: Wolf in Colorado. Years ago the Mission: Wolf group brought a few of their wolves on an east coast tour and made a stop in Manhattan at the rectory of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. It was an odd venue, but the size of the room was small and we were able to have an intimate experience with the two touring wolves. The handlers had us sit in a circle and brought the wolves into the room on leashes for a walk through the inner circle. We were asked to not reach out and touch the wolves, but eye contact was okay—if the wolves were interested in you first. One of the wolves circled around with his head down and then made direct eye contact with me and pushed his nose into my knee. It was thrilling, and the handler told me if that wolf and I met again in my lifetime, the wolf would remember me. (For years I remembered the wolf’s name but now it’s sadly forgotten. And it was so long ago that I’m sure that wolf has crossed over.)

The new thing I learned on this visit to Wolf Hollow: wolves love cheese.

They also love deer, and the sanctuary had been delivered a road-kill deer (poor thing) that was to be fed to the wolves for lunch after the presentation. I wasn’t interested in watching the feeding frenzy, so didn’t stay for that portion, but most of the other audience members hung around for the fun, as did Shawn. So, no, my photo link below does not include lunch being served, but if you really have a hankering to see it, try a search on Flickr, since other audience members were snapping away.

Before lunch was served, we had a successful howling session with the wolves—they were very happy to oblige:


Of note to those in the New England area—last winter was brutal, never-ending, and very, very cold, and last year the wolves had their full coats grown-in by mid-September for preparation. During the presentation we were told that, unfortunately, this year the wolves’ coats were once again fully grown-in by mid-September. Another long winter approacheth.

After our visit with Weeble, Nina, Jelly, Bear, and Osa, on the road home we passed Patton Memorial Park (named for the General) in Hamilton, MA, and stopped awhile to frolic.

Click for photos from October 31, 2009

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