The Weekly Wolf
I spent six years living with the wolves of
Usually I feature a photograph of one of the these wolves and tell you a bit of their story each Monday.
However, I thought I'd try something a little different for the month of July. I will be focusing on one particular wolf - Magpie - and the changes she has gone through in her life.
Magpie (aka Maggie) was named after the magpie bird because of the silver wings spread across her shoulders. In this photo she was only six months old - notice the extra large feet. We were in the middle of her first Ambassador Wolf tour and had stopped for a visit to Goose Rocks beach in Maine. Timid little Maggie spent most of the two months we were on tour watching the world with wide eyes and timidly following her big sister's lead, but she finally started to come out of her shell while playing on the beach. I ended waiste deep in the surf as she was chasing seaweed and swam at the other end of the leash.
A year later, Maggie had grown into her feet and was starting to carry herself with new confidence. I took this photo of her while visiting Niagra Falls during her third Ambassador Wolf Tour. At only a year and a half old, Maggie's muzzle and chest had filled out, and the tips of her coat had started to turn gray... we think this was due to a bit of artic wolf ancestry. During the course of our East coast tour, Maggie stopped shying away from new experiences, learned to love the attention of an audience, and started standing up to her sister. By the end of the trip little Maggie was convinced she needed to be the alpha of the Ambassador Pack.
By the time she was three and a half year old, Maggie had taken over leadership of the Ambassador pack, met thousands of people, and had developed very distinctive gray markings in her coat. She was in the prime of her life and loving it. Maggie spent her days bossing her sister around, showing off to the neighboring wolves and greeting visitors to the refuge.
By the time summer rolled around in 2008, Maggie was six years old and her coat was completely silver. Most wolves slowly turn gray with age just like people, but Maggie's was as extreme case. People think I'm joking or lying when I tell them she was black as a puppy. This fall will mark Maggie's 17th Ambassador tour, and she still seems to love it. She's now the matriarch of the Ambassador Pack and has adopted and raised the next generation of pups. Mission:Wolf just took in three little wolves this summer - Zeab, Farrah and Apollo - and we're hoping that Maggie can teach them to be calm and outgoing while meeting and teaching people across the country.