Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Animal Stories: A Visit to Red Wolf Wildlife Sanctuary, plus a #Free eBook

I'm continuing my series about some of the animal rescues I've come in contact with over the years by sharing my recent visit to the Red Wolf Wildlife Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Center in Rising Sun, Indiana. I visited Red Wolf last week and spent an amazing and fun two+ hours with the center's director Paul Strasser.

The mission of Red Wolf is the preservation of North American wildlife and the conservation of their habitat. Mr. Strasser owns more than 450 acres of land in Rising Sun and has made this land a haven for animals who have been abused, injured, or orphaned. Many of the Red Wolf animals were bought through the exotic pet trade and then abandoned when they were no longer cuddly babies. The sanctuary gives them the opportunity to live their lives in a setting as close to their real habitats as possible.

One such animal is this coyote pup, who was recently left at Red Wolf after his owners belatedly realized that wild animals are not pets.

Photo courtesy of Red Wolf Sanctuary
Some of the first animals I met when I arrived at Red Wolf were these adorable orphaned fawns.

Like many of the animals who come through Red Wolf, the fawns will be released back into the wild as soon as they are able to care for themselves. In their case, the "wild" will likely just be Red Wolf itself, as so many deer choose to make the sanctuary grounds their home.

Other animals who, for various reasons, are unable to be released live out their lives in the peace and tranquility of the sanctuary.

Photo courtesy of Red Wolf Sanctuary
Mr. Strasser provides a home for four bears, three of whom were bought as pets when they were cubs. Of course, bears don't remain cubs and the people involved discovered that it wasn't the best idea to have an adult bear in an apartment.  The fourth bear, a 700 lb guy named Tecumseh, was caged in the parking lot of an apple orchard for years as a marketing gimmick.

It made me happy to see that these bears who got such rough starts in life now have ranges like this to roam around in, along with enclosures to enter as they please when they want to lay down in front of a fan and cool off! When I met Tecumseh, he was happily settled in front of a fan and had no intention of leaving his spot.

 Wolves make up the majority of the sanctuary's residents, and I got to meet this handsome yearling when he came to his fence to smile and say hello.

Not all of the residents of Red Wolf are wild. This is D.D., which stands for dumped dog. D.D. was dumped at Red Wolf with a gun shot wound and signs of other abuse and neglect. As you can see, she is thriving today.

D.D. visited many of the wolves and I loved to see her and the younger wolves running the fences with each other just like domestic dog neighbors do. It was so cute!

D.D. seemed to consider herself my tour guide and you can see her walking quite a bit ahead of our ATV below.

Red Wolf was one of my favorite places that I've visited and I wouldn't hesitate to return. It's a beautiful and peaceful place that made me smile throughout my visit. Mr. Strasser is an excellent host and tour guide, and so knowledgeable about animal behavior that I felt like I learned more from him than I ever did in biology class. He's passionate about his mission and that shows in all he does. I'm thrilled that so many animals have found such a great place to live under his care.

To learn more about Red Wolf, visit their site here.

Also, I was over at Untethered Realms yesterday talking about my book Polar Day and its relation to the summer solstice. To celebrate the solstice I thought I'd give away the Polar Night & Polar Day prequel The Turnagain Arm free on Amazon this week. If you haven't read it and would like to check it out, you can grab it for free here.


  1. I never understood people wanting to keep wild animals as pets. The animal will always be wild and unpredictable.
    That's a really great setting for the animals. I take it most of the land isn't fenced in?

  2. Hi Julie - what a wonderful place ... so lovely you could share with us .. and like Alex - I can't understand people at times ... it looks amazing and obviously they are living a happy life ...cheers Hilary

  3. I can understand the naivete (polite word for stupid) people who think baby wild animals can be trained out of thousands of years of evolutionary instincts and make good pets. However, I cannot understand one being caged as a "marketing gimmick" for all to see and no one doing anything about it for so many years. Thank you very much for sharing the stories and pics with us and for your steadfast support of animal welfare. You're awesome! :)

  4. Great post, Julie! It looks like such a peaceful and wonderful place. Loved the pic of the yearling wolf - fierce and beautiful.

  5. Thank goodness there are caring people out there who can make up for the idiots in the world. Thanks for sharing.

  6. It's great to see a place for animals who were the victims of poorly decided purchases (and abuse like D.D.). I'm glad to see they found a home!

  7. Very cool. How that's a unique place. If I lived closer, that's somewhere I'd have to take the kids. Alas...

  8. Alex, I don't think it is, no. That's how the deer come and go, etc. I think just the ranges for the various animals who live there are fenced in. But to be honest I'm not sure because it was SO huge! I'd love to go back for another visit now that I've had an intro.

    @Hilary, yeah, I think these animals all have it good now. :)

    @Lexa, I know, the roadside zoo type cages are so cruel and unconscionable. The whole pet thing is so strange to me because I wouldn't know how to buy a bear cub if I wanted to. I know there are all sorts of illegal trades for this but it's just so bizarre and awful to me.

    @Madeline, isn't he gorgeous?? I loved him.

    @Ken, agree 100%! Sometimes it seems like the idiots far outnumber everyone else, unfortunately.

    @Loni, glad you enjoyed the post!

    @Crystal, I know your kids would love it! Mr. Strasser used to be a teacher and he told me that he loves talking to the kids who visit and teaching them about animals and habitats, etc. If I had kids I'd take them in a heartbeat.

  9. Such and awesome place and they are doing a great job. It breaks my heart when people are cruel to animals. Thank you for sharing this post, Julie. The pictures are really cool.

  10. I loved seeing the pictures you shared on Instagram. Yes, I Instagram stalk you. ;) Going to this sanctuary would be a neat experience. I'd love to see all the animals and wild life.

  11. How awesome! Thank you for sharing. I need to get down to see that place some day. It looked amazing.

  12. Oh I would love to visit this place. I always have been attracted to wolves and coyotes. People are just the cruelest but can also be full of humanity which is shown by the people who run this place and the people who volunteer their time and money to keep this place going. I am loving this post and you must have felt so great being here.

  13. @Murees, it is heartbreaking and so frustrating! But I'm glad these animals are safe now. So glad you enjoyed the pics, thanks!

    @Chrys, oh, I love your Instagram pics too! I'm becoming addicted to Instagram. Thanks so much.

    @Christine, your little guy would love it! I hope you are able to make it there sometime.

    @Birgit, I really did. I've never experienced anything quite like it. And I'm right there with you on wolves and coyotes. The wolves especially are such beautiful animals.

  14. God bless, Mr. Strasser and all those who work and volunteer at Red Wolf. This really warmed my heart to read. I will never understand what people are thinking when they buy or take in a wild animal to raise and keep as a domesticated pet.

  15. @Elsie, I don't understand it either. And in the case of this coyote pup the idiots apparently stole the pup from its den. So now he doesn't know how to care for himself because he never learned from his mother. So maddening and idiotic.


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