I started working with Teo and the wolves and wolf dogs at Villalobos on October 31, 2009. I was like a kid in the candy store, given the opportunity to work one-on-one with wolves!! I have always loved animals and always knew that animals are my calling. Every since the start, I have always been attracted to Maya, a very high content F1 Arctic Wolf. To this day, I’m still not sure what attracted me, but I had strong feelings for her. Even though I had never worked with her until my first Sunset Hike.
November 28, 2009. One month after working with Teo and the pack, and my first Sunset Hike. While people were arriving, Teo, Drew, Dani, and I were up at the kennels getting the wolves out and taking them down to the hikers. Baron and Maya were the last two left. Teo asked me to do the “maneuver” with him to get Maya. Maya needed a female to put her leash on, but at the time she wasn’t 100% about it. I had never worked with her before, but I wanted to try. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the leash on her. We tried a couple more times, but it didn’t work. Maya seemed to be a bit skittish that afternoon, which she wasn’t early in the day on our morning hike. Teo didn’t want to leave her behind, because she is one of our top program animals…but we had no choice. When we went down, Teo asked Tia, the owner of Villalobos, to go up with me and try to put a leach on her. Tia had told us that for some reason, Maya loves her. So, we made the trek back up to the kennels, and with ease, Tia was able to put Maya’s leash on. I thanked Tia as she handed Maya’s leash to me, and we were off to go meet everyone. When I got down to where everyone was gathered, Teo had asked me to walk her for the hike. So she can be with someone she knows, since she seemed to be a bit nervous.
I was very excited to be walking her. A high-content Arctic Wolfdog, by my side, setting off into the mountains to watch the sun set. She was great and we had a wonderful time together. During the hike, I was just trying to be there for her and comfort her, knowing something seemed to have bothered her earlier.
From then on, she became more comfortable with me and I started to work with her more. She was getting better with the leash and she would look for me every time I arrived. We then had an event out at the America’s Teaching Zoo where I go to school. She and Baron, her kennelmate, traveled with me and my parents in our Suburban there and back. She was so good with the crowd of people and the little kids. When we were there, I spent most of my time with her. She was wonderful being in a new place and it being a long day. I was proud of her.
I kept working with her, and she only kept improving. Every day I spent with her at Villalobos, our bond grew stronger. When I go into her kennel with her, she will sit at my feet and lick my face excessively. And when I stop petting her, she will lick my face more and lean against me for me to continue scratching her. She is so sweet.
Monday, January 18, 2010. Since this cold and rainy weather, we have been putting hay in the wolves adobe houses and around there kennels to keep them warm and cozy. This past Wednesday, we put some fresh hay down in all of the kennels. As I was spreading the hay around in Maya and Baron‘s kennel, Maya would just sit at my feet and catch some of the falling strands in her mouth. She looked like a little puppy with hay all over her face and a little hanging from her mouth.
It had stopped raining for a moment, so we decided to do some turnouts. We let Zimba and Rocky out first with Wyoh and Tala. After they were done and put away, we put Maya, Baron and Bandit out to play with Tala and Wyoh. I ran up and down the hill with them a bit and then they went around sniffing and marking the bushes.
After some time, I walked up to the top of the turnout, and Maya and Baron followed me. I stayed up there for a few minutes, and then turned to head back down to where Teo, Dani and everyone else were standing. I walked about thirty feet, when I felt the sudden urge to look over my shoulder to see where Maya was. As I turned, my brown eyes made contact with her stunning, yellow, wolf eyes. At that moment, I felt so connected with her, that I, unconsciously, knelt down on my left knee and called out “Maya, come.” In my amazement, she came running down the hill towards me with a look of joy. When she reached me, she licked my face repeatedly as I scratched her chest in praise. I was so astonished that she actually came to me when I called. I felt linked to her, as if our spirits were one. It was one of the most extraordinary feelings inside of me that I have ever felt with such a magnificent animal.
My bond with her has only been growing stronger, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to work with her every week. She is a marvelous wolf and making great progress.