Lately Facebook seems like it’s a place for people to disagree about everything from politics to the best apple pie recipe, but sometimes a gem sneaks into my feed. Such was the case last week when Only in Your State made a post about the Wolf Sanctuary of PA. As it turns out, this little gem is located within thirty miles of my home but until I saw it on Facebook, I had no idea it existed.
So last Sunday, my husband Steve and I went there for a tour and it was incredible. The Wolf Sanctuary of PA was founded in 1980 by the Darlington family who loved wolves and wanted to provide quality care and a permanent home to wolves and wolf dogs whose owners could no longer care for them. When the wolf preserve began the wolves were allowed to breed, but that is no longer the case; all of the wolves have been spayed or neutered. Currently, there are 45 wolves being cared for at the sanctuary.
The wolves are confined in very large areas surrounded by eight-foot high fencing. There are more than 80 acres for the wolves to explore. When they arrive, they are examined by a vet and kept in quarantine until they are ready to join a pack. There are several packs on site, each confined to its own fenced-in area. Food, shelter and health care are all provided with no government assistance. The Wolf Sanctuary of PA is a non-profit organization that accepts donations of meat, money, fencing and other materials to care for the wolves as well as the services of volunteers who help with everything from parking cars to giving tours. To learn more about their needs, check out their Wish List.
Also located on the property is the Speedwell Forge Bed and Breakfast. The home, which was built in 1760, has been updated to include all modern conveniences, and consistently rates in the top ten bed and breakfasts in the country. But the best part about the Bed and Breakfast is that guests can visit the wolves at their leisure and not as part of the formal tour.
The tour guides, who are volunteers, are very knowledgeable about wolves in general, and about the wolves in their care. Each pack has a name; each wolf has a name and each has a story about how it came to live at the sanctuary. During the tour, the tour guides feed the wolves raw meat which draws them close to the fence, mere feet from where the tourists are.
So, if you’re ever in the Lancaster-Lebanon, Pennsylvania area, stop by the Wolf Sanctuary and take a tour to learn about wolves, both those in captivity, and those in the wild and what you can do to help them both because…extinct is forever.
*All photographs are mine.
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