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Arrived at Mission: Wolf on October 20, 2005
Passed away on November 23, 2017
Lived with Soleil
Orion was a male black wolf, born in Tennessee in the spring of 2005. He came from a line of pure wolves bred in captivity. When he was only a few months old, Orion was rescued by a lady in Vermont who kept other wolf-dogs. Due to his skittish and “wolfy” behavior, Orion’s owner realized that she would not be able to socialize him and could no longer look after him. She contacted Mission: Wolf; soon after, friends of the refuge accompanied him on his flight across the country from Vermont to Denver. Staff drove to Denver and picked him up. He was named after the star constellation that was overhead when he arrived.
In the months that followed, Orion continued to be frightened of humans. He lived in our vet building with another rescued wolf puppy named Soleil. They became fast friends and were inseparable. As they grew, Orion and Soleil became very independent and kicked their surrogate dog mother, Kona, out of the pack. We tried splitting the two pups up and introducing each of them to older wolves for guidance and socialization, but Orion and Soleil would have none of it. They both rebelled against the older wolves and were only happy when they were put back together. Orion and Soliel were perhaps the most bonded couple we had living at the refuge, and were never seen more than a few feet apart.
Orion grew into a stunning black wolf with an intense gaze and a seemingly serious demeanor. But when he didn’t think we were watching, Orion would twirl, pounce and tumble with Soleil and reveal his clownish side. Although he was still nervous around people, he occasionally worked up the courage to sniff someone on the toe, and became comfortable with tours passing by his enclosure. He was a fan favorite with both staff and visitors, and we were all heartbroken when Orion passed away peacefully in November 2017.