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Arrived at Mission: Wolf on September 25, 2005
Lives with Orion
Soleil (French for “sun”) was born in February 2005 at an exotic animal breeding facility in Ohio. A West Virginia man with a fascination for wolves bought her, convinced she could be a pet. Soliel, as most wolves, and wolf hybrids are, was very scared of all humans, so much so that she would often pee in the house it terror. Her owner upon seeing this behavior decided to place her in the back yard on a 30 foot chain. Soleil remained very scared of people, and would run to the end of her chain trying to escape them. Her owner finally became so frustrated that he decided that the only solution to his situation was to shoot Soliel. Luckily a neighbour who had been watching events unfold offered him another solution and Mission: Wolf.
After much planning and worry, the neighbor coordinated with a volunteer pilot from Flying Paws. Flying Paws is an amazing group of big-hearted people devoted to helping homeless animals find a forever home. Flying Paws collected 7-month-old Soleil in West Virginia on September 24th and flew her half way across the country. The pilot met one of our staff members, in Illinois and handed over Soleil. From there, Soleil and our staff member made the long 18 hour drive back to the refuge, where the rest of us were waiting in excited anticipation. Just after sunset on Sunday, September 25th, Soleil arrived at her new home. As she took her first timid steps around our vet building, we all fell in love with her. Soleil’s long legs quickly earned her the nickname “Stilts” and her boisterous personality won us all over.
In October, we took in another wolf puppy named Orion. It didn’t take long for the two pups to bond with each other and start rough housing in the vet building. As they spent time together with their surrogate dog-mother Kona, Soleil and Orion came out of their shells. They started to trust the staff and greet visitors in their enclosure. We even had the grand ambition of turning them into traveling ambassador wolves. Soleil and Orion had a different idea.
As they matured, they became more independent and kicked Kona out of their pack. We tried to separate them and introduced them to older wolves for guidance but they wouldn’t hear of it. Both Soleil and Orion took on their mentors while still less than a year old, something that we’ve never seen before. In short order, Soleil and Orion were back together and raising themselves.
Now Soleil spends her days occasionally sniffing a visitor’s hand, and romping with Orion. Although she still shows some signs of nervousness, she will allow some humans to pet her and then quickly runs away. The fact that she is allowing people to be around her is an improvement!