As caretaker for a pack of Wolves, I knew there would be challenges ahead. I can honestly say that the unexpected death of our Omega Wolf, Nita has to date been the greatest one.
We celebrated the Wolves birthdays at the beginning of the month with a party. You will see in this video that Nita was just fine. She was her usual self. Jumping at the balloons as I was bringing them in for the party and eating lots of ice cream, her absolute favorite treat. Seven days later she was dead. See her memorial page on our website.
The pack is unusually quiet each member missing her in his or her own way. The most obvious is Chito. She is just so sad. Since they were pups her and Nita were very close. Chito has not only lost her closest Sister but the heart of the Wolf pack in which she is in charge of. Most striking to me is the absence of Nita’s low alto voice in their howls. They haven’t howled much since she has been gone, so I think they feel this more than we do. Nita also spent lots of time by Ohoyo’s enclosure and we can see that she is missing her as well. It will take some time for them to get over this.
As the pack’s primary caretaker, every time I go to the enclosure the fact that she is gone slaps me in the face. She was the one greeting me and vocalizing, asking what treat I brought or what was for dinner. It will take some time for me to get over this.
We are still waiting for lab work results but I suspect they won’t really be telling us much. I believe that it was a result of a prolonged seizure possibly caused by renal failure.
Just like in a human family there will be a grieving period where nothing seems normal to them. We kept things very quiet for them and just spent a lot of time grooming them; they are all blowing their undercoats. They all seem to want extra attention from us and the touching involved with helping them remove their winter coats seems to serve two purposes now.
As I’m writing this, I’m cooking the eggs for their Easter Egg hunt. I know a few Wolves that will enjoy this. Life, love and playtime will continue at Wolf Howl Animal Preserve. Nita will always be in our hearts and minds.