Catori was found running loose near Stockton, CA. She was seen regularly near a ranch in the area. She remained near this ranch because the gracious rancher was leaving her food and water. Several weeks of unsuccessful attempts to capture her led to them setting of humane cage trap. She was finally caught and turned over to the Stockton Animal Shelter. Without the this rancher's compassion she probably would not have survived.
This all happened back in 2012. We guessed that she was about 1½-years old at the time. It is unknown what led to Catori running loose. Most wolves do not like being confined and are quite adept at escaping. We assumed that this is how she found herself in this scary situation.
Wolves are very social animals. They gain security and confidence from those they live with and from predictable routine. Poor Catori didn't have either of these. She was alone and whatever life she had previously was gone. She was extremely traumatized.
Cindy Ott-Bales of Throw Me A Bone Dog Rescue (throw me a bone dog rescue.org) saw her at the Stockton shelter and immediately contacted us at the U.S. Wolf Refuge. The shelter graciously spayed her and after recovering from the surgery we traveled to the shelter to pick her up.
None of the shelter workers were able to deal with her. Everyone was amazed when I was able to walk right into her pen and put a collar and leash on her. After spending a little quiet time with her she let me put her into a carrier. I then drove to Chris Mikulice's home (a U.S. Wolf Refuge volunteer/photographer) which is only about an hour from the shelter. The reason for this was to assess Catori's reaction to riding in a vehicle. She did great. I then embarked on the 4 hour trip back to the Refuge in Nevada. During the trip her anxiety began to subside and at times she actually laid down.
When we first got to the Refuge she was still somewhat skittish and anxious especially with other people. I was amazed at the comfort and security she displayed when she was close to me. In the 5 years that he has been with me that relationship has grown even stronger. For several years she was quite evasive to everybody else. Many of our volunteers would spend a lot of effort trying to get close to her. In the recent years she has made significant progress. Her willingness to approach people she doesn't know has improved. Getting her to let you pet her has been a personal challenge for many.
Catori is one of those animals that I have connected with in a way that is more than special. She is now quite comfortable in her place within the 'house-gang.' Her devotion to me is most joyous and to see her become more comfortable with others is very special. Her comfort and playing with her canine companions shows how happy she is now with her life at the Refuge.