Shadow is the name we have given to an amazing Arctic wolf. Spike, the Great Pyrenees, is her pack mate. Shadow always had a personality that stood apart from the other wolves. Wolves can have strong and deadly instincts to fight for dominance both in the wild and zoo environments. Shadow was different. She was a peacemaker and always got along with all of the others. One day, Shadow put her life on the line to keep the peace. As snow began to fall, she got between two other wolves fighting for dominance. She sustained a horrible life-threatening injury and lost all of the skin on one of her front legs. Her enclosure had red all over the fresh snow. Shadow was losing a lot of blood. Zookeepers and staff reacted immediately and despite being in horrible pain, Shadow allowed zookeepers to get her into a crate for emergency transport. Shadow was rushed through the snowstorm to a Veterinarian in New Jersey who was waiting to give her emergency care, or if need be, end her suffering. Our veterinarian’s evaluation determined an emergency surgery had a chance of saving Shadow’s life.
Shadow might be saved, but they made it clear her leg could not be.She was rushed into emergency surgery. If Shadow was to live, she would have to learn to walk on three legs. Despite the pain and the many obstacles to recovery, Shadow showed she wanted to live. Slowly she began to recover, heal, and get stronger.
When she returned to the zoo for in-stall recovery, she howled to her pack and they called back. Shadow was lonely. Unfortunately, because of her injury, she could never again return to be with wolves without risking her life. Our staff and veterinarians came up with a plan to get her a companion. Given Shadow’s unusual personality, it was surmised that a domestic dog might make a good companion. Spike, a Great Pyrenees, was brought to the zoo. Staff worked hard over many months to introduce the two slowly. Zoo staff wanted to be absolutely sure they were compatible. Shadow stopped howling as she found her new pack in Spike. She now enjoys interacting with her keepers and enrichment they provide her and now Shadow and Spike are great pack mates.
Shadow and her spirit to help others now lives on despite her handicap. She stands as a shining example to show all who are less than perfect that life is still very much worth living!