Canadian Soldier Works With American Wolves
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As the tall, stocky man carefully closed the gate behind him, two large wolves darted out of the trees and charged toward their morning meal. The animals whined with joy as they savored the taste of the treats that their friend had brought them.
"They're my kids!" the man exclaimed, as he engaged them in a playful wrestling match. "It's a case of the older wolf working with the younger wolves."
Each Saturday morning, Canadian Army Maj. Reginald C. Fountain of the North American Aerospace Defense Command here and a handful of other volunteers make their way to Florissant, Colo., to lend a helping hand at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. For Fountain and the others, scooping a little wolf scat and changing out the water tanks is a small price to pay for the satisfaction they get from helping care for the wolves and other wildlife that live at the facility.
"It's a labor of volunteers," said Fountain, who has been coming to the center for the past two years. "Coming up and interacting with the wolves is amazing. I couldn't ask for anything more. I don't deserve any more."
Fountain begins the day by greeting each of the 12 wolves and giving each wolf a soup bone from the Peterson commissary.
"It wouldn't be a Saturday if I didn't come up here and play with the kids and give them treats," he said. "I love to spoil them."
Fountain and the other CWWC volunteers then prepare for the public tours which are held at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and two p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. "The tours are a great way for people to interact with the wolves and see what noble creatures they are," Fountain said.
Since the last wolf sighting in Colorado was nearly 60 years ago, people rarely get a chance to see them here, Fountain said. CWWC's primary mission is to educate the public about the wolf as an essential link in the eco-system, he said.
CWWC founder and president Darlene Kobobel maintains that the center rests on the foundations of sanctuary, education, preservation and protection. "Darlene is one very spectacular and dedicated young lady," Fountain said. "She really has dedicated her life to these animals."
One of Fountain?s favorite stories about the wolves concerns one, appropriately nicknamed Bandit, that has a knack for relieving visitors of their possessions. On one occasion, while Kobobel was petting the wolf, Bandit snatched off her wristwatch and proceeded to swallow it whole. A couple of days later, while scooping scat, Kobobel heard a beeping noise coming from one of the piles and realized that she had found her watch. The remains of the watch are now on display in the visitor?s center at the facility.
From K-9 units in the military to house pets, Fountain says he has never met an animal who doesn?t like him. And working with the wolves is a therapeutic release from day to day stressors for the volunteers, he added.
To learn more about wolves and find more information on the CWWC, visit the center's homepage on the web.