Howlers Inn, Bozeman, Mont. / October 2014
Howlers Inn is a bed and breakfast in a peaceful mountain setting. The owners also take in a small number of wolves, giving them sanctuary and love.
Wolves are controversial in Montana since their re-introduction into Yellowstone National Park in 1995: conservationists believe wolves need to be protected as part of the natural environment; ranchers get angry when their livestock is attacked.
The wolves at Howlers Inn cannot get out of their 4-acre enclosure, and they provide close-up opportunities for us all to learn about them.
The view outside my window, wolves below. Five Alaskan Tundra wolves currently live in this sanctuary. This photo and some others to follow had to be taken through glass, so I apologize for poor quality!
Morning begins with a delicious breakfast. Here you see egg blossoms and fruit, etc. provided by Mary-Martha, who is a good cook and a warm hostess.
The pack, two alpha males (dark) and two females. Normally there is one alpha, but when Tahoe decided to take over, he needed help from his brother, Chinook, who provided the muscle.
Comanche used to be alpha but recently, at age 7, was ousted by the brothers. He now lives on the edge of the pack, eating after they do and showing submission whenever the others approach.
Now Comanche has taken on the job to come to the fence and welcome visitors to the B&B.
The inn owners call Comanche a "love sponge."
Comanche definitely soaks up love and gives a lot in return.
Feeding time comes daily at 7 pm. Inn owner Chris fills the tubs with high-protein dog food. The wolves get real meat twice a week.
After a few bites of food: cuddles! One wolf tries to climb on Chris's lap, another suckles his fingers. Here you see Comanche (big white wolf) demanding his share of attention. The wolves come to the sanctuary as pups and live inside until weaned. They must be accustomed to humans in case they need medical treatment or other hands-on care.
I learned by observation that wolves are just big dogs. They growl, bark, and play with sticks. Well, in this case a short 2x4.
Wolves howl as a pack. It's like a choirexcept alpha Tahoe is tone deaf, but oh well, he sings with gusto. No one knows what the wolves are saying, but 30 wolf sounds have been identified. It was amazing to hear them at 2 am, 4 am, 6 am, and 7 am.
Mary Rosewood ©2016