Photography ©Steven Horak

Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary

by Steven Horak

February/March 2015

In a remote pocket of western New Mexico, the howls of wolves are ever present. Primal yet otherworldly, these calls are all the more remarkable because here, at the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, it’s possible to put a face—and even a name—to them.

A wolf at the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico
Photography ©Steven Horak

A safe haven for formerly displaced wolves and their canine cousins, Wild Spirit is home to more than 60 rescues, each one given a second chance at life in a place tailor-made for their particular needs. Four times a day (Tuesday-Sunday), knowledgeable staff members lead 45 to 90 minute tours alongside thoughtfully designed enclosures of various sizes. The staff’s devotion to the sanctuary’s residents is palpable and infectious, as they share the history of each animal and detail ongoing wolf conservation efforts. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that their dedication has played a role in Santa Fe-based author George R.R. Martin’s long standing support of Wild Spirit, which is home to the Westeros Pack—10 rescued wolf-dogs named after main characters and dire wolves featured in Martin’s popular A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Though Wild Spirit is one of the nation’s foremost centers dedicated to educating the public about wolves, its care isn’t limited to wolves and wolf-dogs; there are coyotes, foxes, and dingoes on-site, too. Visiting the sanctuary, which is about three hours west of Santa Fe in Ramah, makes for a long and rewarding day trip, but you can also stay overnight in either the campsite across the street or the rustic, off-grid cabin on the grounds. For details and additional information, visit

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