Running With The Wolves
Long Island Press magazine features 
"Running With The Wolves"

Running With The Wolves, Pt. 1
BY ALICYN LEIGH 06/01/2006 3:14 pm
There is so much to learn about the wolf, one of the most unique and incredible creatures of the animal kingdom. The wolf is sometimes feared as a predator, yet it is respected by those who acknowledge its great wisdom for survival and pack relationships. Native Americans consider the wolf to be a great animal that symbolizes the teacher.

Some people are so enamored that they want to domesticate the animal, but Teresa DeMaio—owner/operator of Running With the Wolves, Inc., a not-for-profit organization located in Ronkonkoma—thinks otherwise. She strives to educate the public why a wolf won't make a good pet, as well as the need for conservation, especially in Alaska, where wolves are being killed via aerial hunting.
"The count of wolves killed this past season is 153, but the count is much higher due to the pups in the den left behind," says DeMaio. "They are hunted during the first snowfall, which makes it harder for them to run and find shelter. When the pack is killed by the hunters, the pups [litters usually number between 6-8] will die a very slow and painful death. All wolf pups depend on the family to feed them and shelter them."

In 2004, DeMaio, who has more than 20 years experience raising Siberian huskies and supporting wolf organizations, established Running With the Wolves (RWTW). One of her major education efforts is correcting the misguided notion that wolves prey on man.

"Wolves by nature are very shy, gentle and very playful," DeMaio explains. "A wolf pack is a closely knit family unit and is bonded by intense care-giving with great compassion for each other.

"If a pack mate is lost, the howl of the wolf...is a very intense howl, much different then their usual howling. There is only one pair of wolves that mate in a pack and that is the 'Alpha' pair. When the Alpha pair is out hunting, the aunts and uncles are the caretakers, assuming all responsibilities to take care of the young pups in the den until they return," shares DeMaio.

Running With The Wolves, Pt. 2
BY ALICYN LEIGH 06/19/2006 6:23 pm

"Wolves by nature are wild," says Teresa DeMaio, owner/operator of Running With the Wolves, Inc. in Ronkonkoma. Nevertheless, many animal lovers seem interested in domesticating the animal, and the longtime wolf conservationist wants to stress to the public that the practice is both unwise and dangerous.

"Wolf pups are cute and cuddly, but that cute pup will grow up and the 'wild nature' will appear much sooner then you think," explains DeMaio. "Also, you cannot train a wolf. A wolf simply goes its own way and will not listen to commands or respond to its name."

A wolf is at least 10 times more intelligent than a dog and has a strong memory. They are also cognitive. "If you lock a wolf in a room, it will try to find a way out and will eventually escape," adds DeMaio.

When they reach sexual maturity at about 2 or 3 years of age, they can become unpredictable and very difficult to handle or live with.

"As a wolf gets older, you must be very careful, as their natural instincts can kick in at any time. If one lives with a wolf and other small animals, the instinct of survival could cause a wolf to prey on small animals or children. To them this is time for a hunt and it can result in a tragic situation," warns DeMaio. "Wolves are very social and need a constant companion to live with or they become very withdrawn and will portray many unusual traits due to loneliness."

Sadly, many people who once owned wolves found themselves looking to place them at a wolf sanctuary because they could no longer care for them. Many are just put down.

And owning a wolf hybrid, a cross between a dog and a wolf, can sometimes be just as perilous, says DeMaio. Many are crossed with huskies, malamutes or shepherds.

"When we combine the two, it can result in a very unpredictable and unstable animal. Again, the wild impulse of the wolf will kick in and this powerful animal cannot live properly in a pet household," says DeMaio. Hybrids, which are illegal to own in many states, also end up being euthanized when they become incorrigible.

Those authorized to own wolves are State Licensed Wildlife Handlers and are only given their licenses upon providing a proper living environment for wolves that includes the size and safety of their pens, feeding requirements and educational knowledge. 

Press pets columnist Alicyn Leigh will be a guest speaker.  See up close the wilderness and beauty of wolves, as well as events, workshops, vendors and guest speakers. Wolves Ukia and Sitka will be appearing from Second Chance Wildlife Rescue of Long Island. For more information, contact Running With the Wolves, Inc. at 516-982-0640, www.runningwiththewolves.org or runningwthwolves@aol.com. To send donations to help feed and care for Ukia and Sitka, please forward to: Second Chance Wildlife Rescue, Inc. P.O. Box 553 Farmingville NY 11738.

Long Island's People... Saving Wolves One Pack At a Time...

You are enjoying "Just Like Jesse James" by Cher