My family went to the Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples, Florida for a tour of the facilities. What an experience it was!
Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida
Nancy and Kent Smith have been offering sanctuary and a home to exotic, stray and injured animals since 1993. The expense of caring for these animals had been carried by them privately for many years. Michael Kloman read about Nancy and her wolves in a local paper in November 1999. It wasn't long before he was mentioning Shy Wolf Sanctuary, a name given informally by Michael, at the local dog park where he took his rescued wolfdog Nakipa.
November 2000 brought Deanna Deppen for a visit after meeting Michael and Nakipa at the local pet store. She strongly urged Nancy and Michael to form a non-profit corporation in order to accept donations of materials, food, and to seek grants.
With her enthusiasm and connections she was able to get both local newspapers and the television news to do a story, along with a spot on a live TV morning news show.
Michael took advantage of two local talk radio shows to bring Shy Wolf Sanctuary from being known by word of mouth to a broader radio market, further expanding local knowledge and support of the animals.
January 19th, 2001, is the official "birthday" of Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Education and Experience Center, Inc., (SWS) a Florida non-profit and 501(c)(3) tax exempt corporation.
Nancy, Kent, and many dedicated volunteers over the years have built enclosures, cleaned, maintained the facility and lovingly cared for the animals…all while sharing their love and knowledge of the animals with surrounding Southwest Florida communities through outreach and educational programs!
During our visit, we we led through the sanctuary by volunteers and introduced to their different rescued animals. Our first introduction was to a friendly Dingo, who loved giving kisses to the kids on the tour!
While there are certain areas where you can actually go into their enclosures with the tour guide and meet the animals, you can't actually wander around the facility on your own - for your safety and for the safety of the animals.
In addition to wolves and wolfdogs, the Shy Wolf Sanctuary rescues other animals, like these tortoises, which were very friendly!
Angeline had a blast meeting a few of the wolves and wolf dogs - her favorite was this friendly wolf dog hybrid who came right up to her for a nice session of petting.
Chris enjoyed meeting the wolves too, like this shy wolf (it's named the SHY WOLF sanctuary for a reason, after all) who was rescued by the center as a pup.
While she was too shy to come out of her enclosure to meet us, our guides did bring us into the enclosure with her and her mate (who hid behind the bushes until we left) to get to know her. Everyone in our group loved being able to walk right up to a real wolf and pet her!
While it was nice to have this experience, our guide kept reminding us throughout the tour that we should NEVER approach a wolf in the wild, as these wolves were raised in captivity and used to human interaction.
There were even some wolves that we could not approach at all - the guides only allowed us to get up close and personal with the animals that were friendly.
For instance, the Florida Panther? She was in an enclosed area with a secondary fencing structure to keep us safe. Some of the animals in the sanctuary are WILD ANIMALS, after all.
This little Bobcat was so pretty, but she was not friendly towards humans. Our guide went into the enclosure with her and played with her a bit, and I was jealous!
I've never seen a Bobcat up close and this experience gave me an entirely new appreciation for the majestic animals!
As much as I love wolves, my favorite part of the tour was with the smaller animals (prairie dogs and foxes), where I saw my first Arctic Fox!
This adorable little furball actually had an air conditioned little house to go into when she got too hot, because as you can imagine, the balmy temperature of South Florida is NOT her natural habitat.
Visit the Shy Wolf Sanctuary
If you are in South Florida, or planning a trip anytime soon, I strongly recommend adding a stop at the Shy Wolf Sanctuary to your trip!
Volunteer at the Shy Wolf Sanctuary
If you would like to get in touch with the Shy Wolf Sanctuary for educational programs or speaking engagements, you can reach them at 239-455-1698 or by email [email protected].
If you are a South Florida resident, you can inquire about volunteering - it is a 100% volunteer-run organization! What a great way to make a difference in the lives of these animals and have fun while doing so! You can call 239-290-9867 or email [email protected].
You can also help in their rescue efforts or even adopt a wolf or wolf dog from the Shy Wolf Sanctuary! Call 239-290-9867 for more information.