Nira Passed away
on October 1, 2012 from liver cancer at 9 am. He was euthanized
by Dr. Duerr.
We have not set
a date for a memorial service, the earliest we could do justice
for Nira would be around his birthday in 2013. We will keep everyone
Below are parts
of my journal as I document the day-by-day challenges to nurse
Nira back to health. Ultimately, he recovered as much as possible
from his injury but lurking inside was a more powerful demon.
This "demon" takes away from us so many cherished and
loved persons and/or animals in or lives. Cancer.
On August 4, 2012 in the evening,
I was watering the wolves. We had been through an extremely warm
period for a number of weeks and noticing the water pail had been
turned over, I took up fresh water. Upon entering the enclosure,
Keeley met me. Nira was not to be immediately found. This not
being that unusual as his hearing is either very selective or
diminished. As he gets older, he sleeps more often and for longer
periods of time. He also is less active.
As I began my search for him,
I concentrated my efforts on areas where I knew he liked to sleep,
not finding him in those spots, I looked towards the holding pen.
It was then that I saw him pulling himself up out of a large hole
in the ground. He was using only his front legs to get out of
the hole. This hole was years in the making by the wolves. All
three wolves at some point in time had done their part in the
excavation. Measuring 6 feet deep and 8 foot apart with a large
rock in the bottom that as the wolves dug deeper and wider, would
cause the rock to sink as the sides and bottom were dug out from
under and around the rock.
Once Nira was out, he laid down
and I offered him water. He was panting as if he just ran a marathon.
He drank a lot of water and I decided to let him rest for a while
and wait and see how he responded. After a half hour, he still
was not able to get up. I called our veterinarian and was told
to watch him through the night, to call back if his situation
worsens and offer plenty of water. A cold front was moving in
that evening lowering the temperature and bring relief in the
form of cooler weather and rain.
Nira was watched throughout the
In the morning, with no sign of
much improvement, we again called our veterinarian. Dr. Duerr
(Town and Country Veterinarian Clinic) called back and said he
would be out soon to check on Nira. This day (Sunday) happened
to be an open day so, unfortunately, we had to close to the public
while we tended to Nira. Dr. Duerr examined Nira who was now under
one of the portable platforms. We had put this over him to provide
some protection against the rain and any falling branches since
he was unable to escape any falling objects.
Dr. Duerr had me pinch Nira's
tail which would usually elicit a response - in this case, no
response was offered by Nira. We also evaluated the sensation
in his rear legs and found limited motor/sensory capabilities.
Dr. Duerr took Nira's temperature and this being normal, he then
gave Nira a shot of Dexomethasone, which is a powerful steroid.
This medication is used to treat shock and spinal cord injuries
as well as to decrease swelling and inflammation. Dr. Duerr also
gave an antibiotic injection.
Dr. Duerr provided a treatment
plan for Nira which consisted of additional doses of the anti-inflammatory
drug. Followed by another medication in a week.
About 20 minutes after Dr. Duerr
left, Nira decided to get up and walk for about 2 minutes, visiting
a few volunteers and drinking water. Nira continued to receive
the medication prescribed by Dr. Duerr during the following week.
We also put both wolves on Glucosamine and Chondroitin
As Nira's condition improved somewhat,
we had time to reflect on what actually happened. After careful
consideration, we came to the conclusion that Nira had been eating
in the corridor and, after seeing me bringing up fresh water,
he was trotting over to meet me. The wolf trail they usually use
when going from the corridor/holding pen area to the other side
of the enclosure, near the bleachers, runs right next to the hole.
There is also a rock with all but the top buried to surface level
that slants toward the hole. We think that Nira slipped on this
rock, fell into the hole and landing on his back. The collision
between the rock and his back caused temporary paralysis of his
During the next week, Nira gradually
improved in his movement. He is now being fed and visited by multiple
volunteers and myself every day.
Yesterday (8/14/2012), we noticed
that Nira was lying around more, not as active and in obvious
discomfort. Dr. Duerr was called and we have now put Nira and
Keeley on a daily dose of Metacam. Metacam is a non-steroid anti-inflammatory
drug used to treat osteoarthritis. This is an oral medication.
About an hour after Nira receiving
this, he became more alert, active and was now hungry. He also
is now giving us "wolf kisses" which he had not done
that much of since the injury. I hope that the addition of metacam
continues to work in a positive way on Nira. Keeley also is feeling
a positive result as she is now running more in the enclosure.
My day typically beings at 0415 hours, getting up and checking
on the wolves and giving Nira his medication. Volunteers are also
scheduled to be around Wolf Timbers most of the time now, to keep
track of his progress.
Karen Davis, Ph.D., made a special
visit over from Wolf Park to be with Nira and to help in the initial
stabilization of his injury as well as Nicolette and Don, Jean,
and other volunteers. Karen is Nira and Keeley's puppy mother.
On the day of injury, since it
was an open day, we had numerous volunteers present. The volunteers
took it upon themselves to fill in the hole, taking three volunteers
a little longer than an hour to shovel in the hole.
Quiet time is wonderful and yesterday,
Nira and I had a special moment. I went in and sat next to him
and he picked up his head, put it on my lap and I petted him for
about 20 minutes while just laying there, soaking that up.
As of today's writing (8/15/2012)
I am not sure how long we will have Nira around us and, the 18th
of this month will mark the one-year anniversary of Ingo's passing.
Yesterday, Don and
Jean came out to spend a number of hours with Nira and Keeley. Nira
did get up and move some. In the evening, after I arrived home from
work, we visited him and he was doing ever-so-slightly better but
in terms of "microscopically" better - if that is even
a word. I put Keeley in the holding pen to allow us the time to
evaluate Nira and to give him food without having Keeley eat it
Nira did get up and
walk with us but he is still dragging his rear legs at times and
is still wobbly. He did eat a half pound of burger and one Vienna
sausage. He seems reluctant to eat food he has to chew, so, off
to the store I go after work tonight to buy some ground beef. Sure
wish we had ground venison left...I am going to try to get all next
week off - hopefully my employer will grant my request...
This morning, I got
up again at 4:15 am, turned the enclosure lights on and went up
to see them. Keeley was up and about as usual and after I entered,
I found Nira was standing. I gave Nira his medication but Keeley
was right in the mix of things and, I soon realized that I would
not be able to do much with Nira with Keeley being present, so,
off to the holding pen Keeley and I go.
He proceeded to walk
a few feet and then tripped over a log and obviously feeling comfortable
there, he did not get up. I went to him, opened a can of Vienna
sausage and he ate them all with more vigor than I have seen in
If any of you wish
to donate ground meat, please let us know. Call the office and leave
a message. Right now, Nira seems to only want food that does not
need to be chewed.
The volunteers report
to me while I am at work that Nira is up and about and walking better.
He even took and ate an ice treat.
After putting Keeley
in the holding pen this morning, I checked on Nira. He was sleeping
soundly. I wonder if he will ever know how many times we just either
sit or stand there, watching him sleep. They look so peaceful and
content, not a worry in the world.
They were fed
beef liver, hamburger and small hot dogs last night. Both ate pretty
good but they now pick around the food that has the medication "hidden"
inside. Keeley even was observed caching some of the leftovers.
Nira went back to the dinner plate for another helping. Nira was
more active last night, doing more standing and walking ever-so-slightly
better but still in obvious discomfort. I can tell though that the
medication is working.
I gave Nira
his medication this morning. He really seemed at peace. It is neat
to watch him wake up from a sound sleep. Like humans, it takes a
moment of time for Nira to gather all his senses when we wake him
and for him to realize that I am there.
returning home from work, I checked on the wolves.
Keeley was up,
walking around. Nira was lying down, watching me. I prepared his
medication as well as a little bit of burger. I approached the enclsoure
and Nira came down to the fence, walking pretty good. I sat down
on the ground a plate for Keeley and took another plate to Nira.
He sniffed it and took a few bites and walked away. I sat down with
him and petted him for a while. He then went back to the food, ate
it all - which was between a quarter and half a pound. I then gave
him his pain medication, which he does not like. I waited until
he opened his mouth and squirted the medication in. I then went
to give him an antibiotic shot and he whimpered at me. I stopped
trying then to give the shot, figuring I would have another opportunity.
I seized that opportunity but as I went to locate the spot for the
injection, he gave a half gowl at me. I sensed then that he did
not want to be messed with. I then walked away and went back later
and sat next to him, petting him.
from the house, he is walking around better, his cough has diminished
somewhat even though I was unable to administer the shot this evening.
night, there was a pack of coyotes howling in the area - nice to
hear some wild canines that still can howl.
Nira is doing better, up more than lying
around, more active. Yesterday we had a howl program we canceled
but we still ended up with 10 visitors...we tried to improve the
wolves comfort level by placing padding on the floor of the hut.
We also built up both entrance to the hut with dirt making it easier
for the wolves to enter. Nira's cough has decreased and he even
rolled over for a belly rub for Nicolette last evening but in the
process, we think he experienced some discomfort as he became grumpy
when rolling over.
Keeley is doing fine, trotting along the
fence, patrolling as an Alpha wolf might...maybe she senses Nira's
injury or him being less active and is now filling that role? It
is subjective but I have noticed Keeley staying closer to Nira during
the periods of time that Nira is less active. I even noticed her
bringing him a hot dog a few days ago...Usually one would be concerned
about a less dominate wolf taking advantage of a situation where
a more dominate wolf is injured or ill. We were watching this in
our situation but noted no intentions on Keeley's part to follow
through with this.
Went in to check on the wolves - Keeley doing
fine, Nira was sleeping or so I thought. I sat down to pet Keeley
and Nira came over to me, wagging his tail. I petted him for a while
and he went off to eat a few bites and drink water.
We do not know what the days ahead hold for
us but we sure cherish each and every day we can get a face greet
from either of the wolves. They have truly been marvelous to be
around and to watch grow.
Cooler weather moved in during the night
and we also received some light rain. I was wondering if Nira would
use the hut with the new padding we placed on the floor Saturday.
Now was the test to see if he would. Nira uses the hut more than
any of the wolves when it rains.
After turning on the enclosure lights, I
went up to check on them. I could already see Keeley out on patrol
and she met me at the gate, taking one of the Glucosamine and Chondroitin
tablets easily. I then heard a few "thumps" and knew that
Nira was in the hut - YAY!! He was standing inside, looking at me.
He then proceeded to meet me halfway, wagging his tail. This reminds
me that a number of years ago, I was told that wolves do not wag
their tails...hmmmmm....maybe Nira was wagging his hind end which
made his tail wag? Anyway, he did not take the Glucosamine and Chondroitin
tablet like Keeley did...Both wolves seem content now...which makes
me content. Nira is little by little beginning to show a little
We cleaned up the enclosure by gathering
as many of the lose rocks and sticks as possible and placing these
in piles. This is our attempt to reduce the tripping hazard these
Went in this morning and Keeley met me, wagging
her tail. I found Nira and he was sound asleep. Since he had a busy
day yesterday, I did not wake him. Jean, Christina and Karen Davis
and myself were all in with him yesterday. He had a good day, was
up and about. Karen suggested to me that Nira is still exhibiting
a sore back, and I agree.
Last night Nira actually puckered (bared
his canines) at Keeley as she approached too closely to his food.
I watched Nira do the "wolf trot" through the enclosure
later that evening.
It is amusing, in a sense, that when I enter
in the morning or really at any time of the day or night and Nira
has not met me, after greeting Keeley for a few minuets, I then
proceed to locate Nira. I am not sure if Keeley has become used
to this or just what is happening, but as we begin our walk together
to find Nira, she will go ahead of me and all I need to do is follow
her and she brings me to where he is. Most of the time she will
look back at me when she has reached the point where he is, wag
her tail and begin licking Nira.
Both ate some ground burger. All in all,
it was a good day yesterday.
Well, all I can say is that mothers are wonderful!!
My dear mother, Angie, called me today while I was at work and she
asked me to stop on my home to pick up some chicken breasts and
a pork roast that she had prepared for no one other than the wolves!
Hmmm...I get peanut butter sandwiches. Oh well...I am just teasing.
Back to the chicken breast and pork roast.
I stopped at mom's and she had prepared 5
chicken breasts and a medium size roast. She then proceeded to get
out old pictures of the wolves when they were a tad bit newer (younger).
My, they sure have changed on appearance.
As I got home, I thought to myself, "the
wolves have basically just sniffed and turned their noses at ground
burger, boiled pork, steak trimmings, bacon grease, beef liver,
chicken parts (not sure what), ice cream, cool whip (Ready Whip
in a can) - they will never eat the roasted chicken breast and pork
Anyway, since my dearest mother took the
time and labor of love for the wolves in making this dinner, I had
no choice but to offer the meal to them. I took up two chicken breasts,
thinking that one of two things would happen, I would leave them
in the enclosure for other animals to eat or they would travel with
my back to the garage and be placed on the refrigerator for later
As we approached the enclosure, both wolves
were up, moving about. Keeley met us at the gate, as usual. Nira
saw us and he slowly began trotting towards us, then he went faster
and ended up at the gate before I could unlock it. Wow!
I then offered one piece to Nira and before
I could think my next thought, he had downed that chicken breast.
Wow! I then offered him another, and the same thing happened - he
didn't even chew it - just swallowed - as is the normal thing for
wolves to do. I then had to go and retrieve the other pieces - bringing
up the whole roaster pan. By the end of the meal period, Nira had
consumed 4 large chicken breasts, Keeley two. Keeley carried around
the pork roast and cached it.
This was good! Now came the time for me to
give Nira his medication. I have noticed that as the distance increases
from the date of injury, administering the medication to Nira has
been getting more difficult because he is feeling better and gets
wiser in how we try to trick him into taking it.
I put the medication in honey, Nira just
looked at it, sniffed and then looked at me as if he were saying
"what - do you think I am stupid or what?" I eventually
did get about a quarter of the medication in him...will try again
later this evening.
We continued to watch Nira and he began digging
- unusual for him since his injury. What was he digging? As we watched
him, we realized he was digging up the cache that Keeley had placed
the pork roast in - he even ate most of that. Keeley then came up
and Nira bared his canines at her - telling her that the remaining
roast was his and for her to leave it alone - which she did.
Nira is feeling better and seems to enjoy
the well padded hut. Comfort! Now to trick him into taking the medication....
Once I started checking on the wolves in
the morning on the 5th of August, I seem compelled to continue this
- no exception this morning. With older wolves (approaching 16 years),
going in at times to check on them is not as much an issue as it
would be with younger wolves or more wolves than the two. Also,
having an excellent relationship with the wolves helps but this
also can cause concern when one becomes overconfident in one's ability
to "read" wild animals. Only after consultation with other
professionals and in the necessary actions to administer medication
to Nira was this decision arrived at. There are times that I have
entered through the holding pen, secured Keeley there, then entered
the main enclosure to check on Nira.
This morning, both wolves were doing fine.
After failing at three attempts to get all the dose of metacam in
Nira, I thought this morning would be better - not. I shall try
I had a lengthy discussion with our USDA
inspector today on the phone. I have been keeping him up to date
on all activities, progress, intentions with respect to treatment
and in obtaining any suggestions he has on how to successfully administer
I also had a lengthy discussion with Pat
from Wolf Park - where Nira, Keeley and Ingo came from. She offered
different techniques we could employ to get the medication in Nira.
We also discussed geriatric wolves and how they work with their
older wolves. Thanks Pat!
This morning, Nira was soundly sleeping in
the carpeted/padded floor of the "Nira Inn." I had to
throw a hunk of food that Nicolette had bought (chicken roll). A
few seconds after I tossed in the food, Nira's nose started to go
in circles, his eyes open and rather quickly he devoured the food.
Thanks Nic! Keeley also ate the same amount.
Tomorrow's plan is for me to draw blood on
the wolves for analysis.
Not much luck at getting the medication in
him. He eats around everything we put the mediation in. He did get
Well, because of Nira's continued improvement,
he has declined somewhat today. This being because the better he
becomes, the more difficult it is to get the medication in him.
Last night did not go too well. He had probably 1/4 to half the
normal dose. The same for the evening before. He is enjoying the
padded floor "Nira Inn" a lot though.
Today, I had visions of obtaining blood from
both wolves, and having a little easier time in getting the medication
in him. Who's keeping count, right?? Wolves 3, Marty 0.
Nira did eat pretty good today and apparently
he thought I was going to take food away from him so he gave a moderate
warning to me in the form a "woof." At least he is still
I attempted draw blood on them both...will
attempt Tuesday when other volunteers and Dr. Duerr is out. Nira
is grumpy today - every time that I try to get the medication in
him, he gives a quarter snarl...time to back off a little.
Later today, I bought him chicken breasts
and Alpo canned dog food and one of our volunteers, Matt, brought
me out some ground Elk...I think I will save that for an emergency...
So, up we went this evening...I had put the
medication in the Alpo dog food and mixed it in real good...Nira
did eat some as did Keeley. Not satisfied with how much he took,
I then put half a dose in a large chicken breast and smeared that
with juices from the canned dog food. Finally, some success! He
ate the whole chicken breast and followed that by some water. He
then visited us for some petting.
It is obvious that he is still in discomfort,
law back, hip area and also possibly his mouth. As I look up at
them now, they both seem content.
Finally! Some success - up at 0430 this morning.
Turned on the enclosure lights...prepared a half dose for Nira.
As mentioned in my previous posting, Matt had brought out some ground
Elk. Elk are a member of the deer family being much larger than
white-tailed deer. I put the metacam inside the ground elk and smeared
some of the juices from the burger all around the outside of the
I then went in through the holding pen, "sweets"
AKA Keeley greeted me and I sequestered her there for the time being
and went on my search for Nira. Why I kept her there was because
I was carrying a ball of meat and wanted only Nira to get it and
the medication. Having one less mouth to worry about is relaxing...
As I went on my search, I began to check
in places I had found him before...and kept checking...and kept
checking...I even retraced my steps. Not finding him in his favorite
spots and even in not-so-favorite spots, I then did a wider sweep
of the area. Finally locating him in an unusual place. I watched
him for a second, noticed he must have been dreaming because his
rear legs were twitching.
I placed the hard plastic plate down in front
of him and then, using a small branch to tap him on the head, I
woke him up. I talked to him and waited on the cob webs to clear
from his brain. Finally, his senses also awoke and now that we have
his brain and senses working together, he looked around for a few
seconds. Then, he realized I had brought him breakfast - he speedily
ate the elk and metacam.
Volunteers out throughout most of the day
while I am at work. They report to me that the wolves are lying
around, not too active. This makes sense as it is warm out.
When I get home, I prepared a chicken breast
with a spice of Metacam. I then garnished this with juice ala can
of Vienna sausage and let the chicken breast marinade in the juices
for about 5 minutes. I was hoping that this process would hide the
metacam odor from Nira.
I also had to prepare something for "sweets."
She received the Vienna sausages and about half pound of ground
burger. Up I went to the enclosure...
Keeley was put in the holding pen and Nira
was right there as well. I kept him in the main part of the enclsoure.
Usually, when I get home from work, both wolves are at the lower
end of the fence now, waiting on me to enter...if I do not enter
for a while, they sit there, looking right through the windows and
into the house. I feel guilty if I do not immediately go in with
them, especially when they are watching me...
Anyhow, after getting Keeley in the holding
pen, I then put down the stainless steel bowl with the chicken breast
inside near Nira. He began to lick it and I thought he would pick
up on the metacam odor. I first draw up the 80 pound dose in the
dose syringe then I transfer this to a syringe with a needle attached.
I then inject the medication into the breast.
Keeley was busy eating the burger and Vienna
sausage. While Nira began to lick more and more and eventually,
he picked up the whole breast and ate it all! Good. Feeling that
Keeley was not getting enough, I went back to the garage and fixed
her some more food in the form of another can of Vienna sausages
and some of the Biotonic food that Nic had bought.
I took this up and Keeley didn't want much
of it. I then put it in the pen with Nira and he proceeded to lick
at the meat and then, picked up the whole bowl with his front teath
and attempted to empty the contents on the ground by turning over
the bowl. It took him two tries to be successful at this. Now he
had all the contents of the bowl on the ground and the bowl was
upside down on the ground. He proceeded to flip the bowl upright
using his nose, checked to see that all the contents were out of
the bowl and he then walked away. But before doing so, he urinated
on/near the bowl. This process of him urinating on/near the bowl
and food was Nira's statement that he was claiming the food. He
really did not have much to fear from me....
Later that evening, I went back up with the
plans of listening to their lung sounds. Keeley was right there,
wagging her tail. We then began our search for Nira. Once Keeley
and I found him, we watched him and just let him sleep. He looked
so comfortable. No way was I going to wake him up. No obtaining
lung sounds this evening....
Later, I watched Keeley running around the
enclosure like she was 5 years old....
Up at 0430 hours............prepared food...chicked
breast for Nira and a little more burger for Keeley. I put Keeley
in the holding pen and heard Nira coughing...he must be up. As I
looked over towards the coughing sound, I saw him. He was almost
at the gate by now. I put the food in and he ate it all again!
I have been noticing that Nira, after being
up on all fours for a while and walking around, will all of a sudden
lay down and just seem to relax. He also coughs but does not appear
short of breath.
After Nira was done eating, I opened both
gates so that Nira and Keeley can do the switcheroo - this being
that each wolf thinks the other had better food and will go and
check out the "others" dinner table. In doing this, both
wolves met and a slight wag and face greeting was given and received
by each wolf. I just smiled.
Arrived home, ate and as I was eating, both
wolves were staring into the window...Nira was up and about. He
had received ice treats earlier. I was told that Nira began licking
his ice treat and Keeley walked away from hers. Nira then went to
Keeley's ice treat, sat on it and proceeded to eat his. When Keeley
came back to get hers, Nira growled at her. Good - signs that he
is feeling better.
So, we then prepared food for the wolves.
Chicken breast for Nira and an assortment for Keeley. To me, Keeley
appears to have gained weight as does Nira. I injected Nira's chicken
breast with the metacam and garnished this with Vienna sausages
and the juice, put a few foot long hot dogs in the pan and finished
that with some more beef biotonic food.
Nira continues to improve in his movement
but still tires easily. He is standing more now and for longer periods
of time. As we approached the enclosure last evening, Keeley was
running to beat us to the gate and right behind her, at a slightly
slower trot, was Nira.
Keeley was put in the holding pen and given
food while the same was done for Nira. Covering up the odor of the
medication has been trying at times but I think we have finally
found the method that works the best. Nira at a lot last night.
Up again at 0430 - prepared food, as usual,
chicken breast for Nira and and since Keeley did eat last night
and actually cached more than she ate, I did not prepare any for
her. I put some hot dogs, a can of Spam and the chicken breast with
metacam in the pan. Nira ate almost all of it, Keeley finished.
Today is an open day.
This evening, Nira and Keeley both semi-active
The weather is warm and humid. Took up food, the same menu for both
as in days past. Both wolves are active and Nira even seems to be
getting a little spring in his step. I am a little bothered by his
cough but this evening, he had none. During the open day today,
Jean told me that his cough sounded deep.
After he ate, I was able to listen to his
lung sounds but unable to listen to all areas. In the areas I was
able to listen to, I did not hear any abnormal sounds. I also heard
no murmur in his heart sounds. Keeley sounded the same as Nira did.
Both wolves ate the food and drank water.
Took up breakfast this morning - chicken
breast and ground burger. If anyone has any ground venison they
do not know what to do with, let us know...
This morning, Keeley was a little late getting
up, probably a late night. Put her in the holding pen and went in
to check on Nira. As I entered their pen, Nira was up. moving. I
sat his food down, petted and greeted him and eventually he ate
the chicken. He seems more alert now. During the day, they both
sleep a lot. Nira spends a lot of time in his hut during the day.
Tomorrow, Dr. Duerr comes out for an inspection.
Big day - Dr. Duerr came out to do his inspection
and to evaluate Nira's progress. Dr. Duerr is extremely good with
the wolves, is a kind and compassionate man and is always ready
to help when needed.
Dr. Duerr and I went into the enclosure along
with Rachel and other volunteers. Dr. Duerr and I discussed sedating
Nira for an exam but we decided to evaluate him first to see if
Nira could handle the sedation.
After entering, we decided to sedate him
to continue the examination. After giving Nira the shot, he was
sedated enough to draw blood, examine his mouth and teeth, inspect
and examine his head, neck and back. Dr. Duerr then listened to
Nira's lungs and heart sounds, took his temperature, administered
an antibiotic, applied Revolutuon for heart worm preventative. His
ears were also checked as his eyes. A stool sample was also obtained.
A needle biopsy was also obtained from the lump on his right side
which had been present for 10 years or more.
Nira's temperature was 100.7, no problems
noted in his mouth, no cracked teeth, no obvious abscess in his
mouth. No irregularities were found in his neck. Spinal examination
showed chronic osteoarthiritis with degenerative disease with his
spine. Lung sounds were fine except for a few small pockets of decreased
air movement, probably due to a small pneumonia. No signs of heart
failure were obvious.
We then reversed the sedative and slowly
but surely he woke up. The blood results should be back in a few
days and fecal analysis should be back tomorrow as the heart worm
This evening, Nira is doing fine. He seems
slightly more alert and a little more peppy. Dr. Duerr said that
basically, except for waiting on the blood results, that Nira is
doing as well as an older wolf might do.
Thanks Dr. Duerr and thanks to the volunteers.
This morning, both wolves overslept - meaning
that I was able to enter the enclosure before they got up...Keeley
greeted me first and she was all wiggly, tail wagging, a lot of
face greets and kisses. We then went to check on Nira - well, apparently
at that same time, unbeknown to me, he was looking for me and we
both went in a circle trying to catch up to the other - finally,
I headed back to where he was walking towards me, greeted, gave
him and Keeley some "wolf" bones. Nira sat down and I
petted him as did Keeley. Both seemed as good as older wolves can
As soon as I got home from work, both wolves
were at the lower part of the fence. I took up some food and neither
wolf really ate that well. I put the food in a stainless steel bowl.
Nira has some difficulty in getting the food out so he has started
dumping the contents of the bowl on the ground.
Earlier in the day I had received a call
from Dr. Duerr about Nira's test results. Nothing alarming. Heart
worm was negative. No parasites in the stool. His white count was
one above normal indicating a small infection somewhere, Dr. Duerr
said probably in his lungs. Other than that, the only other abnormal
reading was a slightly low glucose.
I administered half the normal dose of metacam
because Nira has caught on to all of my tricks. We are looking into
a paste which is applied to this ears. Nira did do something amazing
tonight, and I took pictures with my cell phone camera. He jumped
up on the platform next to the hut - "Nira Inn." He laid
there for about 5 minutes then jumped down. No stumbling.
He then want back to the food pan and proceeded
to cache it by pushing leaves with his nose. This went on for about
5 minutes. He then came over to me and laid down right beside me
for about 10 minutes. Tracy then came in the enclosure, both Nira
and Keeley perked up. Nira went over to her, wagged his tail and
gave her a good face greet and kiss. He then proceeded to walk away
and do some patrolling near the top of the enclosure.
After he was done patrolling, he found a
comfortable place to sit down and rest.
On the morning of 8/30/2012, I went in the
enclosure. Keeley greeted me and then trotted off - I followed.
Sure enough, she stopped when she reached Nira. He was sleeping.
We woke him and after the fog cleared, I tried to give him his medication.
He gave me a slight growl. Needless to say, the syringe was placed
back on the desk, full. I did not feed them as they both have gained
some weight. Off to work I go.
Arriving back home, both wolves are at the
lower part of the enclosure. I watch them and decide that if Nira
could jump up on a platform yesterday and that if he can growl at
me, he must be feeling better. I did take a picture of him on the
platform and will post it here soon.
Today (08/31/12), I went in during the day
and both were sleeping. It is hot and humid. Keeley meets me and
after a barrage of face greets, she leads me to "the ol man."
He is sleeping. Keeley and I wake him and he is excited to see me.
As he begins to yawn, I squirt the metacam in his mouth - success!
He does not need the metacam to live but it does decrease the pain
he is in. After that, I left.
Later, I take up turkey breasts and legs
for the "kids." Nira and Keeley both eat well as they
have not been fed for on one (1) day - oh my!!! Spoiled!!! They
both eat well, are given fresh water and I leave.
I love these guys!! See you tomorrow!
Sunday was an open day and we also used the
day to accomplish some jobs around Wolf Timbers.
Nira and Keeley are doing fine. Nira has
recovered from his injury to the point to where he probably is at
or near his activity level prior to the injury. His cough has diminished
and activity level has, for the most part, increased. Wolf Timbers'
very first volunteer, Jen, visited on Sunday and spent a lot of
time with Nira and Keeley. By observing the behavior of the wolves,
they both recognized her. Nira wanted a belly rub from her but we
decided against this. Keeley offered a lot of face greets. Jen was
able to give Nira his medication, relieving me of that duty.
Nira did not seem bothered by the visitor's
but he did not approach the bleacher end of the enclosure.
Yesterday evening, we went in and both were
active. They met us near the holding pen and both wolves were "wolf
trotting" along the lower portion of the enclosure Each received
a "ham hock" and a turkey carcass as well as a number
of foot-long hot dogs.
This morning, I checked on the wolves before
work and both were up but not moving about yet.
Last night, I went in and Nira was less active.
I sat with him and petted him for 20 minutes. He did get up and
made a new bed by digging with his front legs and flinging the dirt
back to me, covering me with each paw full of dirt.
Checked on the wolves this morning and Keeley
met me at the gate and Nira was sleeping. I approached him and he
woked up. I sat with him and petted him. Really humind this morning.
Nira is a little less active this morning. I have not fed them in
two days. Tomorrow they will get a quarter deer.
Checked on the wolves this morning, later
than usual because I did not have to work today. Both are doing
fine, Keeley is doing exceptional, running around the enclosure
at a pretty fast trot. Nira was sleeping when I went in. Keeley
and I approached him and I woke him up by petting him on the head.
It takes a few seconds for him to realize who is there, in front
of him - this is why I am careful waking him up.
He seemed to be relatively "ok."
After checking him out, I brought in some roasted pork - thanks
to some friends that hold an annual neighborhood block pig roast.
Both wolves devoured this and then Nira rested.
I was able to get medication into him today,without
much fuss - I just waited for him to yawn or open his mouth wide.
Both drank from the two fresh pails of water I brought in.
Later in the evening, after returning from
a meeting, I checked on the wolves again. Nira was up on the platform
next to his hut. To me, this is a good sign as he is able to use
both front and rear legs to get up on the 18 inch tall platform.
I was hoping that he would not get down to meet me, but, as has
been Nira's "MO" from the past, he did get down to greet
me, stumbling somewhat but never falling to the ground. We met and
greeted with a little tail wag and Keeley then got into the mix
of things and it felt somewhat like "old times."
Fed the guys a quarter deer and some boiled
pig today - Nira and Keeley both ate. Picked up another bottle of
medication for Nira - cost: $95.00 - ouch! But he is worth it.
He has received his normal dose of metacam
two days in a row - I don't press the issue but if given an opportunity,
I will give it to him. I usually wait until he yawns and seize the
opportunity. This is much better than pulling his lip up and putting
the syringe in his mouth or between his cheek and gum. I do like
my fingers - not that he would bite me just to bite, but he does
not like the taste and has emitted a slight growl.
All I can say is HEARTWARMING!!!
We went in the enclosure last evening. Keeley
met us at the gate and after the usual customary greeting involving
face greets, kisses, tail wagging, we started to walk and told her
to "find him for us." With that, she trotted slightly
ahead of us and every 5 feet or so, she would turn around as if
to see if we were still following her. We entered from the corridor
(opposite side from the bleachers) so we did not have a great view
of the enclosure and could not see where Nira was.
Keeley led us around the hut and into the
thickest part of the enclosure. About 15 feet above the hut, she
stopped, looked at us and lowered her ears a little and made eye
contact with us then she moved to her left 5 feet and it was then
that we located Nira with our eyes.
He was sleeping and what happened next was
truly neat, heartwarming and amazing to see. She looked back at
us, looked at Nira and lowering her ears in a submissive position
and lowering her body she reached out with her left foreleg and
tapped Nira to wake him up.
He woke up, looked around, saw us and then
began the tail wagging and face greeting. Even though wolves and
other animals do not posses "human emotions," my observational
experience with these animals over the past 15 and a half years,
I can say that the wolves exhibit similar physical behaviors which
humans exhibit, in an emotional sense, which might be driven by
the mental state of the wolf at that time - emotion.
We stayed with him and Keeley and he soaked
up all the petting and even wagged his tail a number of times.
All status quo as of last night. Fed the
wolves turkey breasts. Both wolves' appetites are somewhat decreased
due to having food available to them almost constantly. Nira remains
alert and as active as an older wolf might be. His periods of activity
are usually in the mornings and evenings.
Nira continues to improve and is back to
where he was before the injury. His appetite has improved and he
is much more mobile. He just does not get up all the time to investigate
something like he (and even Keeley) once did. My thinking is that
after investigating the noise, movement or other distraction many
times over the past 15 years, he has become somewhat used to that
disturbance. But, food has always been a powerful motivation for
Ever since his injury, he has been reluctant
to eat like he has before, I am sure that the older age accounts
for some of this. Last night, I took food in. No longer are we putting
a whole deer or for that matter, even half a deer in - the wolves
just do not eat like they used to. So, I usually take food in a
stainless steel bowl up to them and feed them in different areas.
I do hope to feed them together soon but right now, I am still noting
how much food he eats. If Keeley were in the same area, she might
steal some of Nira's food.
What they received last night was beef and
venison. Both ate all they were provided with. After putting Keeley
in the holding pen, I heard a commotion behind me and it was Nira
- he was coming to find me, not the other way around!! I sat the
bowl down and watched for a few minutes then went off to change
water and gather up the other bowl from yesterday.
I am pleased with Nira's progress and now
we can get ready for pups next year - hopefully.
After giving the wolves a break the past
week of my early morning intrusions into "their territory",
I decided that I would surprise them this morning - well, surprised
Nira, Keeley met me at the gate as typical.
After the usual much face greeting and tail
wagging, Keeley and I went off in search of Nira - it would really
help me out if Nira snored a little. I do turn on the enclosure
lights and take a flashlight in with me which helps but with all
the shadows and low light conditions, an audible "Nira locator"
would really help. Keeley also helps me by pointing me in the right
We located Nira and he was sleeping so soundly,
even with much "begging" of Keeley, she still would not
wake him up this morning. Hmmmm....
So....I talked louder, not really useful
and I felt like a fool knowing that he is deaf....but, old habits....anyway,
I decided to use Keeley as a blocking tool. When she stepped between
Nira and I, I reached out and petted Nira. He still did not wake
up....but he was twitching like having a dream. I then began to
shake him a little and finally, his eyes opened, had a look of bewilderment
on him with a side dish of "surprise" and finally, lifted
his head, looked around and in his own little way, begged me to
Cool to slightly cold out this morning....I
petted him for about 10 minutes then gathered up the dishes from
last nights dinner. The menu was one raw egg, a piece of cooked
chicken, mixed in some Metacam and finally, Mac and cheese dish....after
eating that, I finished Nira's dinner with dessert in the form of
a hog hock. Keeley ate a more bland diet of raw beef and venison.
09/20/2012 - PM
Went in with the wolves when I go home, Keeley
and Nira both resting. Both then got up and proceeded to face greet
me for an extended period of time. I later brought up a cheese stick
for Nira with Metacam hidden inside. I thought for sure that he
would devour this in two bites, but...yea, Keeley ate it....Ugghhhh!!
Eventually however, I was able to get metacam
in Nira - he yawned at the wrong time for him but right time for
me and in it went. No Mac and Cheese tonight -
After arriving home from work and eating
(with Keeley looking through the window and into the house), I went
up and visited with the wolves. Surprising, both wolves met me at
the gate. I had apples for them. They really have not had apples
in a good while. I cut up Nira's and kept Keeley's whole. They both
eagerly ate their apples.
As Nira was eating his, he did lay down.
He gets either real tired or needs to take the stress off his spine
and will lay down. I am not sure how long he will be around, at
times, he gives me the impression that he is just tired and wore
out. He is approaching 16 years old.
I am enjoying spending as much time as possible
with the wolves and every chance I get, I spend it with them. Keeley
is doing really well, at least from all outward signs. No one truly
knows though what is brewing inside. I did catch her digging at
the "hole" the other day. I am going to fill the hole
in with straw, a suggestion from Pat over at Wolf Park. The hole
is not that large but any modifications we can make to prevent Nira
from falling is prudent.
The one thing that I really miss is hearing
them howl. I have not heard Keeley howl since Ingo passed away.
For Nira, it has been years. I am hoping we are able to obtain three
pups next year. We are currently in the process of doing what is
necessary to accomplish this. Hopefully, this will happen.
Getting back to the present. With Nira lying
on the ground, taking a rest from eating his apple, Keeley came
over and he growled at her for approaching too close to "his"
apple. Earlier, I watched Nira as he was eating his apple. He ate
the smaller pieces first then concentrated on the larger one. The
larger piece rolled away from him - now we have a dilemma (not really
though) - he made a few attempts to get the apple and each time
he reached out further, he pushed the apple further away. I grabbed
a 5 foot long stick, pushed the apple back to him and he again began
to lick and nibble on it.
As Keeley went off into the enclose, Nira
again pushed his apple away - I used the stick to push it back to
him and he thought that the stick was
going to take his remaining part of apple and growled. Still has
I came back to the enclosure later to give
Nira his medication. I put this in a cheddar cheese flavored hamburger.
Nira readily ate 3/4 of the burger until he must have tasted the
medication. He eventually did end up eating all of it.
After that, he and I just sat together for
a while. I walked around the enclosure for a spell, having a personal
talk with my father, basically telling him that sooner rather than
later, he and Nira will somehow be reunited in The Almighty God's
presence. All depends on your belief. Since God made all on Earth,
my feeling is that God will take care of all as well. All acquaintances
you have had in life that GOD feels worthy of a reunion for you
will occur after we pass on. Since animals were important to my
father and since he and Nira had a special relationship, I am sure
GOD will reunite them.
I checked on the wolves once more before
calling it a night. Both again met me at the gate and since all
was as well as it was going to be, I let them rest. "I shall
return tomorrow" is what I told Nira and Keeley.
Went up to the enclosure after getting home.
I had hid the metacam in deep fried chicken thinking that Nira would
take one whiff and poof!! it would be gone....NOTTTT! - He delicately
used his incisors on the chicken as if he were dissecting the meat...probably
a recent new addition to his method of eating to weed out those
particles of food that had hidden in them that nasty metacam! After
a few bites, he just looked at me...I dared not approach him because
the food was between he and I...
On to Keeley - had hre in the holding pen.
I gave her a slab of beef ribs and could hear her crunching away.
Back to Nira...
Threw him a slab of ribs also and he seemed
to like those. He stood up to use his forelegs to tear off the meat
and after a few minutes of eating, he laid back down and rested
his head on the meat...uggggggggggghhhhhhhhh!!! I can remember years
ago all this food would be gone before hitting the ground....Anyway,
back up he gets and resumes eating. This time, he stood for a while.
I did not like how he was breathing, short, forced pants but those
quickly subsided to a more rugular rate and depth.
Had rained almost all day and Nira felt a
little cool to the touch. He had been in his hut during the rainy
periods today. He did feel dry however. Back to Keeley. Let her
in the enclosure with Nira. She went right up to him and I followed,
making my way behind Nira so as not to provide back up to Keeley
in her soon to be attempt to steal his food. I positioned myself
behind Nira, 5 feet away and stooped down. Keeley approached and
Nira let her have it with a pretty good growl, AP and bark. At least
the spirit remains.
I decided to let Nira and Keeley alone and
retire for the night. Not sure what I am going to find in the morning...
Went up to see the wolves this morning. Keeley
met me and I gave her an apple treat. Time to find Nira - we both
went up towards the top and I was lookign for him to be sleeping...I
did not notice that he was standing, looking right at me. Whewwww!!
Gave him a few treats and petted him and
told them I would see them later today!
09/23/2012 - Evening
Went up to see Nira and Keeley - Nira had
been up a number of times during the day, trying to keep in the
sun as it traveled across the horizon. I may be too close to the
situation, but I just have this feeling inside that...the time is
near. Again, it is hard to be objective when you have so much emotion
in you for an animal that has been with you for almost 16 years
and means so much to you in many different ways.
Anyway, like I said, Nira was up and met
us at the gate. This presented us with an issue - I had Swiss steak,
chicken and the hidden (so I thought) metacam on a hard plastic
plate. For Keeley, she was getting canine food that Nic had bought.
Before all you Keeley supporters begin calling me names for not
giving her the "good stuff", read on.
Both wolves were at the gate and upon entering,
we threw an apple to try to get Keeley's attention so that she would
go into the holding pen. Well, really didn't work but in the end,
what we tried to accomplish did in fact happen but the end result
(Nira getting the medication) did not.
I sat the plate of steak, gravy and chicken
and metacam down for Nira. He sniffed, licked and then looked up
at us saying - "nice try Marty but I am on to you." After
giving him 15 minutes or so to eat the food and realizing that was
not going to happen, we let Keeley back in. Food is now gone.
So, back to the garage we go, brought back
another slab of Swiss steak and fried chicken. Also brought in fresh
water. Nira did eat the chicken but not the steak. But guess who
did eat the steak? - Yes, Keeley (probably going to have to put
her on a diet soon).
We sat with Nira for a while, he got up,
moved and sat down again. We followed him. He appears to get real
tired easily and had obvious problems sitting down. It usually takes
a while for him to get his rear on he ground Once on the ground,
he looks around alert and aware.
We went to him, sat down again with him and
I was looking for an opportunity to get the metacam in him by squirting
it in his mouth. No go.
He got up again and proceeded to bite on
a piece of wood - which I have not seen him do in long time. Not
sure why he did this. He then went and sat back down. We then left
them hoping to see Nira in the morning...alive.
I went in this morning. Not sure what to
expect. Unusual in that Keeley did not meet me at the gate. Went
in deeper to the enclosure and spotted Nira, he was lying down,
looking at me. Keeley was about 8 feet away from him. When she saw
me, she got up and came over to me, giving me face greets and kisses.
I petted Nira and he laid his dead down.
I was able to give him the metacam and he shook his head trying
to get it out of his mouth.
I petted him a few more times and told him
I would see him later today.
I am wondering what I will find when I get
Came home from work and Nira was standing,
looking around....hmmm....not what I expected but much better than
what I expected. We stayed with them for an hour. He seemed in pretty
good spirits. Just when I think the end is near, he once again surprises
Finally, a day off...visited the wolves 6
times today, bringing up fresh water, spending quality time with
them. Gave Nira his metacam. Both wolves lying in the sun, eyes
closed, peaceful looking. For the most part, all through the years
the wolves have been here, the distance between the wolves as they
slept was around 5 to 15 feet. Today was no exception. Nira and
Keeley were about 8 feet apart, facing towards one another. This
may be a protective behavior so that the other can observe what
is happening behind the other. Even when Ingo was walking the Earth
in physical form, the three would arrange themselves the same way.
Nira still coughing at times, usually when
we wake him up. Really have not heard him cough while he has been
up waking around. One point today, Nira was lying in the sun and
I just laid down next to him, petting him. He closed his eyes, sighed
and seemed to enjoy this. I petted him between his eyes, rubbing
his forehead. This is a relaxation technique used on humans as well.
At times, Keeley would come over and get all wiggly and kiss us
both and Nira would even respond by kissing her back. I would not
do this with younger wolves as I would be putting myself in a possibly
subordinate position. There are certain circumstances and situations
with older wolves that allow you to modify your own behavior that
you would not change with younger, more active wolves.
After spending time with them, I went to
Dr. Duerr's office. He has two offices, one in Bolivar the other
(main hospital) in New Philadelphia. They now have 5 veterinarians
working there. Dr. Duerr and I discussed Nira for about 15 minutes.
The man topic was his breathing and pain management.
Nira appears to use his abdominal muscles
to force (rather passively however) air out. Does not seem to have
difficulty taking air in. Kind of like asthma. He does wheeze at
times which tends to signify a narrowing of the airway. When he
sits down, he usually takes a rather long time doing this. Dr. Duerr
and I both agree that besides the arthritis and back injury, there
is a process occurring in his pulmonary system. He did have small
areas of decreased air movement in his lung fields when Dr. Duerr
examined him in late August. Nira will also stop while walking,
take a few minutes then proceed on. He does not seem to be short
of breath but anyone that has worked closely with these animals
realizes that the ability to hide illness/injury probably has no
other equal than wolves. After resting a few minutes, he will go
on his way.
Dr. Duerr increased his metacam to a 85 to
90 pound dose and we also put him on Tramadol to help bring the
discomfort under control.
After talking with Dr. Duerr and Pat from
Wolf Park and Karen Davis, I then went back in with the wolves.
I put Nira's Tramadol in a large burger and he ate that up quickly.
Earlier in the day, I had opened the freezer to get out food and
I looked up and Nira was standing looking at me. This is good. It
then began to rain and he went to the hut to keep dry.
I am more relaxed this evening than I have
been in a week or so.
Raining and some lightning this morning at
430...took me a while to get moving. I guess I know how Nira might
feel. Anyway, Keeley met me at the gate and we went in, providing
Keeley the customary kisses and attention. I kind of laugh, the
whole episodes reminds me of security at a convention regarding
me entering the gate, getting screened by Keeley (the guard) before
being allowed to see the "boss" - Nira.
The "boss" was in the "Nira
Inn" and peacefully sleeping. I sit with him and pet his nose,
he wakes up, begins to cough. Keeley comes over and we all have
a "meet and greet" episode. I then pet Nira more and he
lays back and presents his belly, as best as he can, for a belly
rub. Eyes now half closed, I reach over and pet him for a few minutes.
I then pet his face and rub his jaw. He seems to enjoy this as his
eyes close again. I then put the metacam in between his lips.
I then left and Nira was still in the enclosure.
As I walk out and check the gates to make sure they are all locked,
I can barely see the tip of his ear, in the hut being illuminated
by the enclosure lights. Neat.
Can't wait to get home.
Have not put up any recent logs about Nira
because the situation looks like it has went downhill faster than
what I can keep up with. I will try to bring it all up to date but
for now, our veterinarian, Dr. Duerr, thinks Nira has liver cancer
with a prognosis of days left.
When I got home on the 26
I was told that both Nira and Keeley were standing near the bottom
of the fence, I thought - WOW!!! YAY!!!
Went in with them and Nira did not eat much,
if any. No biggie as his appetite has been slowly going down. He
was still walking around at times and wagged his tail and lowered
his ears. I took up some venison meat scraps, chicken breast and
an apple for each wolf. Nira ate a little of the chicken, no venison
scraps and ate almost the whole apple.
The next morning,
27 of September, It was again raining.
I went in the give him his medication. He was lying in the rain,
not unusual. I went to him, petted him and sat with him for about
10 minutes. Have to be at work at 6 am so I got up around 410 am
to accomplish seeing Nira and Keeley and getting ready for work.
When I gave him the medication, he shook
his mouth and what looked like puss came out of his mouth. Hmmmmm....I
petted him a few more times, told both Nira and Keeley that I would
see them later.
I went to work and developed GI issues myself.
Came home early sick, not feeling well. I have been handling a lot
of raw meat the past few weeks. I was able to talk with our veterinarian
and he prescribed two doses of baytril. Later, after giving this
to him, I notice that Nira will constantly fidget with his mouth.
Called Dr. Duerr again. Arrangements were made for him to come out
Thursday afternoon evening. A couple quick calls to some volunteers
and all was set.
It was raining when Dr. Duerr came out but
Nira had moved to the hut - perfect! I secured a few items to help
make Dr. Duerr's visit a little more easy for him. The hut Nira
is in has a front and read entry. The front entry is about a little
over a foot off the ground and the rear is level with the ground.
Nira usually uses the rear door as he does not have to jump up.
I gathered a tarp, flashlights, other tools
- Dr. Duerr came out - we made some bite sticks to help hold open
Nira's mouth. I was sure that Nira had something going on in his
mouth. Dr. Duerr came out, we talked a little and gave Nira the
sedative. Dr. Duerr is a wonderful person, I am pretty sure he is
one on a million when compassion and veterinarian care is in need.
Nira was sedated, we moved to examine him.
Nothing in the mouth or throat. Dr. Duerr did not like the looks
of Nira's abdomen. More distended. The liver edges could not be
palpated. Abdominal distention had increased since the last time
Dr. Duerr was out. Dr., Duerr extracted some fluid from Nira's abdomen.
Slightly cloudy with tinges of red. Not good. Going to send the
specimen out to the lab.
We also gave another antibiotic and took
him off the Tramadol. Put him on Torbugesic. A powerful pain medication.
Last night, 09/28/2012,
Nicolette came out and we gave Nira the pain shot. Wow - knocked
him out for good. Nic sat with him for about 3 hours. He did eat
5 meatballs, a lick of vanilla yogurt, a while apple and drank water.
Woke up, Nira had moved through the night.
Went in and covered him up. Sat with him all morning, it is now
12:20 and we have been with him almost all morning. Volunteers are
out sitting with Nira and helping him. He did get some metacam this
morning. He drank but has not eaten any, even turned his nose up
at Chicken and Dumplings that Tracy had fixed for him. Nira did
get up and walked a few feet then became weak and sat down.
More volunteers are expected today. right
now, unless we see a change, Nira will be with the wolves spirits
this Monday or Tuesday.
Well, busy day today. Had volunteers present
all day to be with Nira and Keeley. Had a few laughs today in an
otherwise solemn day. Nira did not eat today despite our best efforts.
We spared no tidbit of food, good or bad for him. In the end, no
food was eaten by Mr. Nira. He did drink though. He offered up a
few face greets and a few "please rub my belly."
"Nira is the beginning of the dream,
not the end" is Wolf Timbers new motto. I just need to find
a way to get through this.
Right now the time is 11:03 PM and Karen
Davis decided to drive all the way from Knoxville, Tenn to see her
beloved Nira. She has to return tomorrow to Tenn. I am waiting on
her to arrive so we can go "pester Nira some more."
Gave Nira a pain shot a while ago while Nic
and Beth were here. Relaxed him. He tried to get up a few times
today but could not stand and a few times, he fell over. We have
a huge amount of blankets, carpet padding, towels, a few pillows,
a canvass - all to help us make us think we are making Nira more
comfortable. Except for the pillow, all the other props are probably
useless to him.
We called Nira's sponsors today and told
them of the plans to retire Nira in the physical form Monday or
Tuesday. I have been in contact with Wolf Park, Monty and Pat about
what is happening.
Just to let all those that are reading this
- we will someday have a memorial service for Nira but please do
not expect this soon - possibly next year, around his Birthday -
but not any sooner.
For those that know me, you know how I feel
about the wolves, and Nira. You understand. And I thank you.
Nira, Keeley and Ingo have given me, and
all that have met them, a glimpse into their world. No words can
describe how I am feeling right now.
Currently I am watching Nira who is 7 feet
away from me - I am on the outside of the enclosure. Karen, Nic,
mom and others are in sitting behind Nira. Keeley is currently taking
some meat we put in for Nira this morning.
Nira received a pain shot not too long ago.
I made the call to Dr. Duerr - it is time to allow Nira to rest
in peace for ever. Hard to do, very hard but it is best for him.
Not for me but this has never been about me, it has always been
about them, their brothers and sisters in the wild and in captivity
all over the world.
It is not a waiting game. Nira does not seem
to be in a lot of discomfort now.
Still watching Nira - he lifted his head
a few times, seems relaxed. He has had a lot of visitors the past
two days. His eyes are open and he is surrounded by a lot of peole
10:46 PM 09/30/2012
Nic, Megan and Rachel are taking the night
shift being with Nira. We gave him a pain shot a little bit ago.
He is resting comfortably. Dr. Duerr will be out tomorrow morning
to euthanize Nira - our beloved Nira. As mentioned, Nira is the
beginning of a dream, not the end.
We had a lot of volunteers out the last two
days. We also had 16 visitors today. Volunteers also finished roofing
the gift shop. I would guess in the last two days, around 60 people
have paid their respects to Nira. Now we have to focus on Keeley
and continuing the dream of Wolf Timbers. That dream will survive.
I personally need to extend a huge amount of gratitude to present
and past volunteers for their unselfishness and love for Nira.
Nira was euthanized today, at 9 am by Dr.
Duerr. Since Saturday, I would say around 50 or 60 people have visited
Nira and Keeley, including 16 public visitors on Sunday. The strong
support from Wolf Timbers volunteers has not went unnoticed.
Volunteers from the past and current volunteers
came out to sit with Nira, and pamper him .He was not the Nira we
knew from old on Sunday. I had increased the frequency of his pain
medication to about every 12 hours up from every 24 hours. This
medication is 5 to 28 times more powerful than morphine.
Last night, Nicolette, Megan and Rachel took
the night shift - giving me an opportunity to take a shower, eat
and try to relax. This has been unbelievably stressful on all of
Saturday was not really that bad of a day
- Nira did not eat Saturday but he would allow us to pet him and
hold a water bowl so he could drink. We basically deluged him with
love Saturday, old volunteers came out, new ones came out - all
for Nira - people drove as far as Tennessee to see Nira.
During all of this, Jim and Ray worked on
the gift ship roof which had been damaged by a tree that fell over
in strong winds. They worked for 8 hours. Again, on Sunday they
and other volunteers worked on the gift shop roof till they had
it completed. I thank you guys and gals from the bottom of my heart.
Wolf Timbers shall survive - especially with the volunteers we currently
Saturday night, Rachel drove from Pennsylvania
to help take over the night shift. Nicolette also stayed that night.
Karen Davis, Keeley and Nira's puppy mother
drove 10 hours to be with her beloved and goofy Nira on Sunday and
she had to drive home knowing what was going to happen Monday. She,
along with all the other volunteers are amazing humans that inspire
I really cannot write much about Nira right
now, the difficulties of the situation prevent me from doing so.
Susie and Gary, I currently have two pictures that I am looking
at that melt my heart - one is of Nira's paw in my hand (we are
holding hands) and the other is I am giving Nira a belly rub, just
him and I, and we are looking at each other. Thanks so much for
those pictures. They are heartwarming.
So, back to present day...
At some point in the future, I will try to
thank each and everyone of you for coming out and for your condolences.
Other people not associated with these wolves do not understand
what we are going through. Those that have been this close to wolves
know what we are going through.
When Dr. Duerr came out today, he said Nira's
abdomen had gotten larger and the edema in his legs worse. I made
sure that Dr. Duerr, in his professional medical opinion, had no
doubts what so ever about euthanizing Nira. He did not. Time to
go big guy. If it were up to me and my emotions, I would keep these
guys around me forever but that would not be right.
Nira, to me, was more than an animal, more
than a "wolf" - he was funny, at times he was cranky,
other times he was jovial, a clown (to use Beth's words) other times,
he was a pistol, prankster and at other times, he could melt your
heart with his eyes, his emotions, his trust in you. I never once
felt uncomfortable at all, not the least, around Nira. Of course,
you have to behave in a way that he expected - as is the case with
all wolves. To me, Nira and Keeley have been slightly different
- probably to the excellent job Wolf Park and Karen Davis has done
with them while they were at Wolf Park. Okay, I am getting a little
emotional. What an amazing ride, Nira. I thank you from the depths
of my shattered heart. Nira was perceptive, insightful, funny, relaxing
to be around. Nira was not always that gifted in the walking department.
Meaning that at times he would trip over the air that was present
- when he did this, we would catch him looking up at us to see if
we also caught him tripping over the air - if he saw we were watching,
he would sulk away and hide for about 15 mnutes.
A huge part of me has passed on along with
Nira. Dad and Nira were buddies. Nira was more than "just a
wolf" or "just an animal" - for those that have not
experienced a wolf in the situation like Wolf Park or Wolf Timbers,
you do not know what you are missing.
Nira never once, not even half a once, ever,
ever growled at me (when he was healthy). He never exhibited all
the demonic and devilish, blood thirsty, man-killer instincts that
so many people attribute to wolves. The reason - simple, wolves
are not that way at all. I am more afraid of a football than any
of the wolves I have ever met.
Okay, I will write more later, even thinking
of posting my notes from days gone by. Nira, I honestly and with
no regrets in a public format, thank you for the last 15 and half
years and can tell you how much I respect you and love you (in human
terms) and just so how much I shall miss you.
On 10/02/2012, I had a long conversation
with Dr. Duerr at his Bolivar office. He went over the results of
the fluid drawn from Nira's abdomen on 9/27/2012. Basically, without
the lab results in front of me, I can remember Dr. Duerr saying
that around 48% of the cells contained in the fluid were mutated
cells. He further went on the explain that the cancer was probably
still encapsulated within the liver and had not yet spread. This
would account for no cancerous cells being found in the free floating
Yesterday, 10/5/2012, our USDA APHIS inspector
called and we had a long talk abut what happened, our treatment
and other issues. Every time the wolves get sick or are on medications,
or worse - pass away, we notify our USDA Inspector. Records then
I need to thank Carl for buying food for
all the volunteers present on Sunday - that was awesome Carl! Thanks!!
Nira was cremated this past Monday. He will
be buried in the enclosure along side Ingo in concrete vaults with
the wooden urn placed inside. We will mark those areas with "head
One week ago today we lost Nira. Looking
up into the enclosure and not seeing him there is difficult and
at the same time, really weird. It is like "wow" - had
this really happened at all? Nira being here. I will just say that
I realize Nira was not a human yet at the same time, for me, and
most of the volunteers and people that knew him, he was just as
important and represented something much more than just a "wolf."
For those that know me and understand what I mean, we can comfort
one another. For those that don't understand, there is noting else
I can say but that I am sorry.
Today ends the book on Nira's injury. Any
additional postings will be put elsewhere. I will be sure to inform
everyone of when additional postings are made and were they may
be found on the web page.