This morning about a dozen of us left on the CARE bus to travel to the St. Francis Wolf Sanctuary near Montgomery. Others followed the bus in two cars. The drive was a pleasant one, with nice scenery and dry conditions.
The young man at the Sanctuary was very informative and he told us at the end that this was his favorite part of the job. He took us to each enclosure and told us about those wolves and also gave us information about wolves in general. All the wolves had interesting stories -- some of them sad stories of abuse by owners. The Sanctuary leases three acres but they have bought a piece of land in Grimes County, where the animal enclosures will be much larger and will have ponds and other amenities. They hope to relocate by the autumn of 2019.
The operation began with a wolf named Mystery, one of many animals that lived at the North American Wolf Association (NAWA) – a “sanctuary” in Conroe, Texas where animals were kept in substandard conditions. Mystery escaped from NAWA in the summer of 2002 and spent a week running free in the woods before being shot and captured in a leg trap. NAWA refused to take her back or pay for her medical needs. A local veterinarian took Mystery in and nurtured her wounds but didn’t know where to go from there. Jean LeFevre learned about Mystery and decided that she would do whatever it took to save the animal. She was granted the necessary licenses and the Saint Francis Wolf Sanctuary opened on the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, October 4, 2002 — hence their name.
Mystery lived at the Sanctuary until just after her 18th birthday. Wolves don’t normally live more than 14 years in captivity, even a shorter time in the wild. When a wolf dies, the Sanctuary has it cremated and they keep the ashes in the gift shop.
After our visit at the Sanctuary, we drove back to Montgomery for lunch at the Pizza Shack. They serve much more than pizza, though, and their service was good. It was a good day – and we’re already talking about visiting the Sanctuary in their new location next year!
ROUTE: US 59 S to Cleveland => TX 105 W three miles past Montgomery => Left on Old Dobbin Road (toward Deer Creek Ranch) => Left on St. Beulah Chapel Road, go about 1.5 miles to the Sanctuary. [www.saintfranciswolfsanctuary.org]