Refer a Patient

Sam’s Visit with a Grey Wolf was a Dream Come True

Sam Mullins of Cleveland, Ohio has always had an admiration for wolves. Filled with wolf pictures, wolf paintings, wolf sculptures, and other wolf-inspired memorabilia, his home is a shrine to these beautiful animals. Sam’s longtime dream was to meet a wolf in person one day.

In Cleveland, where Sam is receiving end-of-life care from Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care, his hospice team helped make his dream come true. Inspired by Sam’s passion for wolves, Crossroads Volunteer Manager Ilona Rodgers contacted Ironwood Wolves – several hours away in Columbus, Ohio.

Ironwood Wolves is a wildlife educational facility with a mission “to inspire the public to care about wolves and other wild canine species through experiences with our animals.”

Sam had his long dreamt-of personal encounter with an 85-pound grey wolf named Logan at a local park. He said it was nothing short of perfect.

Sam’s visit with Logan was part of Crossroads’ Gift of a Day program, an initiative that creates opportunities for patients receiving end-of-life care to experience their perfect day.

Logan is one of Ironwood Wolves’ ambassador animals. These are specially trained and socialized “working” animals with an extremely important job: to help promote conservation and better understanding of wildlife.

According to Ironwood Wolves, animal ambassadors are far removed from the wild because they rely on human caretakers. At Ironwood, they think of their ambassador animals as therapy animals. They have the ability to make someone’s day or – in Sam’s case – someone’s dream come true.

Wolves and Humans Coexist

Wolves and humans have lived alongside one another since the beginning of time. In fact, today’s pet dogs are the result of thousands of years of grey wolf domestication, according to Ironwood Wolves.

In the United States, grey wolves are found in Alaska, northern Michigan, northern Wisconsin, western Montana, northern Idaho, northeast Oregon, and the Yellowstone area of Wyoming.

A major characteristic of all wolves is the way in which they communicate with one another, the howl. Wolves howl for many reasons: as a form of bonding, to contact other wolves, and to attract mates.

Fortunately, there was no howling during Sam’s visit with Logan. Logan was super playful and generous with his many loving kisses.

“It was an instant friendship,” said Sam. “I feel like my soul opened up today. It was the most amazing experience.”