HOWL Colorado

Miracle Wolf: The story of Nakai

Few will face the challenges which Nakai, a seven-month-old wolf, has already lived through. Fewer still will emerge on the other side with his sweet disposition, brave determination and a zest for life which bought him time to prove everyone wrong.

All to often, it is easy to become cynical. The harsh realities of the challenges facing American wolves are painful to learn about. The mission to educate seems daunting.

Sometimes, however, a story touches your heart. Nakai’s story is one of those.

The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is more than a friend to HOWLColorado.org, it is the inspiration. Without Darlene Kobobel, her animals and the works she does, I would never have started this site.

It is home to several canids. Most are wolves, but there are a few coyotes, endangered swift foxes and the more traditional red fox.

Accidental pregnancies are, by their very nature, unplanned and unexpected. Koda, a very young 8-month-old female, defied the odds and mated with Kekoa. One reason it was considered unlikely that a mating would occur is because it simply wasn’t a good idea. The young age of Koda meant she was not ready for puppies – neither emotionally or physically. The wolves growing inside her needed significant nutrition to develop, and Koda – due to her age – needed that nutrience as well.

Nakai today - October 25th, 2009

Nakai today - October 25th, 2009


Nakai and Tala enter the world

Two of Koda’s pups survived, but both were victims of Koda’s youth. Tala, the female, was less impacted than her brother.

Nakai was born with a severe case of metabolic bone disease. The lack of calcium available during gestation meant that both Nakai and Tala were born with reduced bone density. For Nakai this meant a painful, and very challenging early life. A life which could have been cut short.

Nakai’s bones could break with next to no pressure. The bone density was so low that even picking him up caused bones to fracture. Nakai suffered three fractured bones, and at  seven weeks could not walk and was losing his fur,  he spent the early part of his life dragging himself around with his chin.

A fateful decision

Tala recovered quickly. On a personal note, Tala may be my favorite wolf. Playful and sweet, she draws you in – and then attempts to remove some item of clothing. Shoes, and the laces, are unreasonably attractive to her.

Nakai’s condition put Darlene in the devastating position of having to make a decision. One which many pet owners have faced in their time. Was it time to let Nakai go? An orthopedic specialist believed it was.

Initially, the answer was a tearful “yes.” But at the last minute, something made Darlene change her mind. Perhaps the look in Nakai’s eyes. Just a feeling that he wasn’t ready to give up. Only Darlene knows, and even she may not be entirely sure.

So, a battle ensued. A battle to overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Some research suggested that metabolic bone disease could be outgrown. The problem was getting Nakai through the initial months – long enough for his body to recover.

Expensive medications, dedicated perseverance and the knowledge that Nakai hadn’t given up pushed everyone forward. The initial improvements were small. From using his chin for mobility, to limited use of his legs, one of which was badly deformed from a severe break, Darlene, CWWC, and those watching Nakai’s progress from afar celebrated small victories.

Winning the war

Month to month, X-rays showed improvement. From 70% bone density, to 90%, the vet exams showed Nakai was improving at a stunning pace. After about six months, Darlene and the CWWC received the news they had been waiting for. Nakai had recovered to 100% bone density.

As is the case in many wars, the participants carried wounds away from the battle.

Nakai may have beaten the odds, and his body recovered in ways which no one predicted, but the break in his front leg was significant – and it fused back together at a 90 degree angle. And emotionally, it appears to have taken its toll. He is shy and skittish these days. A little omega, if you will. Understandable, and hopefully something which time will address as he gains equal footing with his companions. 

What’s next?

Nakai: Miracle Wolf

Nakai: Miracle Wolf

In short. Surgery. After a little more maturing, the vets will break and reset the bone in Nakai’s leg. Still a little ways into Nakai’s future, but Darlene and the CWWC are already financially planning for this next step.

Hopefully with a successful acclimation to fully functional, and straight, limbs, Nakai’s future is bright and his incredible personality will continue to inspire those around him.

Can you help?

The costs are significant. To raise funds for Nakai’s specialized care, CWWC sells a photo of him when he is just a tiny puppy. You can see the image to the right.

At this point, there is no way to buy this photo online – it is only available at the center.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Copyright © HOWL Colorado. All rights reserved.
info@howlcolorado.org