HOWL Colorado

Wolves give Massachusetts students howling good time

Taylor Smith learned more about wolves from an unexpected nuzzle and lick than she could from any book or TV show.

The lesson came one recent afternoon as the eighth-grader came face to face with Magpie, a friendly 10-year-old wolf working the crowd in Fall River’s Kuss Middle School gymnasium.

“It was really exciting,” Smith said moments later, a smile still fixed on her face. “I just felt really happy. I have a dog at home but I’ve never experienced anything like this. Her yellow eyes look right into you. I felt a connection. She was really furry and soft, too.”

Magpie and two of her friends, Zeab and Abraham, roamed the gym for about an hour under the watchful eye of Kent Weber and wife Tracy Brooks, co-founders of Mission: Wolf, a Colorado-based sanctuary for wolves and wolf-dog crosses that were born in cages and once held in captivity.

Weber travels the country to educate the public and correct misconceptions about the creatures through direct contact. He and the wolves get around in a hard-to-miss bus; a giant picture of Magpie decorates the rear.

Excited students sat in a circle on the gym floor as Weber prepared them to meet the wolves, emphasizing that if they stayed calm, the creatures would follow suit. He told them wolves are to be revered instead of feared and answered their questions about diet, habitat and personalities…

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