Wolves possess a well-known reputation for their aggressive and fierce nature, instilling fear in many individuals, including myself, at the mere thought of encountering one face to face.
At the onset of this story, we meet Danielle, accompanied by a magnificent grey wolf named Kekoa. Interestingly, Kekoa, a name derived from Hawaiian meaning “brave one,” defies the conventional perception associated with wolves.
Although Kekoa still commands a certain level of respect, she exhibits a profound admiration for humans, particularly for Danielle. This exceptional bond between them has flourished at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, an animal sanctuary nestled near Colorado Springs. Kekoa, like the other inhabitants of the sanctuary, calls it home due to their inability to survive in the wild.
Danielle, a dedicated staff member, has forged an extraordinary friendship with this majestic wolf. Witnessing Kekoa and Danielle playing together for the first time left me in awe. It was a truly enchanting and surreal spectacle, especially considering the stark contrast in size between Kekoa and Danielle.
Despite Kekoa’s imposing and noble appearance, she is, in reality, a gentle giant. In fact, she weighs a staggering 115 pounds and towers at around 7 feet tall when she playfully rests her front paws on someone’s shoulders. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, another wolf named Sakura comes along, seeking cuddles and companionship.
During an interview with The Dodo, Michelle Smith, a dedicated member of the wildlife center, shed light on Kekoa’s unique disposition: “Having been raised by humans and nurtured since birth, Kekoa has developed exceptional social skills, relishing human company. However, it is crucial to note that her sociability does not equate to domestication or tameness. Kekoa remains a ‘wild’ animal, and this becomes evident when she interacts with her fellow wolf. Such behavior would not be seen in a wolf thriving in its natural habitat.”