Down a dusty dirt road in western New Mexico lies the small community of Candy Kitchen, founded by a moonshiner in the Prohibition era and host to a variety of ranchers, artists, and plain old hermits. While Candy Kitchen today has a high proportion of interesting citizens, perhaps none are more fascinating than its non-human residents.
Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary was founded in 1991 by the artist Jacque Evans, who used the revenue from her art to build a home for abandoned wolves and wolfdogs. Over the years, it became an internationally recognized institution for the care of canids rescued from private ownership. In many cases, these animals cannot be released into the wild, as they are too accustomed to relying on humans. This is especially the case for wolfdogs, hybrids that have trouble in both the wild and with people.
In addition to wolves, Wild Spirit also hosts a small number of other canines, such as foxes, dingoes, and coyotes. They also have a pair of “singing dogs,” a rare, ancient breed native to the island of New Guinea and known for their unique vocalizations.
Guided tours are available, where a caregiver will introduce the animals, offer them treats, and provide information on each animal’s behavior and story. They also have a campground, far away from city lights and perfect for stargazing. There is perhaps no better opportunity to hear a wolf howling toward the moon.
Know Before You Go
Wild Spirit is open from 11 AM to 4 PM, Thursday through Sunday. The sanctuary is somewhat far away from food and gas services, so plan ahead.