Hug a Wolf (Safely)

At one Colorado rescue, visitors can get up close and personal with the king of canines.
hug a wolf

Photo: Canning

Getting a nuzzle from the king of canines is like getting an autograph from a celebrity, albeit a little sloppier: You’ve seen all his movies and gotten lost in those dreamy, intense eyes. Yes, it’s a little intimidating. After all, this is one of nature’s most perfect predators. Lucky for you, at Mission: Wolf you’re already on his good side and the wolves are eager to meet their fans.

When you visit the sanctuary, the (human) staff escorts you to enclosures where friendly ambassador wolves like to saunter up and say hi. These rescued wolves retain wild features that set them apart from domestic dogs, and they often weigh more than 100 pounds. But, like your pooch at home, they come right up to you expectantly, often leaning in to say hello.

Info Mission: Wolf is roughly 15 miles from Westcliffe, Colorado. Admission is free but call ahead and please give a modest donation: $20 (or $20 worth of frozen meat) is suggested, but we suggest a tip. The sanctuary is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Try to visit on Wednesdays or Saturdays, when the wolves are more outgoing (due to feeding schedule). Bonus: free camping.