Saving the Sanctuary

Donors stepping up for Shy Wolf

The sanctuary is home to wolves, wolf dogs and many other animals.

Photo by Erik Kellar

The sanctuary is home to wolves, wolf dogs and many other animals.

Animal lovers who have been following the news about Shy Wolf Sanctuary’s need for more space are stepping up to contribute. Among them is Linda Baker, a seasonal resident of Naples, who donated $100,000 before returning to her New Jersey home for the summer months. Baker’s investment is being used to develop the site plan and architectural drawings which are available for preview.

Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Education & Experience Center is home to more than 50 rescued animals including wolves, wolf dogs, Florida panthers, foxes, coyotes, prairie dogs and tortoises. Donations, sponsorships and fundraising will bring them closer to relocating to their new 20-acre facility in Naples where they can continue to care for and feed the animals.

“We have a responsibility to care for these creatures that end up here, unable to survive in the wild,” said Baker, who volunteers at the sanctuary 2-3 days each week when she is in Naples. “Anything I can do for them — clean enclosures, change their water, brush them, check eyes and ears, prune greenery and look out for poison ivy — it is an enjoyable way to spend time. I especially like when the animals seem to trust you more and respond with affection.”

Baker previously worked with therapeutic horses until knee problems forced her to stop riding. “When I came to Naples looking for another charity related to saving animals, I toured Shy Wolf Sanctuary and was immediately hooked. The wolves are very much like us. They are very intelligent, form families, care for their young and grieve when one dies.”

The current location is actually the Golden Gate home of Shy Wolf Sanctuary founders Nancy and Kent Smith who have been caring for rescued wolves and other animals since 1993. The sanctuary runs entirely on donations and volunteers do all of the work, caring for the animals, cleaning cages, grooming the animals, identifying medical attention and addressing their needs.

Several anonymous donors have expressed their support for the new location. A “Fund a Foot” campaign through the website invites people to make a minimum $20 contribution toward the cost of a perimeter fence that must be built around the new site before construction can begin. A capital campaign called “Save Our Sanctuary” to raise funds for construction of animal habitats, an education center, gift shop, and veterinary medical facility is underway.

Shy Wolf Sanctuary also has other creative ways of raising money for the new location. On Aug. 24 Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education & Experience Center will present its first ever “Wolf It Down” eating contest at Hooters & Harley event.

Hooter’s will donate their hottest wings for the eating contest and it will be limited to the first 10 adults over the age of 18 to register. The winner will be determined by whoever eats the largest amount of hot wings in 10 minutes. Participants will pay a $10 donation to compete and there will be prizes for first, second and third place winners. There is no charge for spectators or guests.

For sponsorships or to sign up as an “eater,” contact Shy Wolf’s event manager, Lia Arnold at (239) 246-2835 or email Barry at To learn more about the sanctuary or to send a donation, visit or call (239) 455-1698.

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