The Lockwood Animal Rescue Center gives rescued wolves and veterans the chance to find a place in their respective packs by learning to trust each other.
Nestled on all sides by the Los Padres National Forest only 70 miles from the Westside of Los Angeles, the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) offers permanent sanctuary to wolves, wolf-dogs and other animals in need. The brainchild of Dr. Lorin Lindner, whose story and photo appeared (with a cockatoo) in the debut issue of Singular magazine, LARC currently has 16 wolves and wolf-dogs, three coyotes, four horses, 18 parrots, peacocks and ducks; five dogs and thousands of koi fish — all rescued.
Lindner launched LARC five years ago with her partner Matthew Simmons. They met at Linder’s first sanctuary, Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary located on the grounds of the Veteran’s Administration in West Los Angeles, where 68 rescued parrots, cockatoos and macaws will live out their long lives in peace under the care of veterans who are overcoming issues like post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. Caring for the parrots, which were once pets that their owners could no longer care for, helps the veterans gain confidence and the new job skills they need to secure full-time employment and a permanent place in the community.
Similar to the animal-aided program at Serenity Park, LARC has launched its Warriors and Wolves program that pairs returning combat veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere with wolves rescued from abusive and exploitive situations like roadside shows and ill-equipped zoos.
Very often, humans are the only “pack” these wolves have ever experienced. Helping them integrate into their larger society — an actual wolf pack — is similar to the transition required by veterans who have difficulty reintegrating into society after being in combat. Both wolf and man have experienced traumatic events that require the rebuilding of trust in relationships and that’s a big part of what will ultimately enable them to integrate into their respective societies.
LARC’s 20 plus acres accommodates another insidious and growing problem – wolf-dogs, also known as wolf hybrids. Many people buy these animals thinking they’ll make a cool pet but once they become juveniles (in dog-wolf years about 6 months) they can become quite unruly, digging out of backyards and easily clearing 8-foot fences. At LARC, enclosures are one to two acres with fencing that is 12-feet tall and “dig guards” that extend five-feet into the ground, making the enclosures a safe home for wolves and wolf-dogs (often indistinguishable from wolves to the casual observer) that cannot be returned to a natural habitat or live in a typical human home.
LARC is preparing for their biggest rescue yet, 30 wolves and wolf-dogs out of Alaska in December 2011. These animals have spent their entire lives on chains as part of a roadside attraction outside of Anchorage. The state filed criminal charges against the owner of Wolf Country USA for failure to register wolves and wolf-dogs after they became illegal to keep in Alaska and planned to have them euthanized. When LARC heard about the wolves, they went to Alaska in early November to save them. The animals were signed over to Lindner and Simmons, and will be transported to LARC in a cargo plane once they’ve been spayed and neutered.
Each one of these wolves will need to have a sponsor through Lockwood’s “adopt a wolf” program. Besides helping the wolf, sponsors receive an annual holiday calendar, photos of their wolf and special visits for the sponsors and their friends.
LARC holds Volunteer Days on the third Saturday of every month and welcomes people with everything from construction skills to cooking expertise (to feed the volunteers). Since it’s a new organization, LARC needs help with website design, graphics and grant writing. Donations are always helpful too (LARC is a 5013C tax-exempt IRS-recognized nonprofit animal charity).
LARC also brings wolf ambassadors to schools, agencies, and other special events and teaches about wolf family life, the threat to wild wolves, and the importance of wolf preservation. School trips to LARC include wolf education tours and talks (Lindner was originally an animal behaviorist before switching to humans).
SingularCity is going on a “Howl-In” at the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) on Saturday, January 21. Located about an hour from Los Angeles, in the Los Padres National Forest, we’ll walk with the wolves, take photos with them, pitch in and help a bit while learning about this amazing species of animal that has captured the imagination of writers, moviemakers and poets.
We will meet up (to carpool) at the West Los Angeles VA Campus in the parking lot of the Wadsworth Theater at 10 am and will return there by 4 pm. Bring a bag lunch and beverage to enjoy at Lockwood. And of course, don’t forget to bring your camera!
Supervised children are welcome to attend.
Please RSVP on the SingularCity Community Event Page or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would prefer to meet us there, contact email@example.com for directions.