Wolves make great coffee dates


By Sarah Brookbank

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It’s not every day students can visit their local coffee shop and enjoy an Americano while interacting with wolves.

Jericho and Nayeli, siblings rescued from a wolf breeder in Indiana, are one year and eight months old, and visited Coffea on Saturday for a presentation on Wolf Run, a non-profit dedicated to rehabilitating wolves.

Wolf Run has helped wolves in Nicholasville for 32 years. President Mary Kindred said Wolf Run snowballed its way into existence. When Wolf Run opened, Kindred had been accepted into veterinary school, but couldn’t leave the animals.

“My career started without me even realizing it,” Kindred said.

Kindred described the staff as a family. One of those staff members is Savannah Massey, who has been with Wolf Run for almost 10 years.

Massey is the head of animal care and the educational director at Wolf Run, and jokingly refers to Jericho as her son.

“We provide lifelong sanctuary to animals that don’t have anywhere else to go,” Massey said. “These animals can’t be released back into the wild, they can’t go into zoos, they can’t go into homes.”

Massey said Wolf Run works to release animals, but sometimes it is impossible. Wolves are no longer native to Kentucky, and therefore cannot be released.

The wolves come to them through a variety of causes, but Kindred said it is often due to people wanting exotic animals as pets. Jericho and Nayeli have been with Wolf Run since they were three months old.

“It never works, It can’t work,” Kindred said.

Massey said people who try to own exotic animals do not understand the danger or differences in behavior between wild and domesticated animals, and don’t have the resources to take care of them.

As ambassadors, Jericho and Nayeli go out to town a few times a week, but they spend most of their time with their pack. Massey said they have more than over 20 wolves and if asked, that she could probably name them all.

While at Coffea, Jericho and Nayeli were docile despite the crowd of students and visitors. Both wolves are ambassadors and received extensive socialization training.

“Nayeli loves people, she absolutely loves everyone she meets. She loves hiking and has her own Instagram page,” Nayeli’s trainer Kara Baird said.

Baird said part of the reason the wolves were so comfortable at the shop was the tile floor because it was cool for them to lie on. They also spend a lot of their times with people at Wolf Run and the trainers bond with the wolves just as much as the wolves bond with them.

“I know their favorite foods ad we know who likes who and who doesn’t like who and who likes to play together,” Baird said. “We build really good relationships with all the animals and we learn their funny quirks.”