Arrived at Mission: Wolf on July 20, 2009
Lived with Aria
Lil’ Hailey Star was a black phase female Gray wolf that was born in the spring of 2009 at Bear Country, a wildlife safari park in South Dakota. She came to Mission: Wolf as part of a group of eight puppies: three litter mates and four Arctic wolf pups that grew up together in the same enclosure. Due to the failing economy, the park had been unable to sell the two litters and contacted Mission: Wolf to take the pups. A volunteer drove many miles for the transport, and at nearly four months of age, the pups arrived at Mission: Wolf in a horse trailer.
Our lead Ambassador Magpie was just coming out of a false pregnancy and had no idea that she was to be a surrogate mom for eight big pups. She and her partner Abe eagerly took them in, and just as the pups started to settle into life, Lil’ Hailey was discovered hiding in the den with a serious wound on her back. She was the smallest of the eight, and also had a slight deformity on one of her front legs. This caused the other pups to feel that she was a threat to their survival and so they ganged up and severely injured her. Hailey Adams, a Mission: Wolf staff member, volunteered to crawl 15 feet into the den headfirst and hold onto the injured puppy while we pulled her out backwards by a rope tied around her legs. It worked, and we named the recovered pup Hailey in honor of her rescuer.
Just as Hailey was healing, tragedy struck and the other pups became very ill. Two died before our eyes and a third on her way to the vet. A fourth pup, Aria, was in the worst shape of the remaining five and had gone into a coma. Staff worked tirelessly to help Aria and managed to get him to pull through. He and Hailey were placed together in the vet building so that they could both recover.
When Aria arrived, Lil’ Hailey was very excited. The two looked at each other in relief and shared their own home until they were both strong enough to be placed with a pack. One of our elder wolves, Raven, was in need of pack mates, so we introduced her to both Lil’ Hailey and Aria. Although Aria fell in love with Raven, Hailey was not as excited. The three lived happily together for a few years until Hailey started showing signs of wanting to lead her own pack. After trying unsuccessfully to pair Hailey with several different males, we finally gave her and Aria their own enclosure. The two were regularly seen sleeping side by side and chasing each other across their rocky home.
Hailey passed away in the fall of 2020 after a year of battling a very progressive form of cancer. She was only given six months to live, but with steroid treatment she regained much of her mobility and lived happily for another full year. She will be dearly missed by Aria and all the staff and visitors who had a chance to see her nestled in between the rocks on her hillside.