Earlier this winter, we had some concerns that Denali maybe showing some signs of aging with weakness in his hips.  Staff began to focus on doing some daily massage work and try diligently to make sure he gets his morning nutritional supplements.  At the Center, all wolves over the age of six years receive some joint supplements to aid with aging conditions.  Denali also has a small lump on his foreleg similar to Aidan’s growth, so we are actively treating Denali with antihistamines to keep this mass cell growth in check.  Despite Denali’s size and ability to possess just about any food that is in the enclosure, he is crafty when it comes to delivery of medication and doesn’t care to possess a meatball that smells like a pill.  He will drop, shake, nibble or lick around the pill, often consuming everything but the pill.  Staff have ingenious methods of delivery that involve chicken skins, butter, bonedust, dried venison cakes and even cream cheese to make sure he gets the resources we think he needs (even though he clearly doesn’t agree that he needs them).  Even though it’s a challenge, staff keep trying.   He does seem to be managing quite well and the frequent chases around the enclosure tell us that he is not ready for retirement just yet.  Even on our record cold of -79 below windchill in January, Denali and the Exhibit Pack showed no sign of slowing down.  We are over the winter hump and as days get longer, we will likely see dominance start to decrease.  If Denali can stay strong into the spring, he is likely going to be an Exhibit Pack member throughout the summer, delaying retirement to next fall or beyond.