In this week’s image, you will see Lakota’s incision, with stitches still visible. She has had a great recovery, with no weeping of the surgery site, no scratching of the stitches and very little post-surgical swelling. She is as active as ever and both she and MacKenzie have great appetites as the fall weather settles in. The stitches are dissolvable, so they will likely start to dissolve after 10 – 12 days.

Lakota is doing extremely well, she has had no complications from the surgery, and she has not shown any interest in scratching at the stitches as they dissolve and the wound heals. Her coat is glossy and she has been developing a good layer of undercoat. Her behavior is as active as ever and she is coming in to the winter in good condition. I’m not sure if I wrote this before, but Lakota’s body weight at the time of her surgery was 92 lbs, this is the same weight as a 2001 immobilization.

Lakota is doing great since the surgery. Her incision healed without any problems, and her attitude has been tremendous. She’s growing a full winter coat, and has been eating well to store some reserves for the winter. When we fed the venison roast on Thursday, she spent some time caching a few pieces in the straw denbox, but eventually consumed her fair share.

Written by Workin' For Wolves participants Pam Dolajeck and Lori Rhodes: The weather for the Workin' for Wolves weekend was perfect. All the wolves were very relaxed with the participants presence. Work in the retirement area consisted of removing dead trees and reinforcing the excavated area that Lakota had dug out with birch logs. The excavated area measured roughly 8' deep by 8' wide-all dug out by a 14 year old wolf! Lakota checked out the newly reinforced area and seemed quite satisfied with the work that had been done.

Lakota is not found in her retirement enclosure very much these days, except to sleep. She frequently travels to the pup enclosure (when the pups are not being fed), to the wolf yard to visit the exhibit pack through the main fence, and into the wolf lab. We thought we would stop posting videos of her taking things from the lab, but, here she is again. Her retired pack is getting very overgrown because she isn't spending much time inside.

While the pup introduction was a major event, we must remember that Lakota had a special day as well. With the pups integrated into the pack, Lakota now has free range of the pack holding are at all times, except when the pack is held for projects or feeding programs. Also, with the wolf lab being restricted to wolf care staff and authorized volunteers, she can come and go in the wolf yard anytime during the day. She has her routine, coming out when wolf care staff arrive in the morning, then making a few visits during the mid-day. She spends the heat of the day in the Retired Enclosure staying cool, sometimes in her dug den hole. Then, as the evening progresses, she's back to the wolf yard to spend a quiet evening with the staff and get her evening meal (hand fed now, and it better be unique)… Then, she decides when she goes to bed, usually at 9 or 10 pm. At night, the gates are closed to the wolf yard, and she is safely locked in the Retired Enclosure until the morning.

As I write these logs, Lakota is in and out of the lab, and just walked out with a big bag of pup squeak toys… Of course, wolf care staff go after her to retrieve the bag, which we have decided is probably part of her motivation for taking things. She willingly drops most things she takes, with the exception of good food and the occasional water bottle that she caches. When wolf care staff comes to get what she’s taken, she stops and lays down, expecting a scratch and if she’s lucky a good body massage. This behavior goes on day after day, and is the routine of the day.

Lakota is doing well with her enclosure improvement projects. We are ready to pour the pond concrete and the new densite pad. She will be getting an insulated den and while the pond would be too cold to fill this fall, it will be ready for next summer's heat. The enclosure size will also be expanded, 20 new trees will be planted and a sound barrier will be built to reduce the noise from the highway. She did avoid her existing den box when it was initially moved, but now she is using it again. We hope the new den is up soon to help her deal with cold mornings. She is eating about 4 lbs of meat every night, and her winter coat is developing nicely.

Written by assistant wolf curator, Donna Prichard:<br>This past weekend, the Workin’ For Wolves program was dedicated to making huge improvements in Lakota’s enclosure. Lori, the wolf curator, and Donna, the assistant curator, must first send out a HUGE thank you to those participants. This was the most work ever in a Workin’ For Wolves weekend! We couldn’t have done it without you! Life for Lakota is going very well; she has gained back her confidence and is eating regularly, though she was not happy about having to stay in the pup pen for two days while the work was being done in her enclosure. However, this morning, she was able to go into her new enclosure. In short, the retired enclosure was almost doubled in size, giving her much more space to explore and dig her infamous dens, a “Virtual Rock was placed in her enclosure to serve as a den, which is housed on top of an insulated platform built by two of our participants, groundwire was installed along the expanded fenceline, old brush/downed wood was removed to make maneuvering for her easier, five new trees were planted, and rocks were placed around the new pond. Lakota spent much time exploring the improvements and seemed to approve. With the expansion of the retired enclosure, access to the pup pen, and access to the wolf yard, she will have ample opportunity to be mobile and investigate all the areas.

Lakota continues to enjoy free time, but there is nothing as special as when the Nannies are locked in the puppy pen and she has free reign of the lab. She willingly comes in and spends time with staff as they work at the computers. She has even tried to claim a few souveniers of her visit, but taking a mouse pad and Staff member's, Joyce's wallet.