The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage now has its first wolf pup. The 4-month-old female Tundra wolf, Deshka, arrived in mid July from a facility in Montana.

Sarah Howard, animal care supervisor at AWCC, said the Montana Center where Deshka was born was looking for homes for wolf pups. Howard said the Portage center was interested in a wolf pup that could be used as an education animal.

“The opportunity came knocking at our doorstep,” said Howard. ” We thought this would be really great for Alaskans. To get up close and personal with a wolf is a pretty awesome dream to have and we think it’s possible with her. We just have to work and get her there.”

Some of the “work” is being done by Howard’s own dog, an 18-month-old Malamute mix named Remy. Howard brings her dog to play with Deshka almost every day. She said Remy is teaching the young wolf pup to be more sociable in her new environment.

“Introducing Remy was a huge help because then, all of a sudden, she was a whole new wolf,” said Howard. “Just like with people, if you go into a dark creepy space it will be like, ‘If I have my best friend with me, it will be OK.'”

The pair play together and train together. So far Howard has taught Deshka to sit. She says the plan is to eventually train her on a lead so that she can leave the center and go into school classrooms. Howard says that may take a while but with help from Remy, she’s hopeful Deshka will succeed.