'Wolfie' leaves his mark on Silverton

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SILVERTON, Colo. -- Colorado’s small towns are very welcoming. Especially when new residents decide to call them "home." In the far southwest corner of Colorado in the town of Silverton, one resident learned just how kind a community can be.

About 10 years ago, a wolf-hybrid pup roamed into town. As the story goes, three wolf-hybrid pups were tossed on a mountain pass near Silverton. Two of them died and one survived. The survivor’s name is "Wolfie."

At first, residents in Silverton were nervous.

“Someone spotted it with something in its mouth. They thought, 'oh my gosh it’s a cat,' but it turned out to be a stuffed animal,” said Mark Esper, editor of the Silverton Standard Newspaper.

But then there was acceptance.

“It did some damage to a lawn but volunteers got out there and fixed it up,” Esper added.

Even the sheriff says animal control rules don’t apply to "Wolfie."

“He’s kind of an anomaly and free of the rules you can say,” San Juan County Sheriff Bruce Conrad said.

Though many in the town like him, few can get near him. You see, "Wolfie" is pretty shy.

"Wolfie" makes an exception for a few people, including Melody Skinner. The two have bonded over the years.

“Throughout my years of having had cancer … I’m 13 years out now ... he’s been a huge part of me being well. Encouraging me to walk every day,” Skinner said.

But now as his health declines, Melody is the one encouraging "Wolfie" to move around.

“It just means we’re hanging on to the best we can and living the best we can,” Skinner said.

No one’s quite sure how old "Wolfie" is now. Town folk believe he’s around 14.

Nonetheless, he’s leaving an important print on Silverton.