Madadh 16.4.99 – 30.10.17

“So dawn goes down today, nothing gold can stay”
Luke Smith, one of our long term volunteers, quoted this from a beautiful poem by Robert Frost.
It speaks volumes about the cycles of nature, but also reflects on loss and that nothing, especially the best, can last forever.
It’s hugely appropriate in describing the reality of losing Madadh.
Along with her brother Kgosi, Madadh arrived at Wolf Watch almost 19 years ago at the tender age of 8 days.
They were small bundles of fur mainly solid black in colour just a hint of brown around their heads.
When not asleep, their only purpose in life was to suck milk formula from a tiny bottle with a ferocity that gave meaning to the word ‘survival.’
Their eyes had not yet opened, so, for better or worse, some 4 days later I featured prominently in their first glimpse of the outside world.
Small milky blue eyes showed little recognition or focus, but the search for milk was relentless and eased quietly to a standstill only after capacity was reached and a swollen undercarriage radiated contentment and the passage into sleep was complete.
I doubt that any prediction of how Madadh and her brother was to affect my life in the years to follow could have contained a great deal of accuracy.
On reflection, it could be summed up in a few words:
‘Nothing else could have delivered the depth of pleasure that the sum of experiences of being around them gave to me.’
‘It’s been a privilege to have shared in their lives.’
Madadh was an exceptional Wolf. Whilst always her own Boss, she was also the most socialised example of her species that I have ever met or heard of.
She loved meeting people. The mutual excitement of Wolf and Human at the point of greeting, was mirrored in their faces and as I write this
the volume of messages and expressions of sadness at her passing, indicates the depth of feeling and the extent to which she touched so many people’s lives.
I, along with so many others, will miss her greatly.
Thank You for all you support, without which Wolf Watch would not exist.

36 thoughts on “Madadh 16.4.99 – 30.10.17”

  1. She was such a gentle and loving girl and I’m sure that anyone who met her would agree.

  2. I agree with you Joanne.
    I met Maddie for the first time in February this year. I thought my heart would burst with excitement and awe when I got the opportunity to touch and feed her and Kgosi . I couldn’t wait to get back to Wolf Watch. Sadly that was the last time I would see Kgosi, but he left his paw print in my heart. So lucky to then spend some precious moments with dear Maddie in July when we stayed in the cottage and attended another wolf tour. I felt such a sense of peace, I don’t think I’ve felt anywhere else. i felt like I belonged. I named Wolf Watch, ‘My Happy Place’. When my everyday hectic work life gets me down I close my eyes and remember the special moments spent with Maddie and Kgosi. Moments that will live with me forever. I will miss them so much, but thank Tony for allowing me the privileged opportunity to spend time with the pack. A credit to all your love and care.
    Run free precious lady, and watch over the rest of the pack. Forever in my heart.

  3. Hello Tony,
    This is one of the most moving pieces of writing I have ever read.
    I am so sorry for you all. Meeting Maddie was quite simply one of the most joyous and thrilling experiences of my life. Friends have commented on how happy I looked in the photos Tony kindly took of me in September. Every day I have feared this moment and have checked on the site to see if Maddie was still with us all. In a way she died for me when I said goodbye to her, knowing I would never see her again.
    I cried for several days once home from my holidays, for my personal loss of this most beautiful, long-suffering, gentle wolf.
    She could not of had a better quality of life, and her longevity must be reflected in the extraordinary care, commitment and empathy that you, Tony, gave her in this magnificent natural environment.
    Her loss will leave a huge void in your work and the grief you must feel must be inconsolable at times. However I hope you can celebrate this life which must echo the amazing positive ways you have facilitated Maddie’s existence in the extreme and offered her so much sensuous pleasure. She must have given endless happiness to thousands who, in a minority, were privileged enough to feed and fondle a pure bred, socialised wolf.
    I am creating a photo book of the past two years and there is a section dedicated to the work of Wolf Watch. I shall treasure these photos and memories for ever.
    I send my deepest sympathy to all at Wolf Watch UK and hope there will be no more
    losses for a very long time.
    2017 has been a sad year for you, but I hope the wonderful, enriching memories of the last 18 years, which must touch all the senses, will in some way compensate for the pain, enabling you to move on from the negative aspects of bereavement.
    Thinking of you every day.
    Love, Sally Bodecott

    1. Hi Sally, I think Madadh would have blushed at those lovely words. – Thank you!
      As you said, she has left a great deal to celebrate. The unbelievable response to this event has served not to reflect on sadness, but as an encouragement to carry on. (If only because I don’t wish to do anything else.)
      I hope we will meet up again one day. Tony. x

  4. Tony, you’ve formed such a beautiful picture in my mind with your words. Taking us back with you to those earliest of days, I see now a life compete.

    Along with her brother Kgosi, you gave Madadh the gift of a protected, ever loving home, and in return she gave imeasurable and unforgettable gifts to everyone that came to know her. It’s painful and difficult to say goodbye to such a remarkable soul, but each one of us have carried away a little of her magic in our hearts. Yours is without doubt the greatest sorrow, but with you remains always her greatest gift.

    Wolf Watch is priceless, in many ways as much a sanctuary for people as it is for wolves. I will continue to support you in whatever way I can. My love to both you and Eva. See you again in 2018.

    1. Hi Sheryl,
      Thank you for those kind words. It feels as though there is a big gap left here at the moment. I wish Madadh could read some of the lovely comments that people have sent in since she left us. There are many memories so she will not be forgotten. Thank you again, your support is appreciated. Tony x

  5. I met Madadh in June this year and still have in my mind a picture of Maddie by the gate of her enclosure, waiting to welcome us into her domain. She let us all in then came and spoke to each of us accepting our gifts of kibble and allowing us to stroke her. She showed us that despite all the myths and legends wolves can be gentle peace -loving creatures.
    We have a lot to learn from them. Bless you Maddie.

  6. Hi Tony, my heart truly aches for you all at Wolf Watch but most especially for you.
    When you have had the extreme privilege of socializing Wolves there is a bond that mere words can not express and I know their loss must be indescribably painful for you.
    Maddie and Kgosi were wonderful ambassadors for their species and I am so grateful I got to meet them. They were truly blessed to have spent their lives with you at Wolf Watch and I will never forget how their eyes used to light up when the knew you were on the way to see them, it was a true testament of the care they received and how they felt about you.
    My Very Best Wishes To You All
    Caroline x

    1. Hi Caroline,
      Listening to your recent talk at Paradise Park, that was full of enthusiasm and inspiration, demonstrated that the way forward following a loss, is to take a deep breath of fresh air, examine what you have been doing in life and if still measures up to your original intentions – carry on doing it!
      I remain grateful for your help and also your kind words. Tony x.

  7. I met Maddie years ago and had thought her long dead. Then I purely by chance happened up the youtube video of her, looking fantastic and it was dated 2017, I wanted immeduately to see her again … then when I got here it was to find out I had just missed her. When I met her and experienced eye contact with those amazing gems, I stroked her chest and she leaned forward and touched my lips with her tongue, I felt so privileged.

  8. I write this with a deep sadness but also with the thoughts of how much happiness Maddy bought into the lives of so many. What a wonderful, beautiful girl she was. You do a wonderful job Tony and our hearts go out to you. The very moment that Madadh allowed us to be in her presence, we were completely in love with her.
    When she looked into our eyes we felt her soul reaching out to ours. We will never forget her or our experiences in feeding her with sardines and gravy bones.
    We try to be thankful for the time we had but sometimes its so damn hard.
    Sending our love to all at Wolfwatch
    Kathy and Andrea xx

    1. Hi Kathy and Andrea,
      Thanks for those lovely words. The response from people like yourselves has been incredible. We have received over one thousand messages all endorsing similar feelings to yourselves.
      Thank you again. Tony xx

  9. We had the privilege to meet Madadh, my adopted wolf, whilst staying at the cottage in September. It was a truly magical experience although we realised she was nearing the end of a wonderful life made possible by the dedication of Tony, Eva and the Wolfwatch volunteers. The bond between Tony and Madadh was a joy to behold and meeting her was something we’ll never forget. Like her brother, Kgosi, she was a wonderful ambassador for her species and we know her passing will be a great sadness to Tony but it is also a great success story which I’m sure will be repeated with the love and respect given by Wolfwatch to the remaining wolves in this very special place. Best of luck for your future projects and keep up the great work.
    Debbie & Duncan xx

  10. The loss of Madadh is so so sad I was going to make my first visit to see her this month, not sure what happens now, please let me know, please except my sincere condolences

    1. Hi Katrina, Thank you for yours. Please come along as normal and enjoy the day. In the meantime Helen should contact you with a transfer adoption to a different Wolf.
      Thank you for your continued support. Tony.

  11. So sorry Tony to learn the sad news. It’s 10 years since my husband and I visited WWUK and met Madadh and her companions. Sadly we have not been able to visit again but we will always remember that magical experience. For me to have a close encounter with such a majestic and beautiful creature was such a privilege. I have sponsored Kgosi for many years and sadly he too passed away earlier this year. I hope that he and Madadh are enjoying running free in pastures new. Today I have made a small donation in memory of Madadh and when the time comes I will renew my adoption although it will be difficult to choose a replacement for Kgosi.
    Hope to visit again soon and meet Sansa and Rickon. Love to you Tony and all who do such sterling work at Wolf Watch. I will continue to support you as long as I can.
    Anne x

    1. Hi Anne, Thank you for those lovely words and the kind thoughts that go with them. I can say with certainty that Neither Kgosi or Madadh will be forgotten by me and having received over 1,200 responses from those who have met them both over the years, they will live on in the memory of many others as well.
      Your support is much appreciated and we look forward to your next visit. Tony x

  12. Hello Tony, Both Carole and myself are so sorry to hear that Madadh had passed on There will never be another Madadh, we treasure the memories of being with her also the many photographs we have of her, especially the ones that you took of myself sat with my arms around her. She had a wonderful gentle nature and I never felt that I was with a wild animal, we will always remember her and Kgosi.
    It is a credit to you of all the care and devotion that you have put in over the years.
    Our best regards, Carole and Bryan Deem.

    1. Thank You Carol and Brian,
      Madadh and Kgosi were quite unique.
      There are many happy memories, I’m pleased you were able to share them.
      Best wishes,

  13. I am in floods of tears reading through all of these dedications to Tony for doing such a wonderful job which I agree most wholeheartedly.
    I also am thankful that I had the pleasure and privilege to meet Madadh and Kgosi, May they both run together forever xx ❤️

  14. Spirits live on so they say and I truly believe it One day you will be reunited with her and her brother as you really are part of the pack Tony. My husband and I loved our experience with you all back in September and we’ll cherish the memories forever Wolf Watch is a wonderful place and hopefully we’ll visit again one day. Hugs for all. Claire x

    1. Hi Clare, that’s a lovely thought to cling onto.
      Thank you and i look forward to seeing you again.

  15. Omnia vincit amor
    Thank you Maddhi for your kindness and you Toni for the passion you share with us. It is very sad news but we always know they still living in our heart .
    Thinking of you……All our love
    Samira and Leo
    We visited in June 2017

      1. Hi Tony
        Do you remember I’m the one who gave you the green stone with the engraved wolf
        Take care
        Samira&Leo (the bikers from London)

  16. Tony, I am so very sorry to read of your huge loss and wanted you to know that I am sending white light for you and the beautiful Madadh. I was looking forward to meeting Madadh so much when I visited. Now that is not to be, as her time had come. Both you and she were so fortunate to have had all those years together.
    Madhadh, may your spirit soar.

  17. Words cannot explain the sadness you must be feeling at the loss of your beautiful girl Madadh. I had the great honour of meeting Madadh and Kgosi earlier this year and the experience will stay with me forever, walking and hand feeding them was truly amazing and something I can’t help telling everybody about. I have some wonderful photos and memories of my stay with you and my time spent with them. They were so very lucky Tony to have you give them such a fantastic life to roam free in the beautiful valley, to be loved, cherished and respected for the amazing animals they were. Together now and looking down on you and the rest of your beautiful wolves knowing they too are in safe hands and will have a lifetime of love and devotion just as they both had.
    Thinking of you all at Wolfwatch and sending my sincere condolences.
    Kind regards

  18. Thank you Joan.
    Glad you had the opportunity to have shared her company.
    Best wishes, Tony,

  19. We have just heard about Madadh. I am so sad, after just 1 visit; I cannot even begin to imagine how much you are missing her Tony.
    We visited last October, in the last month of her wonderfully long life. We have long believed that wolves were special, but it took a visit to Wolfwatch for us to realise just how special.
    Maddie was truely gentle, affectionate and healing. She made such a fuss of us, and gave me a kiss, which was amazing, and then, she cheekily put her snout in my coat pocket and took out a chocolate bar wrapper. It was only later, watching a video, that I realised that I had taken a wrapper from the mouth of a wolf. Not for a second had she given me the slightest idea that it was not a very bright thing to do – she was that gently and trusting.
    We were all affected by our few days visit. The valley was beautiful and tranquil; it was wonderful to meet the pack, especially Madadh, Callow and Anja; the evening and morning howling was indescribably beautiful and last but not least, the love between Tony and the rest of his pack was a joy to experience.

    Farewell Maddie,
    So sad that we won’t see you in your lovely valley again, and that you won’t bring your special magic to anyone else,
    So happy that you can play with Khosi and run like the wind again, without feeling any pain.

    We will remember you,
    Sue, Paul and Mandy xxx

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