Let’s start with the question: Why wolves?
I’ve always loved dogs, the result of man domesticating the first wolves and then “re-engineering” them to his liking—to all sizes and shapes.
We have a dog, a lovely hound who seems to be part coon and part beagle and who is as far from the stereotypical “wolf” as a dog can be. Her name is Beauty.
She’s calm, except during thunderstorms and then she cowers under Morgan’s desk. She has a great nose but doesn’t like the “kill” part of the hunt—probably why her previous owner was going to euthanize her after her first and last litter of pups. She enjoys being around our household’s three cats and would rather nap than growl. In fact growling occurs rarely, barking almost never.
The great predator wolf, Beauty is not. But I see her ancestor in her eyes. And sometimes when she rests her head in my lap, I can almost feel the wildness of her distant past.
Maybe that’s why I love wolves—the wildness. Women and wolves, Little Red Riding Hood notwithstanding.
Women and wolves.
Both misunderstood by man.
Both with a certain wildness.
Both thought to be magical and cunning.
Both needing to be contained and controlled.
Wolves have been hunted out of existence in some countries. And in those countries either their natural prey overrun the land, killing trees and vegetation or a new predator moves in, sometimes a more deadly predator.
Wolves differ from the domestic dog in their shape and size. When compared to a dog of about the same stature, like a German Shepherd, the wolf’s head is larger and his chest narrower. The wolf’s legs are longer than the dog’s, the paws are bigger and the tail is straighter.
Both wolves and dogs are pack animals with expressive behavior. Wolves usually live in a nuclear family consisting of a mated pair and their adult offspring. Some males may go off on their own to establish their own pack. And within the pack is a “pecking order” of hierarchy that can be seen through the interaction of members.
Wolves that are not rabid rarely attack man; however, the wolf attacks that have occurred throughout history have contributed to the folklore and legend.
To learn more about these beautiful, necessary and misunderstood animals, consider visiting a local wolf preserve.
The two near me in Pennsylvania are:
www.lakotawolf.com and www.wolfsanctuarypa.org
I’ve been to both and recommend them highly.