Dogs as a species are estimated to be approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years old.
Critics argue that gene substitution speeds up, then slows down—making the estimates rough at best.
The first dogs were just tame wolves. Some researchers believe wolves were first attracted by the garbage produced by early human settlements. Those canines brave enough to approach humans got fed. Eventually, they no longer needed the strong jaws and sharp teeth of their feral counterparts. Their noses got smaller as well.
Dogs’ characteristics can change a lot in just a few generations. After this initial process of “self-domestication,” humans started breeding dogs to help with hunting, herding, standing guard, and carrying loads. Humans also deliberately bred dogs to be more affectionate, which in turn made them great companions.
Here is where I get frustrated with those who are slaughtering wolves and yet have a dog as a pet. They clearly do not realize or care to realize that wolves are just wild dogs. And, dogs are just domesticated wolves!
Dogs are revered, loved, kept in warm homes, and provided with constant food. Of course, there are the exceptions—humans who abuse or neglect their dogs. But generally, dogs are probably the most loved domesticated animals on the planet. Wolves, on the other hand, are thought of as killers ready to eat your children! When, in fact, wolves are afraid of humans and avoid us like the plague.
The grey wolf has been brought to the brink of extinction multiple times in history, and it is all happening again, right now. This year, wolves in America were removed from the protection of the Endangered Species Act. This action was not based on what is best for the animal or the eco system. Instead, it was based on cattle ranchers, trophy hunters and dirty politicians.
A rider was slipped into the must pass budget bill delisting the grey wolves from the ESA permanently, leaving ‘management’ to the states. Sadistic hunting techniques like aerial gunning, poisoning and arrowing are being used on both adult wolves and puppies. The anti-wolf sentiment is so strong in the Northern Rockies that certain individuals are suggesting illegal poaching practices and deliberately shooting a wolf in the gut so that they die a long, slow, torturous death. This is what the Northern Rockies means by ‘management!’ Before long, your children and grandchidren will only see the majestic wolf in a text book if the massacre is allowed to continue.
Perhaps wolves are so hated and misunderstood by some because of an inaccurate fairy tale called “Little Red Riding Hood.” That was the beginning of the fear and loathing of the grey wolf. Mix that misconception and insanity with the greed of the cattle ranchers and trophy hunters, and you have a recipe for disaster in the lives of wild wolves.
This loathing and desire to destroy wolves is a worldwide phenomena. Wolf advocates like myself are fighting a war to change the ingrained beliefs that are erroneous. There is even apathy among many animal advocates who work tirelessly to help other species, yet neglect the cry of the wolf.
Although I love dogs tremendously, it is my view that it was arrogant for humans to attempt to domesticate wolves for their own needs in the first place. God created wolves, not dogs. Man created dogs for their own needs and desires. By nature, man is selfish and only a fraction of the population even thinks about how other sentient, living creatures are feeling or being treated.
We are such an unevolved race of beings when you think of what we do to our animals and to one another. Until I take my very last breath, I will dedicate all of my work, my art, my music to saving animals, especially the magnificent and persecuted grey wolf.
I feel a kinship and love of other human beings who have the same admiration and respect of the original dog. God bless you all for every action you ever take to save them from endless suffering and extermination.
Karen Wallo is a second generation Czech-Slovak and comes from a long line of artists originating in Prague, Czech Republic and Smolenice, Slovakia. As a child growing up in New Jersey, Karen’s imaginative mind lead to creative natural talent. When she was ten years old, she won her first gold medal for a drawing of a dog. Currently Karen lives in Colorado and New York City and is an animal rights advocate, particularly for endangered wildlife like wolves, wild horses and burros. You can check our her website at KarenWallo.com.