“We humans fear the beast within the wolf because we do not understand the beast within ourselves.”
~ Gerald Hausman
Music is pumping in the background as I sit here and imagine the constant slaughter and upending of an incredibly intelligent and beautiful species. I’m transformed to a time when wolves were sorely protected in the Endangered Species act for longer than I can remember.
Last year, I wrote how wolves were de-listed under the current administration and my heart sank about a thousand miles when I pictured how these beasts used to run wild and free with their iconic energy. More recent photos and stories have emerged with massive killings in our Midwestern states and the pompous arrogant fools who post such stuff displays more ignorance and reckless abandon than the high-fives they are soliciting.
At least that is my own thought process with bounties placed on the number of wolves being taken down, and for what—honor, ego or competition? I shudder to think of how many of the number of packs are being destroyed at this very second due to lack of compassion and knowledge.
I am a wolf lover. I have been even before I set foot on the Colorado mountain range. It was there however, that I rescued a sweet young wolf/dog out of a desperate situation. I had a few German Shepherds at the time, so I was familiar with the large breed. When we moved to this lone house on a dead end street, she would wail at night in loneliness and longing. I couldn’t sleep a wink hearing her cry. My own dogs would mimic her howls to give her that similar sense of bonding in the canine world.
She was no ordinary dog. She was a Mexican gray wolf. She was about 50 lbs. and as smart as a tack. I befriended her when I ran my two dogs daily by her place. She guarded the nearby cemetery lot and was left in a small enclosure with no food, barely any water or a roof over her head when it snowed. I was determined to save her, not even knowing her history or what kind of *dog* she was, or who she belonged to at that time. I simply adored her face when she peered over her enclosure.
Time passed on and she became part of my family, only after a few ill-forgotten attempts to pull her out of that horrible life. She remained with me for 15 incredible years.
I was told (after the fact) by the cemetery personnel that she was beaten and left on a chain for days on end to “develop” some sort of aggressive temperament.
What I witnessed was a protective animal that became part of our pack. She was the alpha, and my remaining three dogs were completely submissive to her, including me. We had a symmetry and language that I’ve never experienced with any other animal. She was a full-blooded wolf, loyal, calm, intelligent beyond words, and extremely intuitive on the comings and goings of everything happening in my immediate family. She had acres to roam in Colorado, and it was there that I developed an even more innate sense of the need for wolves to rule the continent.
Wolves are highly territorial and will delineate their ranges by leaving scent marks and by howling. My wolf girl howled all the time. She got the other dogs going as well. We all howled with heads tilted back in extreme joy and glory. It was those moments that stick with me forever. Her lovely nature caused all our spirits to soar.
In the mid-1990’s, gray wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. As of December 2006, there were 1,243 wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. Due to the de-listing and continued abandonment of wolf regulations, hunters and would-be collectors of trophies have decided to decimate those numbers all throughout the contiguous United States. The wolf is the largest of the canine family. They weigh on average, 95 to 100 pounds, yet the Mexican gray wolf is much smaller and currently the most endangered.
Every instance that I read another wolf being shot or taken down by a hunter’s bullet, I think back to my awesome wolf girl and how free her life was and her ability to roam for miles in the mountains.
Now, wolf populations are sorely decreasing in the United States and at least 20 other countries.
Like humans, wolves use facial expressions to communicate. They are capable of surviving for more than two weeks without food, yet when they chase their prey it is with the help of the entire pack. The family structure is priority with the wolf. Each member holds a significant role in raising the young and remaining loyal to the pack. They are such highly social creatures, and have the largest natural range of all wild terrestrial mammals. Because they spend a full third of their lives traveling, they still remain true to their family hierarchy. They are monogamous and mate for life.
This is the wolf spirit, true to themselves and their family. Their nocturnal natures allow them to hunt, roam and live a life that keeps nature in balance. They are responsible for naturally thinning herds of elk and deer.
They are essential.
The domestic dog and wolf DNA are virtually identical, with less than 0.2% differentiating them. It is with this that scientists conclude that all modern dog breeds are likely descendants of the gray wolf, often referred to as “the familiar wolf” due to their close relationship.
I have incredible memories of the wolf dog who I was able to share a life with for so long. Whenever I looked into her eyes, it was as if my soul was staring back at me. She had power and she had grace.
When she passed, I vowed to keep my love and loyalty alive for wolves and their plight.
Their love and spirit will take you to places you never thought possible, if only you open your heart to their energy.
She certainly had that effect on me.
“When a dog loves you, you will feel flattered. When a wolf befriends you, you will be moved to tears.”
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photos: elephant archives
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