To celebrate Jay’s birthday, we walked with wolves. I really didn’t know what to expect when I signed us up. I thought the event would entail a simple walk with wolves at the Wolf Connection, a wolf sanctuary. But instead, we learned about the special pack; their life stories, their dispositions and more importantly, what we, as humans, can learn from wolves.
The unique thing about these wolves is that they are part wolf/part dog. Many have more wolf than dog in their DNA. The staff mentioned, “These wolfdogs make good wolves but bad dogs.” The wolves at the sanctuary are rescues; from owners who could no longer take care of a wolfdog, many were from fur farms, one was from a roadside attraction in Alaska, and a few from wolfdog breeders. Despite their challenging pasts, these beautiful creatures seem to live a full life – thanks to the volunteers who lovingly care for them – making sure they get the exercise, attention, and socialization the wolves need.
When I first saw them, they looked like overgrown Husky-Shepard mixes. But when I got close enough to place my palm on their fur, I could sense the wild in them.
The staff lovingly told us about each and every wolf on the compound. During our time there, there were so many special lessons. And here are a few:
At the sanctuary, when a wolf ages, he/she is not called “old” but instead, referred to as an “elder.” Old means irrelevant, whereas elder suggests wisdom.
I learned that wolves don’t hold grudges. Even though many of the wolves once feared people or were neglected/abused by their owners, at the sanctuary, over time, the wolves have learned how to trust people again.
A three-legged wolf bounces around, not realizing that she only has three legs. Her perspective on who she is as a wolfdog is not limited by how others perceive her.
There were so many stories… and I wanted to hoard them all into my memory. Our time with them seemed short – two and a half hours flew. When it was time to go, I reluctantly said goodbye to the wolves on the compound.
As we drove away, I felt like I was leaving a crew I wanted to follow.