So it is that humans, to a great extent, control the future of America's wild dogs. We have the power to let them live and the tools to wipe them out. Now let us pray that we also will have the wisdom to treat them as fellow travelers, not adversaries.
Let us hope we can put away our poisons and our hatred and commit ourselves once and for all for a future of living in harmony with the wolves, coyotes, foxes and other creatures with whom we share this Earth.
Perhaps we need to look back to our earliest ancestors, the primitive men and women who first beckoned the wolf in from the cold. They knew, I think, what we have forgotten--that humans and animals are all part of the same natural world.
That in nature there is no such thing as good and evil. And, most important, that there is really room here for all of us.
--Gary Turbak, from his book, TWILIGHT HUNTERS--wolves, coyotes and foxes
Historical disbelief! In 1972, the United States Department of Defense ordered 277,502 parka hoods trimmed with wolf fur. Conservationists and elected officials protested like crazy. The Department canceled the order. The Department of the Interior pointed out the amount of fur involved would affect all the gray wolves of the continent!
As many as 750,000 wolves once roamed North America. Native American tribes admired the wolf for its endurance, intelligence, and skill in hunting. Wolves live in packs of 8 to 20, and are highly intelligent and socially evolved. By preying on weak, diseased, and injured animals, wolves enhance the overall strength of moose, caribou, and deer populations. Despite their important ecological role, and posing no threat to humans, wolves have been hunted nearly to extinction. Today in the U.S., the haunting melody of a howling wolf pack is heard in only a handful of states.
We will be known by the tracks we leave behind.
Wolves are synonymous with wilderness; and their voices call forth something primordially wild to human ears. Large, canny, mammal predators like us, they are also social creatures who communicate vocally. Wolves are representative of that which is best when left untamed, most beautiful and most wise when left wild and free. Today, when so much life on our planet is threatened, we might well hear in the plaintive howling of a single wolf, something of the world's own grief for what has been lost.
Nor is it any wonder that the call of the wolf should stir a response from our own wild hearts.
The snowfall and wind had combined to sculpt an inviting landscape. The pure white snow was accented by the blue winter sky and the bright sun. Cardinals called their
clear call and flashed red in winter-sleeping berry bushes; squirrels hopped about searching for long-buried treasures making fluffs in the dry snow. The child emerged from the cabin rubbing sleep from his eyes
and shielding them from the unexpected brightness. What a glorious day!!
"Mom, can I play outside???? please????" were the first words the child uttered that morning. "Sure, after you've done your duties for the day," was her sympathetic reply. Well, you can well imagine that the duties were performed in
record time - and the child went out to play. Since the child had slept late, and the duties did take a while, lunch was gulped down before he was allowed out to play. But, the mother was wise - she knew how difficult it would
be to get her child back in, even to eat, on such an exquisite day.
Snow barriers and intricate paths were woven around the cabin (Some squirrels were pleased with shallower snow to dig in.) Snow-angels dotted the snow-scape and tiny butt-prints were left where the child just sat and
rested while admiring the beauty of the surroundings. And then the child saw the bunny. Now, the child had chased bunnies before - never successfully - but, after all, there is a first time. And besides,
how fast can bunnies run in this snow? The child found out! Straight ahead the bunny lept, causing guysers of fluffy snow. Bounding through the trees and around bushes the bunny bounced with the laughing child close behind - fresh
from a recent rest. And then another bunny leapt sideways in surprise, leading off in another direction. Tired of chasing impossible bunnies, the child rested, the lowering sun warming flushed cheeks. New areas without
paths or snow-angels just had to be explored and marked with the child's trademarks - and so the task was undertaken as the sun rapidly began to disappear below the horizon.
"Huh?" wondered the child, suddenly realizing that it had gotten dark, and the way back to the warm cabin was unknown. Calls produced no help as the sound was smothered by the soft snow. A sliver of moon barely lent a light glow to the scenery as
the child, now sitting in the snow and softly crying, detected glowing eyes at the edge of the clearing the child had claimed as his own. A Wolf. The child, having been taught well, sat still, hoping the
wolf would lose interest. Hours passed. The cold began to penetrate the little one's body, eyelids became heavy and closed. The still-watching wolf began to move in ...
The following morning, the child's frantic parents had gathered neighbors to aid in a search for the child they had sought in vain to find the previous night. As the father approached a clearing, he held the neighbor back with a
signal with his hand. What he had seen raised the hair on the back of his neck. He saw the tracks of a child and - horrors of horrors - a wolf resting in the clearing in the midst of those precious tracks.
They both watched without breathing and the father decided to try to sneak closer to see if he could see tracks leaving the clearing - little tracks belonging to a little one. As he got closer to the reclining wolf, he broke into a
dead run!! - for as he got closer, he realized the wolf was surrounding his child with its body. Prepared to take on death itself to save his child, he ran right up to the pair of bodies in the snow. "Daddy!!" exclaimed the child as it bounded into familiar
arms, leaving behind the frozen body of the wolf that had given up its heat to save the little one in the night.
I do not know the source of this story. If anyone who sees this does, please let me know. Thank you
This page was created on June 8, 1998 This page was last updated on December 21, 2001