Thursday, March 31, 2011

leader of the pack


J doesn't like to advertise that his dogs are in fact wolfdogs. There is so much fear and misinformation about these dogs, and right now in this county, the debate over wolves is escalating to a serious level.  And these dogs are a nebulous mix of other breeds and since two were rescue dogs, the actual percentage is unknown. We don't know where they came from or what they knew before this. We know some of it was not good. Sometimes they look at me with sweet, sad eyes and I wish they could say.

One way in which they differ from other dogs is that they are definitely a pack. Where one goes, the others follow. You can't just take one for a hike. You have to take all of them. Which limits the backpacking opportunities. They also don't like to be very far from J. He is their pack leader and he can only go a certain distance only known to them before they get anxious and need to chase after him.

I have learned a lot from these dogs. Mostly I have learned optimism. They wake up happy, whether they have to spend the day in the yard or get to go out and play. I've learned acceptance: they adopted me into their pack without reservation. Cale, the big white one, comes and checks on me when I am out in the woods by myself. Though I will never know, I like to think he is making sure I am all right.

I've learned to live with a little--okay, a lot--of dog hair over everything, because the reward is floppy dog rugs to lie my head on, to wrap my arms around and feel a beating heart. I've learned to adapt: if I want to hike in the canyon but there are rattlesnakes, I can go somewhere else and be just as glad.

It's a package deal, J and the dogs. He likes to joke that since he couldn't find a girlfriend who would stick, he kept getting dogs. He says that if something happened to me, he'd probably get another dog. He can't even look at the wolfdog rescue pages; it breaks his heart because he wants to save them all.

In a perfect world, breeders wouldn't try to create these breeds. It takes the right person to care for them. When these dogs howl, it is a beautiful sound, tinged with wilderness. You know that a different song runs through their heads than your average dog. I love them dearly.

1 comment:

  1. Love what you show and tell us about those dogs! Looking forward to seeing them in the summer


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