Forward By Canis Lupis:
A Forgotten Promise
Since only the sun and moon made light, I have known you. I watched you from the once vast, impenetrable forest. I was witness as you discovered fire and strange tools. From ridges I watched you hunt, and envied your kills. I have eaten your scraps, you have eaten mine. I have heard your songs and watched your dancing shadows around bright fires. In a time so distant that I can barely remember, some of us joined you to sit near those fires. We became part of your packs, joined in your hunts, protected your pups, helped you, feared you, loved you. We have existed together a long time. We were much alike. It is why the tame ones adopted you. Some of you, I know, respected me, the wild one. I am a good hunter. I respected you, too. You were a good hunter. I would see you hunt in a pack with the tame ones and catch meat. Then there was plenty. Then there were few of you. Then the woods were big. We howled to the tame ones in the night. Some came back to hunt with us. Some we ate, for they became very strange. It was this way for a long long time. It was a good way. Sometimes I would steal from you, as you did from me. Do you remember when you were starving and the snow was deep and you ate the meat we killed? It was a game. It was a dept. Some might call it a promise. Like many of the tame ones, most of you became very strange. Now I do not recognize some of the tame ones. Now I do not recognize some of you. We were once so much alike. You made the meat tame, too. When I began to hunt your tame meat ( they are foolish creatures and do not honor death, but the wild meat was gone ) you hunted me. I do not understand. When your packs grew larger and fought among themselves, I saw. I watched your great battles. I feasted on those you left behind. Then you hunted me more. I do not understand. They were meat, you killed them. The wild ones are now very few. You made the woods small. You have killed many of us. But I still hunt, and feed our hidden pups. I always will. I wonder if the tame ones who live with you made a good choice. They have lost the spirit to live in the wild. They are many, but they are strange. We are few. I still watch you, too, so that I can avoid you. I don't think I know you any longer.
A Wolf's Point Of View
I am wolf, I am as old as the mountains I call home. I have walked this earth long before human beings. I have seen mountains grow from small hills, form from small ravines and rivers born of trickling streams. I have walked with the great ones of eons ago, the great mammoth, saber tooth tigers and many others who have long been lost. I have seen the beginning of mankind.
I am wolf. I am predetor. A hunter. I hunt for food. I do not collect trophies to be mounted on the walls of my den. I do not hunt for enjoyment but out of necessity, for survival. I hunt to feed my children so they can one day walk upon mother earth and become of the circle of life.
I am wolf. I have watched for many years my hunting grounds deminish - trees replaced by buildings, game replaced by humans. I have been driven higher and higher into the mountains yet the humans still come and I'm driven even farther from the hunting grounds of my fathers father and his father before him. Yet I survive. My children survive.
I am wolf. I am a loyal, devoted and loving parent. Our children are our future. Just as human children are the future of all human beings. I am protective of my children and I take my responsibility of their nuturing as seriously as any human parent. I provide food for my children and provide them with a safe home until they are ready to walk their own path.
I am wolf. I do not choose to hunt in the presence of humans, but I have been given no other choice. My land has been taken from me, and now so shall my life and the lives of my children and in doing so our future is doomed. We will go the way of the old ones. Only in memories of distant pasts shall we live again.
I am wolf. Wolves are beauty without vanity, innocence without naivete. We are one of the creators children and deserve to live our lives in peace. We were created for a purpose and it was not to be hunted and slaughtered.
I am wolf. Tonight I will lay and sleep beside my mate and our children. This may be the last night we will share together upon mother earth for tomorrow many of our brothers and siters will be slaughtered and perhaps ourselves as well. Our songs will be only a distant memory, fading into the past.
With all her big brothers and sisters off to school, our ranch became a lonely place for our three-year-old daughter, Becky. She longed for playmates. Cattle and horses were too big to cuddle and farm machinery dangerous for a child so small. We promised to buy her a puppy, but in the meantime, "Pretend" puppies popped up nearly every day. I had just finished washing the lunch dishes when the screen door slammed and Becky rushed in, cheeks flushed with excitement. "Mama! she cried, "Come see my new doggy! I gave him water two times already. He's so thirsty!" I sighed. Another of Becky's imaginary dogs. "Please come, Mama." She tugged at my jeans, her brown eyes pleading. "He's crying -- and he can't walk!" "Can't walk?" Now that was a twist. All her previous make-believe dogs could do marvelous things. One balanced a ball on the end of its nose. Another dug a hole that went all the way through the earth and fell out on a star on the other side. Still another danced on a tightrope. Why suddenly, a dog that couldn't walk? "All right, honey," I said. By the time I tried to follow her, Becky had already disappeared into the mesquite. "Where are you?" I called. "Over here by the oak stump. Hurry, Mama!" I parted the thorny branches and raised my hand against the glare of the Arizona sun. A numbing chill gripped me. There she was, sitting on her heels, toes dug firmly in the sand, and cradled in her lap was the unmistakable head of a wolf! Beyond its head rose massive black shoulders. The rest of the body lay completely hidden inside the hollow stump of a fallen oak. "Becky." My mouth felt dry. "Don't move." I stepped closer. Pale-yellow eyes narrowed. Black lips tightened, exposing double sets of two-inch fangs. Suddenly the wolf trembled. Its teeth clacked, and a piteous whine rose from its throat. "It's all right, boy," Becky crooned. "Don't be afraid. That's my mama, and she loves you, too." Then the unbelievable happened. As her tiny hands stroked the great shaggy head, I heard the gentle thump, thump, thumping of the wolf's tail from deep inside the stump. What was wrong with the animal? I wondered. Why couldn't he get up? I couldn't tell. Nor did I dare to step any closer. I glanced at the empty water bowl. My memory flashed back to the five skunks that last week had torn the burlap from a leaking pipe in a frenzied effort to reach water during the final agonies of rabies. Of course! Rabies! Warning signs had been posted all over the county, and hadn't Becky said, "He's so thirsty?" I had to get Becky away. "Honey," my throat tightened, "Put his head down and come to Mama. We'll go find help." Reluctantly, Becky got up and kissed the wolf on the nose before she walked slowly into my outstretched arms. Sad yellow eyes followed her. The the wolf's head sank down to the ground.
With Becky safe in my arms, I ran to the barns where Brian, one of our cowhands, was saddling up to check heifers in the north pasture. "Brian! Come quickly. Becky found a wolf in the oak stump near the wash! I think it has rabies!" "I'll be there in a jiffy," he said as I hurried back to the house, eager to put Becky down for her nap. I didn't want her to see Brian come out of the bunkhouse. I knew he'd have a gun. "But I want to give my doggy his water," she cried. I kissed her and gave her some stuffed animals to play with. "Honey, let Mom and Brian take care of him for now," I said. Moments later, I reached the oak stump. Brian stood looking down at the beast. "It's a Mexican lobo, all right," he said, "and a big one! Whew! It's not rabies," Brian said. "But he's sure hurt real bad. Don't you think it's best I put him out of his misery?" The word "yes" was on my lips, when Becky emerged from the bushes. "Is Brian going to make him well, Mama?" She hauled the animal's head onto her lap once more, and buried her face in the coarse, dark fur. This time I wasn't the only one who heard the thumping of the lobo's tail. That afternoon my husband, Bill, and our veterinarian came to see the wolf. Observing the trust the animal had in our child, Doc said to me, "Suppose you let Becky and me tend to this fella together." Minutes later, as child and vet reassured the stricken beast, the hypodermic found its mark. The yellow eyes closed. "He's asleep now," said the vet. "Give me a hand here, Bill." They hauled the massive body out of the stump. The animal must have been over five feet long and well over one-hundred pounds. The hip and leg and been mutilated by bullets. Doc did what he had to in order to clean the wound and then gave the patient a dose of penicillin. Next day he returned and inserted a metal rod to replace the missing bone. "Well, looks like you've got yourselves a Mexican lobo," Doc said. "He looks to be about three years old, and even as pups, they don't tame real easy. I'm amazed at the way this big fella took to your little gal. But often there's something that goes on between children and animals that we grownups don't understand." Becky named the wolf Ralph and carried food and water to the stump every day. Ralph's recovery was not easy. For three months he dragged his injured hindquarters by clawing the earth with his front paws. From the way he lowered his eyelids when we massaged the atrophied limbs, we knew he endured excruciating pain, but not once did he ever try to bite the hands of those who cared for him. Four months to the day, Ralph finally stood unaided. His huge frame shook as long unused muscles were activated. Bill and I patted and praised him. But it was Becky to whom he turned for a gentle word, a kiss or a smile. He responded to these gestures of love by swinging his bushy tail like a pendulum. As his strength grew, Ralph followed Becky all over the ranch. Together they roamed the desert pastures, the golden-haired child often stooping low, sharing with the great lame wolf whispered secrets of nature's wonders. When evening came, he returned like a silent shadow to his hollow stump that had surely become his special place. As time went on, although he lived primarily in the brush, the habits of this timid creature endeared him more and more to all of us. His reaction to people other than our family was yet another story. Strangers terrified him, yet his affection for and protectiveness of Becky brought him out of the desert and fields at the sight of every unknown pickup or car. Occasionally he'd approach, lips taut, exposing a nervous smile full of chattering teeth. More often he'd simply pace and finally skulk off to his tree stump, perhaps to worry alone. Becky's first day of school was sad for Ralph. After the bus left, he refused to return to the yard. Instead, he lay by the side of the road and waited. When Becky returned, he limped and tottered in wild, joyous circles around her. This welcoming ritual persisted throughout her school years. Although Ralph seemed happy on the ranch, he disappeared into the surrounding deserts and mountains for several weeks during the spring mating season, leaving us to worry about his safety. This was calving season, and fellow ranchers watched for coyotes, cougars, wild dogs and, of course, the lone wolf. But Ralph was lucky.During Ralph's twelve years on our ranch, his habits remained unchanged. Always keeping his distance, he tolerated other pets and endured the activities of our busy family, but his love for Becky never wavered. Then the spring came when our neighbor told us he'd shot and killed a she-wolf and grazed her mate, who had been running with her. Sure enough, Ralph returned home with another bullet wound. Becky, nearly fifteen years old now, sat with Ralph's head resting on her lap. He, too, must have been about fifteen and was gray with age. As Bill removed the bullet, my memory raced back through the years. Once again I saw a chubby three-year-old girl stroking the head of a huge black wolf and heard a small voice murmuring, "It's all right, boy. Don't be afraid. That's my mama, and she loves you, too." Although the wound wasn't serious, this time Ralph didn't get well. Precious pounds fell away. The once luxurious fur turned dull and dry, and his trips to the yard in search of Becky's companionship ceased. All day long he rested quietly But when night fell, old and stiff as he was, he disappeared into the desert and surrounding hills. By dawn his food was gone. The morning came when we found him dead. The yellow eyes were closed. Stretched out in front of the oak stump, he appeared but a shadow of the proud beast he once had been. A lump in my throat choked me as I watched Becky stroke his shaggy neck, tears streaming down her face. "I'll miss him so," she cried. Then, as I covered him with a blanket, we were startled by a strange rustling sound from inside the stump. Becky looked inside. Two tiny yellow eyes peered back and puppy fangs glinted in the semi-darkness. Ralph's pup! Had a dying instinct told him his motherless offspring would be safe here, as he had been, with those who loved him? Hot tears spilled on baby fur as Becky gathered the trembling bundle in her arms. "It's all right little . . . . Ralphie," she murmured. "Don't be afraid. That's my mom, and she loves you, too."
A Night With A Wolf
High up on the lonely mountains, where whe wild men watched and waited; wolves in the forest, and bears in the bush, and only I on my path belated. The rain and the night came down, the wind came after, bending the props of the pine-tree roof, snapping many a rafter. I crept to a fir with thick-set boughs, and a sheltering rock behind it. There, from the blowing, raining, crouching, I sought to hide me. Something rustled; two green eyes shone; and a wolf lay down beside me! His wet fur pressed against me; each of us warmed the other; each of us felt, in the storm dark, that beast and man were brother. And when the falling forest no longer crashed in warning, each of us went from out hiding place forth in the wild, wet morning.
Chief Dan George
"If you talk to the animals, they will talk to you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them, you will not know them. And what you do not know you will fear. What one fears, one destroys."