"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Photo Essay: Wolf Sanctuary

I realized that over the course of the past year or so I’ve promised several photo essays from pictures I took.  I’m sorry, I’ve been delinquent.  And I bet many of you would actually prefer pictures to my “stodgy” old literary analyses. 

Here’s one I had promised after last year’s vacation to central Pennsylvania where we went to Amish countryDutch Wonderland, the railroad Museum, and to the Wolf Sanctuary of PA.  I didn’t post any pictures from the Wolf Sanctuary because I said I would reserve a photo essay post especially for it.  Here is that post.

I think the vacation was about thirteen months ago, so I’m afraid a bit has been lost in my memory.  When I found out there was a wolf sanctuary nearby, it was a must to visit.  Matthew didn’t really care for it, I have to admit.  He was just under four years old at the time.  I loved it, and I think my wife did as well.  I don’t remember if it was actually free, but it was very inexpensive, and they kind of twist your arm for a donation.  It was not pricey. 

If you’re a reader of my blog, you know I’m a lover of canines, and the wolf is the preeminent canine.  Now I don’t claim to be an expert, but here’s what knowledge I’ve gathered on wolves and dogs.  Dogs and humans exist in a very similar wave length.  We are so compatible that I don’t think any other creature comes close.  I’m convinced we evolved together.  We are both social creatures, and we socialize with each other.  At least we do with dogs.  Wolves, while nearly a dog and can interbreed with a dog, is wired in the brain just a little differently.  A wolf can’t become domesticated.  It seems to as a pup, but once it reaches a certain age it will separate from its human bond.  It may even turn on you, but to some degree it does seem to respect your being as some sort of simpatico.  Many people have tried to domesticate them but it’s a rare thing for it to have worked out.  So there are a number of wolf sanctuaries across the country where people can give up the creature and let him live in an environment he is accustomed to. 

This sanctuary in Pennsylvania seems to be a particularly good one.  It’s run completely by volunteers and you have to be schooled to an astonishing high level of training to become a trainer (?).  Actually that’s not the title given to those who assist but I can’t remember what it was.  Wolves there are separated into packs, and they had a very deliberate process on introducing wolves to packs.  Packs don’t necessarily accept outside wolves. 

The one thing I absolutely remember was the smell.  Wolves do not smell like dogs.  I was surprised.  It was a very sharp, penetrating, wild aroma, not pleasant at all.  I don't know how to describe it.  At first I think I wanted to vomit, but then I got used to it.  Here are some pictures.

Here is a small pack of three.  If you go to the Wolf Sanctuary of PA website, you might find the names of the various packs and individual wolves.  There is no way I can remember now.




And a close up of one of them.





Here’s another pack, but I think this one is mostly of hybrids.  By the way, there is ample room behind for each pack; I think they are given natural amount of territory.  A large number of the wolves at the sanctuary are mixes of dog and wolf.  People think they can breed out the wolf biology, but it takes more than a few generations.





This one in the front seems to have the color of a Golden Retriever, clearly a mix.

Here are some more.










Here’s a rather large pack.




By the way, the reason they have congregated to the fence is because the trainer is feeding them.




Here’s an older one.




Finally I want to post a few pictures of Billy.  I distinctly remember this one, though I had to look his name up on the website.  Billy was the model of the wolves.  Whenever you see a wolf in a movie or picture, there is a good chance Billy was used.  He has the size and coloring of what we all imagine a wolf to look like.  Unfortunately I found out that Billy died during the course of this past year.  He died from canine bloat, which is a circumstance where the stomach and intestines twist and cut off the blood supply.  It happens in large dogs.














But wasn’t he magnificent?

21 comments:

  1. I am glad you enjoyed it. We have one here but I have not gone. I think they are pretty but there's a reason they were always the bad wolf in fairy tales so glad they are not roaming our woods. The coyotes keep us busy enough.

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    1. You should go. They are fascinating creatures. I forget if you have a dog, but I know you're appreciate animals. I bet you'd like it.

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    2. We had two cockers- sisters but they died several years ago and with working we didn't want to bring in a puppy so now we have cats and whatever wild beast that visits the porch at night. If I get another dog I'd like it to be an old one that would not likely make the adoption list. We could sit on the porch and just watch the sun set. That would be nice. Maybe I'll take Taylor to the wolf sanctuary this winter. Really, the coyotes are pretty when they have full coats and the weather is nice, they just tend to eat pets and chickens . When my daughter was a rebellious teen I used to threaten to send her through the woods to my in-laws house with a nice cooked roast beef, she of course would be wearing her red cloak!

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    3. I agree, coyotes are pretty too. That is funny with your daughter...lol.

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  2. Stodgy is as stodgy does. I think there was an insult in there somewhere.....
    Nice pictures though.

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    1. No, definitely not insulting. I actually like the term. I'm using it in the sense of self-deprecating humor.

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    2. Well, don't forget where you heard it first!!!

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    3. How can I forget. I owe you a thank you as well. My short story analysis of Ransom of Red Chief has been possibly the most viewed post since I posted it. It's this one:
      http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/2014/04/short-story-analysis-ransom-of-red.html

      You had asked me to do that one. Muchas gracias.

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    4. And you thought I had no taste ~ you're welcome.

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  3. Beautiful pictures.
    A pity wolves need to be kept in sanctuaries now, though.

    Stella (Themis ;) )

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    1. Stella! So nice of you to stop by. I hope you are doing well. We killed off so many in the twentieth century here in the US that they hardly exist in the wild. In the last twenty years or so they have been slowly re-introduced. I've been a strong advocate. This website gives some great information and visually shows their habitat range.
      http://www.missionwolf.org/page/wild-wolf-history/

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  4. As far as dogs being somewhat like wolves in certain ways, you're probably right but one thing is sure and I think that you would agree... dogs are Mans best friend well at least in the long run... if we treat them with kindness that is. Right Manny!

    I was told that one of our uncle who I've never met, moved to the Yukon and had many dogs mixed with some wolves to pull their slays in the old days. When he past away, years ago and God bless his soul, my dad was given those slay dogs that his brother owned and long story short, my dad simply gave them away to people in that area cause he believed that they would be a lot more happier there instead of a city.

    I think I'll close by saying that for what it is worth, I was born in the year of the dog...lol

    God Bless you and yours

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    1. Dogs directly evolved from wolves. Not foxes, not coyotes, or any of the other Canidae species. Here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canidae
      and
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog

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  5. Thank you all for your comments. :)

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  6. Brilliant photos Manny and great write-up. Thanx.

    I remember going to a similar sanctuary in the UK. The "trainer" was inside with the pack of wolves talking to us and keeping an eye on them. He explained that he was wearing a white T shirt because it could save his life. Should the wolves attempt to attack he would lie on his back on the ground. On seeing the white shirt they would most probably walk away. He explained that the undercarriage of the wolf is always white or very light colored. (See your golden retriever photo). In a fight a wolf would turn on his back as a sign of submission and the other fighter would then leave him alone.

    God bless.

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    1. That is interesting. Were wolves native to the British Isles? Being islands it might have been difficult to have cross over.

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  7. Qimi, here, Manny.An interesting pictorial essay, as usual. I love wolves, or the idea of them, at any rate. The wolves are so beautiful. I wish we humans could figure out a better way to cohabitate with them. They deserve to live just as much as we do.

    Once I was walking in a nature preserve near here and I came across a couple who owned a pair of wolves. It was absolutely fascinating to see them up close. They said it was nearly a full time job taking care of them. I don't really think we should try to make them pets, but I didn't share my opinion with them.

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    1. Oh no, I would never advocate someone actually keep wolves. Too dangerous and unfair to them. There are still places in this country with enough free space to let some wolves live free. There are mountain lions out in the Rockies that I think are much more dangerous than wolves. The thing is that they are so adaptable that within a few generations you will have thousands spread much further out than you wanted. Thanks for stopping by Qimi. :)

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  8. Wow, Manny! That's an amazing blog with fascinating details.(Though, it's sad that Billy died) The pictures are absolutely marvelous. So glad to know you had a wonderful time. And thank you very much for sharing this wonderful essay.
    Have a great weekend, my friend!
    Sheherbano

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    1. Thank you for stopping by my friend. :)

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