Wolf Maidens Greeting

I am a young woman, whom lives, treks, dances and sings with pure wolves. Due to where I live not only do I have the opportunity to have viewed, studied, and experienced living, surrounded by wild born wolves, right on my own land even! But I have also forged a friendship with some captive born pure wolves at my licensed wolf outreach and eco education center in Northern Canada. They have been but one teacher in my life, and I have humbly grown over time with them. It consists of various journeys with various wildlife, and pure wolves as they be, and all their glory. Nothing is ever as great as viewing the wild in the wild, such moments never fail to bring me to my knees in awe, wonder and humble honor. To meet another sentient being on their own hallowed grounds where they belong, brings tears to my eyes. I have an undying love affair and romance with the greatest show on earth...LIFE! and wish to say Namaste' to all fellow earth aliens :0) I hope you feel most welcome here and come back to visit from time to time, perhaps leave your own thoughts and mark to remember you by. It seems that so many are in a hurry these days, and don't just sit back enough and simply BE, I provide a lot of music choices here (Just scroll through them if yee like ) I hope you enjoy your stay no matter how long. I LOVE to meet people and hear their own story. I do feel with my every being, that every morning the sun rises to refresh our souls, and every sunset is honored as a gift, for we are not granted a tomorrow. I have the now to share, and hope you catch the same wild disease. Remember in the words of Dr. Seuss Be who you are, say what you feel, because those who mind dont matter, and those who matter don't mind.

Be Most Welcome Here

Be Most Welcome Here
Please enjoy your visit! My user name is skynymph http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nymph

Monday, March 10, 2008

I think I can! I think I can!

I think I can,

I think I can,


If I could somehow break into the secret world of the little dog, I most likely would hear those words echoing within my own lil 2 cents short of a short stack here.

Intro the pookie.

Yes people laugh and say "POOKIE?... poor dog."

I mean I have names here of wolves called Eclipse Moon Song, Tibet Night Song, Northern Lights Legend , Eco Soul Journey, but POOKIE? pookie what... surely it is

pookie ebony of donney brook road

or pookie dancing creek,

but just POOKIE?

Well sometimes she's called sneak a poo, :0) cause it took a dang year to house train this stubborn brat, and she liked to sneak onto mine or Lou's office chairs and sneak a poo or two when she got po'ed at us.

Between humping her doggie dolly non stop, and going into this vegetative zoning state, where a bomb could go off and there be nobody home, sneaking poos, and thinking how great it is to challenge yourself in the mirror cause she thinks the dog staring opposite her is some demon from another planet, and hitting the mirrors around the cabin, it's a wonder I survived her raising.

(Pookie thinking the mug looking at her is not really her...I mean she just got a very short haircut from the curly locks she saw in the mirror the day before, surely it CAN'T be her! noooooo)

HA! Survive HER raising I say? compared to raising oh I don't know...WOLVES!

Yes, well I never said I was normal either. ;0)

I get asked a lot so why wolves? if it had not been wolves it probably would have been gorillas, no kidding...maybe still someday. I actually wanted to be Jane Goodall or Diane Fossey.

I like intelligence I guess, dolphins, raptors, gorillas, whales, wolves, all highly intelligent animals. Not to say however I am not an avid everything fan, so if I see a spider wondering along I get right down there to examine it to see exactly what kind of spider, if not recognized, pulling out my trusty field guide of everything bug book .

Wonder knows know boundaries in my world!

So where does pookie come in?

Pookie is a (3/4 shih tzu and 1/4 toy poodle) is all of an 8 pound mop. Give her the end of a wooden broom handle she'll grab it and hang on, all you need to do is swish swish, floor clean.
Pookie helps to play a role for any young wolf pups that may come here, she is a canine figure which is important for the pups to have as they grow, I do not want wolves to over bond to humans, and not bond sufficiently enough to other canines, it's important.

(Pookie keeping guard over the dark bundle of fur just over a week old ) If you keep wolf pups from their own kind for too long, and too much, by the time they are placed with their own kind, you run a very high risk of them not understanding how to relate as well with others, they may have some emotional issues, and difficulties getting along.

In essence much like any orphaned wild animals that become habituated to humans (become overly familiar, losing their natural wariness and fear) or one that imprints on humans, cat/dog, etc (bond as if to one of their own kind) such as raptors for example (One I worked with *a hawk* was like this) they really don't know how to fully relate and get along with their own kind as adults, they may act like their own kind are not one of them.

I would like to point out the difference however when you raise an orphaned coyote pup for example, and plan for future release, and an animal that becomes imprinted. You have to be careful not to *habituate* the coyote for example, this is different from *imprinting*. A coyote will not *imprint*, birds are the animals prone to do this. (It's like the little duckling that pops out of the egg and the first thing it sees are humans , or a dog there.) Birds imprint very quickly on that which they first set their sights upon after being born, and it's first moments in life. But no matter habituated, or imprinted, any inherent wild animal that this has occurred in, if released into the wild, face the issue of potentially causing some problems with humans once released, due to that habituation/imprinting.

(Thus why habituated wolf pups that are bottlefed and raised by humans cannot be released.)Any animal you plan to *rehabilitate* you NEED to keep fairly wild acting*, so to help *prevent* imprinted raptors and habituated deer you could raise them using puppets, for the raptors using puppets that sort of look like them, for the deer wearing a weird costume/suit for an example when interacting.

Wolf pups that come in too young however cannot simply be raised by humans, then at 6 months, released, as humans cannot teach a wolf all the ESSENTIALS in captivity to survive, (like hunting big game something TAUGHT.)

A wolf once hungry will go back to that which it relied on before release (humans) and seek them out. Not a good thing! Where as animals like foxes, even if you hand-raise them they revert back to being wild VERY quickly, they survive on smaller food sources easily caught through their natural instinct that comes out, you open a door to a fox and it will take off and will not typically seek out people for food.

In essence it is about understanding the individual animals *nature* in order for there to be success, in what you plan to do with that animal.

In my talks with a local Biologist who is the head of the CO department, I have asked if there have been any scientific studies on any wolf pups brought in and released, they told me no, but that they have released them in the past. This worries me, I think they simply *assume* the wolf will automatically know how to survive, or perhaps stumble upon a pack that will allow them into it.

A Wolf not taught how to hunt large game to survive in harsh climates, and does not have at LEAST another wolf or pack, to aid in the survival may be even more prone to seek out easier prey like lambs, and calves in a farm yard.

In captivity such as here at A Wolf Adventure when a wolf cannot be released it is a fine balancing act from the moment a pup starts the bottle-feeding process, till they are introduced back to the adult wolves on a permanent basis.

(Legend not quite three weeks old and a very big one at that!)
The bottle-feeding is necessary if one does have wolves in captivity, this is a part of their socialization, in captive facilities of old I recall seeing wolves pacing fence lines, stressed, apathetic, and VERY unhappy, these were wolves that were not only given inadequate space to run and play and be a wolf, (kept in small cages like many pet dogs are) but they were not bottle-fed (allowed to stay with mom) and not socialized enough to people, which made for a wild acting wolf in a domestic captive situation.

Bad combination.

(Pookie sleeping with a fast growing wolf pup northern lights legend)
Vet treatment required chasing down wolves and darting them, or using a rabies pull and tranquilizing just to give basic care, not only does this cause needless stress on such an animal, but it is inhumane handling.

Treat a wild animal in captivity roughly, and it will react, or over react in kind.

(Ever see a wolf puppy smile? well here you go!)

(Lou with legend)A pup that is held and touched all over from the moment they are brought in to start the bottle-feeding process at 10-12 days of age, will be more easily handleable as adults in the future. The key is to pay attention to even areas many might over look when bringing up any captive wild animal.
(legend discovers flowers)

(Legend and pookie sharing a doggie bed)

Touching inside and outside their ears,

Opening their mouths,

Teeth touched,

Gums rubbed gently,

Their paws and in between the toes touched,

Nails touched and clipped

Tails touched from the base to the tip,

Entire length of legs touched,

Nose/muzzle touched

Eyes examined

Collar and lead can be placed on and taken off with ease

Their series of vaccines given, but continue to handle the set up to such in between, such as being able to take the neck fur of the animal gently and pull up a bit where a needle may be given, pretend poke

Placed in *bunny* sit poses (literally you place the wolf on it's butt like a child, and held facing forward in front of you while your sitting too, and they are situated between your legs, and you are ale to take their front legs in your hands, this pose is used successfully if you ever have to draw blood and need to find veins without the wolf struggling.

Loading them in an out of a crate/cage carrier device on a daily basis so when the time comes to bring them into a veterinarian or emergency vacate, they will not spook.

Socialization to every kind of equipment possible from tractors, to law mowers.

Socialized to all kinds of people.

Introduce them to every kind of walking surface possible from carpets to tile, from grass to cement.

Socialized to all different kinds of clothing (Yup that means wearing a winter parka in the middle of summertime as well as short sleeved t-shirts all in the same day, from wearing mittens made of various material from cotton to leather, to various kinds of shoe wear from winter boots to sandals. There is nothing worse than raising a wolf pup that only ever sees the same kind of clothing (summer wear) then winter hits, and they are grabbing onto winter jackets or mittens, which can very quickly escalate into challenging a human for that clothing. Anything new to a wolf they were not formerly introduced to when young, is then something to become a little TOO interested in, and if it happens to be on your body, that is NOT a good thing.

(Legend being held under 2 weeks of age)
it will all serve towards a purpose for when the time comes to be examined by a veterinarian, or heaven forbid they sustain some sort of injury and require treatment, a pup that does not go through such a process of socialization will react fearfully, and when a wild animal (even if raised in captivity) becomes fearful this can turn into fear *aggression*.

(Legend asleep on Lou's feet)

You want make such touching times , truly well touching, you want to create for them a fun, happy, and rewarding time. You use a higher pitch happy voice, and reward the pup with happy rubs on their bodies, and give them yummy treats. These touching sessions are made into special bonding moments between caretaker(s) and wild animal.

You want to lessen scenarios of getting into confrontations with a wolf because they need even basic care, and the socialization protocol when they were pups left something to be desired.

(Sky and legend in pup pen)
Boxing with a wolf because they refuse to go to the vets is NOT FUN!

Do I speak from experience? YUP even a well socialized wolf like Tibet if she doesn't want to do something like go to the vets, THAT day and THAT moment because she just Does NOT want to...she'll let you know. She'll plant her assets and not move em, or the most common move throwing herself onto her back and flailing, uhm yup I really want a left hook swipe from a veloca raptor claw (NO THANKS!) , and if I try and coax her with treats, she's smart enough to know what I am doing.

There's been a couple times where I say " Tibet this is it you have to go in today for a check up, and as I am bringing her over to the carrier, she may suddenly *decide* to pull back on her back legs and start using her front legs and paws and almost like a boxer, and start moving around to stop me from using the lead on her.

" I'm NOT GOING that's it,
you can't make me go!
you can't trick me to go
so take that!...and that...and some more of that!

Well, Uhm yes...some days I just don't feel like going there, and well she may win, I rebook for another day she may be feeling a bit more cooperative.

Now keep in mind if it were an emergency, she'd have no choice. But I let her be *her*, and respect how she feels too. I brought her into MY world, it is up to me to allow her as much of her own world still in her life still as is possible, and allowing her to be herSELF, not what I want her to be, not what I want to try and make her to be, she is she, just as I am me. Allowing a wolf to simply be who/what they are enables them the freedom, as much as freedom can be possible in a captive situation anyways, and aids in them being healthy psychologically.
(Northern Lights Legend)
Allow them to *explore* and *Investigate* and supply lots of enriching things (toys, bones etc) to work their minds (keep them stimulated in a fun way)

(Legend exploring my jeep)
(Legend with his special made to order gotch bunny, see the ears and head etc)

(legend and a tree branch)Pookie is a funny little dog, I have never been a little dog person the only reason she wound up here is because the breeder said she had a hernia, and asked did I want her, she was of no good to them. HUH? no good?...well I have been involved in rescuing all kinds of animals all my life, so no problem cute little non shedding puppy, bring her home and find a new home for her.

Uhm mistake number 1, bringing her home to Lou

Mistake number 2 bringing her home to Lou whom though he loves the wolves, he would prefer to never see ANY *wild* animals in captivity PERIOD for any reason other than rehab for back into the wild. He did not even have so much as a pet dog growing up although he did raise an orphaned baby raccoon. But still NOT an animal *owning* type of person, (does not believe in OWNING wild animals) and that any captive wild animal that cannot be released should be used to eduate the public, avid nature fan of everything wild,... IN THE WILD.

Mistake number 3 allowing him to hold her leading to "awwww I like her, I want to keep her"..thus a number of years later she's alas still here..uhm, but let me check to make sure...

YUP, still here, no wolves have eaten her.

(Lou and his sidekick demon spawn Pookie)
Actually her head is so dang big, that would be an impossibility anyways in her own legendary mind. She knows she's a wolf. She even competes when they all start howling, she lifts up her head and lets out the most pitiful yew yew yew sound what the heck is a yew yew yew????

I'll have to tape it and maybe post it on here and you can let me know what that is.

I get asked don't the big wolves want to eat her? Well for a couple of them who were not raised by her YUP! for the ones raised by her NOPE, she gives wicked cheek bites that will bring the biggest of the wolves to their knees. That's her secret mini me ninja move, leap up 50 times your height through the air and grab onto a cheek ruff and pull whoever is on the receiving end DOWN. Works every time, you might want to try this yourself.

(Legend who will follow pookie to the ends of the earth, just so happens it was into a laundry basket look closely can you see the little black blob in there?)
Tibet loves ALL puppies, small dogs, she sees pookie as a puppy still far from it, but she's little and Tibet is maternal, she would be in the wild the puppy nanny, the babysitter in a pack she just takes all puppies she sees under her wing so to speak. When ever I have to bring her into the vets and she sees little dogs and puppies she starts whining as if they are hers. Poor Tibet, she will never have her own, so it is quite endearing to see this.

(Pookie and Tibet) Pookie rules her home roost with an iron grip, one the wolves simply choose to not argue with, well at least the ones whom from the moment they are taking their first little steps in life, she is held in high regard as a co-surrogate mom. She helps serve as a temporary, but important familiar canine comfort till they can rejoin their own kind, she helps to teach them in the very beginning some things humans simply cannot no matter how well you understand their language. Humans are NOT wolves, no amount of posturing , face grimacing, or getting down to growl with the best of them can change this. Nor would I want them to view me as another wolf, this would be utterly ridiculous, they respect me because I respect them, and I do not try to manipulate who or what they are.

(Pookie though dwarfed by legend still in this pic even though legend is still a pup here himself is top dog legend stands just to the side not daring to take the stuffed hamburger pookie has in her possession) You cannot take a wolf puppy and TEACH them how to howl, they start howling automatically by a couple weeks of age. They will even start howling if for example a beeping sound goes off, or a fire truck sound from a t.v occurs.

You cannot take a wolf puppy and teach them how to hunt to survive in the wild, and then release them. There is NO way on earth any human being on this planet is capable of teaching wolves how to hunt elk, moose, deer etc. This can only be taught by other *wild* born and raised adults. Prey drive is inherent, a wolf puppy will automatically start to stalk all on it's own things that move, they will give chase and try to capture moving insects, and as they grow older mice, birds and the like. They need to be taught how to work as a pack unit to bring down larger game ESSENTIAL for survival, especially in harsher climates. A typical Gray wolf cannot subsist on eating lemmings, and birds alone.

You cannot take a wolf puppy and teach them even the basics of being a wolf as this is inherent already to their nature.

You cannot take a wolf puppy and make them believe you are one of them, they figure out quite quickly you are NOT, this does not mean if you insist on trying to be one of them, they may not apply some harsh wolf rules to your physical person, this is setting yourself up though to become potentially seriously injured, if not fatally so.

The goal at all times is to ensure you do not set up this captive wild animal to fail, if you think you can take a wolf puppy and just because you have bossed around your dogs for years, and they have done what you told them to do because you said so, you expect a wolf pup will follow along accordingly to such a plan, think again.

You think you can throw them into a dog pen and expect them to be content and happy, and not become a pacing, stressed out potentially aggressive wild animal think again. Wolves grow up and as different as a 2 year old human toddler is, from a 6 year old child, the toddler is content to allow adults to tell them what they can do, and how to do it withot too much resistance, but by 5, 6 you truly start to see a LOT more independance, and that child will now push their limits, not to mention their parents away so they can tie their own dang shoe laces!.

If you expect to throw them into a crate and expect them to like travelling around in your car like your dog think again.

If you expect them to be trained like your dog, because you have trained dogs all your life and are GOOD at it, think again.

People who bring wild animals into their world as PETS will set such an animal up to fail, in the end it will be only the wild animal to suffer the most, with potentially that ignorant human learning a dangerous lesson.

At least pookie has some advantage being a canine, she has some better grip on such. Regardless of her size, as she has proven to me time and time again, it is more attitude.

Her motto

I think I can...
I think I can...


Well from this lil human gal, I pretty much think the same way.

So some people may say, "Okay so he respected her , and got along with her when he was a pup himself what about now as a fully grown adult wolf?"

Take a look at the following pic taken this week of Pookie and Legend, I brought him into a separation pen and brought her down for a special visit together, apart from the other wolves. If legend had HIS way yes I can honestly say he would enjoy living with her still, but he is still a wolf, and she is very much a little dog. So of course it could not realistically work full time. I take much enjoyment whenever I allow such meetings however.

(Legend rolling over submissively to pookie, the next blog will be called (Special Friendship) You will surely enjoy the photos that will in that blog of legend and pookie together.)


TOM said...

I recently saw a video of sled dogs playing with a polar bear and so this was not hard to believe..great story and pictures (-:

kotybear said...

Great story and pictures!

Will said...

What a nice read! I can see how Pookie wormed her way into your hearts. It is interesting how all in the dog family seem to establish their roles at the beginning and hold them for life. It so often has nothing to do with who is bigger!


Stacey Huston said...

great to see you back online,(feeling better?) When I started reading this post,It cracked me up. I thought you were going someplace else..lol I LOVED your description of pokie the demon dog..great read and fantastic photos of legend. I would have loved to cuddle up with the BIG puppy and feed him from the bottle too.. Heck I would love to just cuddle up and nap with him now. What a beautiful boy!!
I can realate to the over bonding. The last hawk I worked with was over bonded to humans, therefore the outcome could have been tragic, but it worked out and the bird was placed at an educational facility to teach people about hawks and what not to do..Story will be on falconry page later.. anyhow Thanks so much for sharing your story..

Carol said...

Sky, what a great story about Pookie and Legend. I can see Pookie has a real role in your world, very important for the socialisation of your wolves. Pookie is lucky to have found such a wonderful family. Greetings from a very warm Sydney. Carol

The Fearless Blog said...

Sky, thanks for this great post.

Shared it with my boys. The little one, 10, had many questions, so I explained and showed him how the pictures told a story about Legend and Pookie. He loved the posting, so we will both be returning together to read and see more pictures of the beautiful animals that live in this magnificent place.

Walt said...

Wonderful, you seem to have all your heart desires. A wonderland filled with loveable creatures, and a handsom good natured man to look after you. Not that you need looking after. What about the cost? This kind of adventure takes a lot of hard work and money.

Mark said...

Wonderful post Sky. They are adorable.

dinahmow said...

Hi! I came over from Carol's blog (our blog connection is paper art!)and would like to say thank you for (hopefully!) educating people about the folly of imprinting and habituating.
I've done a little raptor rehab and also had a couple of birds that were unreleasable. It's sad.
Looking forward to more wolf stories.

Walt said...

I am not going to worry about you!

zhakee said...

I love all the photos of the little wolf pup, very sweet little thing. Your commentary on raising wolf pups is very informative.

Walt said...

You will be back soon, I have faith.

Emila Yusof said...

Namaste Sky! Legend and Pookie are so adorable!

Bird said...

Namaste! What a fascinating and thorough account of raising a wolf. I once met a forest warden in Poland who had attempted to raise a wolf cub that had been stolen by German poachers (they had killed it's mother and kept the cub as a pet)I'm sorry to say it's a sad story. He did his best, with the intention of trying to release the wolf into the wild. This meant that he deliberately did NOT habituate him as much as he could have been. The wolf couldn't help but form an affectionate bond with him though, and could neither live in the wild or happily as a captive. It was heartbreaking. The man was distraught at his failure and the wolf was half crazy. The wolf ended up being used in an educational program describing the perils of habituation and raising a social animal away from it's "folks", and the warden was his handler. When we walked away from his enclosure, the wolf howled and howled. I have never forgotten that sound, or the look on the man's face, either.