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

Friday, November 7, 2008

Living With The Wolf Man

Namaste' all hope everyone has had an amazing summer, its gone by as usual too quickly out here I have pics of the creation of yet another wolf habitat to post, and a few blogs to post about when I get some extra time so enjoy this for now. I also wish to say THANK YOU to the kind gentleman that left a message on my answering machine. Imagine my surprise to hear someone care about me continuing to write in this ol blog. I had tears well up actually. So thank you ever most kindly for that kind of support dear sir.

I have recently more or less ignored commenting when asked about a particular program airing on National Geographic. National Geographic was always an icon to me growing up, something I looked up to as a child, for who didn't revel in seeing their programs occasionally, or reading their books?

I think I have been in purgatory shock, and needed time to chew on the latest for a while before I spit it out, to be recycled by one of the wolf's here, remember the 3 R's my friends (Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle *grin)

So I am going to chew this a bit more, and spit it out to reduce my sense of frustration ,so that legend can quickly snatch it up and re-use it *yum yum he says!* where then it then can come out on it's own unsweet natural time, to be recycled by the dung bugs.! *grin* See all creatures in life are needed.

Many SERIOUS professionals that work with wolves, will work hard to not misrepresent what a wolf is, that means no sugar coating, yet at the same time walking the fine line of not attaching other just as harmful labels to create sensationalism.

Lets face it compared to the human species wolves actually could be considered quite docile, and extremely limited when it comes to violence and extremism, for they simply don't have the ego our species were so blessed with to create such things, just because they can.

The program I speak of today is called "Living with the Wolf Man" starring Shaun Ellis, and now his latest love Helen Jeff's, whom has joined the ranks with Shaun and his pack. http://animal.discovery.com/tv/wolfman/about/

Shaun strikes me as a simple, yet complex man , (nothing wrong with that) but whom has been brought into the spotlight due to less than conventional methods of raising some wolf pups in captivity, (wolves that were not orphaned out of the wild, but captive wolves, where wolf pups are born and pulled so they are socialized to humans) This method is not unlike many other wolf facilities (including my own) whom wish to make life less stressful, and a little easier on the animals, than if left to be completely wild in a domesticated situation.
However, it is not as simple as this being a case of just less conventional, or I would not be touching any of this story at all, for I am a big believer, and promoter of everything holy unconventional.
I have watched the first program in this new series with Shaun, and I would have found it entertaining as in "What a great cartoon!" type of entertainment, sadly this was no cartoon, and I found it so full of ignorance, I could not possibly laugh. This program contained not just unconventional methods, but potentially dangerous ones, of a line I feel people simply should not cross, one of respect and honor for what another species is.
At the same time, I could not help but be fascinated and my eyes glued to the screen watching this. I had to sit there and question myself incredulously as to why. I mean it goes against everything I believe in or most of what I do in regards to upbringing a wild animal in captivity.

I would think I should have been turned off by what I saw, but I wasn't, and that is the student in me I guess, wishing to explore all areas of life, and what others have to teach, even if it seems to go against the common path and mainstream way. Even if it seems to anger me, or make me feel utter disbelief. I wanted to reach out beyond my initial feelings with this, and explore it.

But I also have to address the concerns. If this was some private place, without children being subjected to this sort of education it would be easy to turn away, and hope for the best that the person didn't learn a true lesson someday of winding up dead in a serious challenge.

But then again, that fall out would be just as harmful as well to wolves in general. I am all for being different and pushing the envelope in life, we all in our life do things, say things, that may not be considered the *right* thing to do or say. That is the beauty of evolving and discovery or self and of living truly free.

But there is a sacred line, one unseen, and when crossed can create not just a personal (samsara) hell, (which is the responsibility of the persons own choices) but that CAN have a ripple effect, and when ones own choices affects another's in such a way as to cause harm, it crosses that line. Has Shaun physically harmed anyone? NO, Shaun appears to truly love the animals in his care, this is obvious to me. I am not talking that kind of harm, harm comes in various ways, including educational harm.

Here is a man whom obviously likes the spotlight , he is good at it, (the camera loves him! ) and he is the right personality for that kind of thing, he has a gift in that sense (I can see kids loving this guy in factual presentations, heck I like the guy even, seriously, I do and I have not even met him) I would gladly embrace this man and invite him into my home with ease, as I truly do believe no matter, I still am a student not just a teacher in life. So would never pass up the opportunity of meeting another in the middle.

Respect of everything wild means simply leave all ego at the doorway to the soul ;0) it means when out even trekking in it, that there should be an awareness that this is a shared world, and one where another should at all times take heed, and hold respect close.

I want to take apart the description of what the newest program is about, it may not reach as many people as I would like, but I owe it to my own wild friends and ongoing work.

I want to make it clear this is not about Shaun Ellis or Helen Jeff's, they are who they are and I have no problem with people being THEMSELVES. They both appear to be fun loving people, good people, that care. But people in any educational sector, where they are looked to as a source of factual information, have a GREAT responsibility to those that may become students, whom may then also turn around and repeat what they hear and see, to become teachers. I cannot turn away as someone who owns and operates, a licensed pure wolf center, and whom has worked professionally as an educator for a number of years.

Those whom hold great responsibility, hold great power!

If anyone were to go off into the wild, get down on all fours and act wolf to try and be *accepted* into a wild wolf pack, they (the wolves) would either think this is one crazy scary dude I'm outta here, or rip them to pieces.

Wolves, and many other wild critters when raised from bottle-feeding stage, automatically accept and bond to those that rear them, (even if another species) and unless you break a trust (easy to do with wolves as they are much less forgiving than your dog is) you will always be accepted.

I don't have to smell, and act like them, in order to have them accept me into their world, in order for me to see all sides to who they are. They don't keep all they know from me like a human being would, because they want to keep all their *wild* secrets, within the ranks of their *own kind*. They speak to me every day, and I have seen all sides to what makes them tick. Wolves don't have the ego/ability to lie and hide who they are. Their ways are not shown and taught, to only those whom try and act like them. I am addressing some points in this article about Shaun http://animal.discovery.com/tv/wolfman/about

1.) You do not interrupt a wolfs keen sense of smell if you have any sugar. There has never actually been any scientific studies to prove such a thing. (Sugar is not good for YOU, and has the ability to impact your own immune system for hours at a time when consumed, but will NOT disturb a wolfs keen sense of smell as is stated in the above article at animal discovery (they make sugar sound like kryptonite ) You do NOT need to EAT like a wolf in order to be accepted by a wolf, and it definitely won't keep you safe if you eat like them, as is stated in the first episode of this series.

2) If after three years the wolves have been around her as is stated, and have come to know who she is, even if they have met through the fence, and she has able to pet them via that means with no signs of aggression shown towards her, or approached her without signs of aggression, they have accepted her presence.

3) It is stated you ruin your chances of being accepted in the pack if you wear different smells like perfume, that you need to smell the same way to the wolves all the time. I don't wear perfume, or other scents to mask my own smell. But I do believe in just keeping clean (bathing) and allowing my own scent to be a part of me, but if some caretaker wears perfume, they can expect to most likely just be rolled on (or the animal attempt such,) by trying to rub their bodies all over yours! thus a possible jumping up on you to do it, and licked a lot. (Just brace yourself and prepare for it) This is no big deal for an experienced steward. Wearing different smells wont ruin your chances of being accepted. I do like to occasionally put fruit essences on my neck from the health food store, and I smell fruity, I then receive extra special kisses of course.
I don't have to wear the same smelly clothing over and over again without it being washed. In fact there is a very serious danger in giving the advice, of always wearing the same clothing around the animals, and not changing it. IF you have taken this advice, and this is how you work with wolves (always the same jacket, boots, etc all the time every day) then if you were to suddenly change items, you could present that as a test/possible challenge to a wolf. Wolves pay extra special attention to articles they have not smelt, or seen before. If you have always worn the same jacket every day of that animals life, and suddenly come out in a new one, the wolf may wish to examine that literally, and grab it off you, that could draw in the others to do the same, and it could turn into piggy in the middle! (Don't think this could happen? well it has happened to people including a story I can tell myself)
SPECIAL NOTE:When a wolf is a pup you need to mix it up! they need to be subjected consistently every single day to different objects, including different ways you wear your hair. Wear hair in pony tails, up, loose, etc, wear different jackets of different clothing material, from leather to jean, even if pups are raised in the spring /summer/ fall, you should be handling them wearing anything from sandals, to big winter boots, from mitts of all types of material to gloves, to toques and other various hats placed on your head to keep warm, like ski masks. It is IMPORTANT!
I have personally rescued two wolves in the past , where they both had the same neurosis for white knit gloves! that is because their handlers ONLY EVER used leather work mitts, they also had an extra special fondness for baggy sweaters, and jackets. I can wear *anything* around any of the wolves *I* have personally raised, but these wolves, NOT so, and I found out the hard way, of just how the wrong ways were used in raising these two particular animals. They would grab these things right on your body and hands *this is potentially dangerous!* nothing could break them of this either. I came to quiz the former handlers, well just as I had suspected they always wore the exact same kind of jacket and mitts around them, creating a fixation on anything else that differed, from THOSE types of things /materials.

It has been stated that Helen risks her very life (hype and drama) to be *accepted*by the pack, and in particular a certain female wolf within that pack. First off look at the picture at this site http://animal.discovery.com/tv/wolfman/about of them quite happy and content side by side with a wolf putting Helen's life in danger, now if a wolf gets this close to you , they have *accepted* you, if they (*Shaun and Helen) mean *ACCEPT* as another wolf, that will never happen a wolf knows a human is NOT wolf, and though they may apply wolf rules to your physical person if you INSIST on trying to be a different species of animal and gain an acceptance that is simply not possible, you will pay for that as Shaun has in the form of a bloody face and gashes.

5) Adult wolves do not normally regurgitate for each other! They don't sit around chewing up raw or cooked meat, and spitting it back up for adult wolves to scarf up out of their mouths. Wolves are very protective of their food towards other adults within the pack. If an omega has laid claim to *their* share, they will guard it religiously, even from the alpha. Now they wont think your crazy (even if you are) but it serves NO purpose other than them thinking, "Oh thanks! you have food to offer? I'll take it!" You simply put your delicate furless face at risk for being sliced up by razor wire, as they exuberantly take it out of your mouth that's all.

6) The biggest, strongest wolf in the pack is not necessarily the lead wolf. A human that works with wolves does not have to have a great amount of strength and size (Like Shaun obviously has) in order to maintain a respect. I am 5'1 I work out two hours every day, and lead a very healthy active lifestyle, but lets just say many 12 year olds are bigger than me!!!! Leadership is a way of holding yourself. I have seen some very small wolves hold the position of alpha for a great many years. If a wolf is a bully alpha in a pack, they will eventually be taken out/or displaced by the rest of the pack, for they will get tired of a bully. Because I eat lots of vegetables and fruits does not mean I will be seen as an omega by my pack, or no longer accepted. I am a human they are wolves. I do not place myself into a position of acting wolf cause I am not one. I dont want them to treat me like their own kind.

Regurgitation is an instinctual behavior, displayed in adult wolves towards pups starting around 3 weeks of age, for they cannot rip meat off bones yet, thus the mother and other members of the pack throw up partially digested food for them. Adult wolves typically will not do this with each other.

How do any of the above statements have anything to do with respect or acceptance?

Shaun has chosen to not only place *himself* at continual risk in my professional opinion, but also Helen by making her act like himself, and to act like a wolf, when humans are not equipped to have the same mind frame and physical attributes as a wolf. No matter how much a person TRIES to put themselves in *THAT PLACE* , they do not have the same mind frame period, it is acting, like one sees with any actor in the movies. Helen is Not Shaun either, and Shaun gets way with HIS wolves doing certain things, another may get into trouble with, in doing the same things.

I didn't even need to watch this first program to know the wolves accept them both, otherwise the wolf in the picture beside them both (can be seen in the url I provide) would be pawing the ground like a bull, with hackles stiff as porcupine quills and huffing and puffing up one heck of a dirt storm in his/her path. Or running away terrified. Maybe a combination of both even.

A wolf makes it VERY clear when they don't like someone, or won't accept them, and one thing I have learned is if a wolf does not accept you from the start, they NEVER will, you cannot regurgitate enough food to convince them otherwise! If you meet a wolf in captivity where their energy instantly clashes with yours, you can't make enough nice...sorry.

I am including a few photos of my pure Dharma, seeing someone she doesn't like, and NEVER will.*grin* no matter how many hot dogs are given to her, she'll take your hotdog and then proceed to charge you if you turn your back. The series of photographs are of a wolf's (My Dharma's) highly agitated state upon seeing someone (a person) she does not like, and hasn't since puppyhood. This person has NEVER hurt her, or done a single harmful thing to her, she simply dislikes him. Her emotions will go back and forth, she is very fearful and the fear periodically turns to bouts of aggressive behavior due to this fear. I literally took 300 photos of the interaction but can only post a few here to give you an idea.

Dharma can hear the person's voice and recognizes it, her hackles go up.

Here is a closer shot where you can see the raised dorsal cape (just below the shoulder blades) and her neck ruff. Entire body is held stiff and rigid.
Here she quickly backed up in fear note her tail tucked and her body slightly lowered ready to spring into action.Every once in a while someone will spot wolf language in action unknowingly. "Why is so and so looking up, and why do they keep moving their heads like that as if to the sky?" Well, This is a highly agitated sign, a really confident wolf may lay down or stand, either close to, or a distance from the thing upsetting them, with their backs away from, or facing the person head on that is agitating them, and slowly make a movement with their neck and head as if looking to the sky. In this case Dharma is too fearful and agitated to lay still, so she is moving around and I catch her in this photo looking up slightly. The head toss is a very slow subtle movement. It can vary from what you see in this picture, all the way to the head being placed in such a position where the muzzle is pointing straight up, as if the animal is going to howl but doesn't .
Have you ever watched your dog go into a play bow? Well wolves will also *play/test bow* as well, similar to your dog, and it not mean anything but instigating a play/test session. But when displayed in context with anxiety/fear/aggression/agitation, the bow is far from playful. An agitated wolf will paw the ground like a bull using either one front paw, two front paws and come up from the bow, or use all four paws to scratch at the ground. Dharma used all forms during her agitation in these pictures. This is an aggressive sign.

Here she is getting ready to scratch at the ground her stare is hard and focused and she is consistently pursing her lips together, eliciting a very soft puff sound coming out. Wolves will also make a very rapid puffing sound over and over, like a oof, oof sound, along with occasional deep short alarm barks. She performed both the fast puffing/blowing sound ,as well as the very soft , slow, whisper puff and blow
Here you can see the ground just in front and gathered under her paw, as she brings it up
Here above Dharma is in a complete bow right before bringing both legs up scratching, her stare hard and focused.
Look closely at her eyes and mouth, this is what I mean by a HARD stare, it is direct and unflinching, she is not avoiding eye contact but has this person in her direct line of sight. Because I was so close to her I could hear a VERY soft (oof, sound come out like a breathy whisper)
Here she launches into a full blown alarm howl/bark the sound is more choppy in sound. Note tail tuck.
I had the person of her oh so fond affections, turn their back as if to walk away and then she sprang into action and ran at the fence towards the person very intent/focused. Her fear, temporarily taking back seat to the attack mode she launches into here, brought on by the fear towards the person.
As the person *appears* to be moving away her hackles flatten slightly, she lowers her body closer to the ground, tail only slightly tucked and kinked to one side showing apprehension and wariness. Her ears slightly flattened back. Her entire posture is undecided in how to feel and she has conflicting feelings occurring. She is ready to move swiftly within a nano second if need be. Wolves have the reflexes of super race car drivers.
Here Dharma proceeds to mark out of fear, nervousness and instinct. This is her territory she wants this scary person to know it.

The person has now gone, but Dharma remains on fairly high alert for an hour afterwards

Shaun has gotten by (not without being scathed mind you ;0) i.e bloodied up face ) despite of , not because of his methods. It has worked for him with HIS personal private wolf group, up to this point.

Apply ANY of his methods on any wolf he did not rear from bottle-feeding stage, his methods could have dire consequences. As it is they still could, someone can go years until one day, the wrong move made too many times for THAT particular personality of animal, and they can and will show you exactly where you went wrong. Heck, if I was getting a bloodied face I would know I was doing something wrong.

It is good to always be inventing outside the box when dealing with wild animals, you cannot *think* only conventional with them, each personality will be different from the next, thus the application may also need to be shifted..

Will I continue to watch this program? yes I will, but only so that I can prepare myself for the ignorant calls and emails I will get from those people who blindly believe what they are seeing, and wish to apply such methods to other wild animals.

I encourage youth to be themselves despite critics out there, to walk to the beat of their own music, created along the journey. But one must also keep in mind that while treading softly on hallowed ground, and going against the grain, that there may be others watching us, whom will also become teachers. That our choices may have consequences for someone else we don't even know. For it is true we are all connected and linked more closely than we even realize.

Wolves have variant personalities, Take any litter and how one pup may respond and react positively to being reared using one method by a handler, the next pup may not necessarily be as open to thus a handler has to dig back into their tool belt of ideas and tricks to pull out and find something that will work. But there are some very basic rules of handling wild animals too and a handler can expand from those basic rules.

I was asked my thoughts a while back from a visitor why there is such a strong connection with wolves for some, this was my summed up response.

I think there is no more a bond with wolf and man than there is with wolf and deer, we are all connected. Any animal species including our own have shared the experience of living amongst natures elements, and surviving them. Humans disconnected from the land or the majority did long ago, but the remnants of those wild relationships forged (both with other animals and nature itself) still remain within our own wild psyche. :0) we sense it, feel it deep within, but it is more like some long ago forgotten siren song now, that still calls to us, to remember. It is such a powerful song we recognize it, but don't.

The wolf still stands for that wild life, that life that is hard and unforgiving in nature, we recognize that life though no longer want it realistically, crave still the beauty within the savagery that exists, when one truly lives WILD. There is also the point to be made of recognition of anything that may have *similar* family structures at least enough to remind us of our own family. All animals know how to instinctively relate to one another, predator and prey.

There is a book written by Raymond Coppinger called Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution: you would find that book very very interesting I think, and is a number one on my list above. But here's a bit more about that for your eyes


To sum this series up If people watch this, I hope the program encourages people to do more research. Shaun has not done more than anyone else before to research these predators, as the first program states in this series. Shaun is a novice compared to many whom have lived with and worked with wolves such as The exemplary research facility Wolf Park started back in the 70's by Wolf Biologist Erich Klinghammer and someone I call friend.

I consider only the wolves experts, at the same time I know I have grown over the years to become a professional educator. I don't have enough hands of people and facilities that have all added to understand more about the wolf in a factual no nonsense way. How many have contributed, and I think Shaun has contributed as well regardless of my other views.

I have a video here sent to me by Erich as a gift, and it shows Erich walking right up to a pack of wolves as they are already eating a deer carcass, and proceeds to take a deer by the leg and move it to a different area. He has never had to get down on all fours and pretend to be a wolf in order to be respected by the wolves, they do not attack him as he takes their deer, nor do they even growl at him. You can see nothing but respect between the man and the wolves.

It is said that anything that gets people more interested in wolves even if the info. is not correct is a good thing. YES it is a good by product that more people will be called to learn about this predator. However I do not want to ever pick up a newspaper, and read about someone else going out and buying wolf pups, repeat what Shaun has done, only to wind up dead (because what has worked for Shaun has worked for HIM) As I have stated earlier on with such power of educating, comes a great responsibility.

The positives? I really like they show how to properly house a wolf in captivity, and that they show these animals requiring a lot of enrichment and stimulation, (which they provide) that this is not some backyard in the city, holding wild animals. I like they show the strength, power and seriousness of the wolf, they do not portray them as bengi the dog. These wolves have been well socialized, so they are not stressed in captivity. I have a feeling if I were to visit, the wolves would come right over to me at the fence and I would even most likely get a kiss. I can honestly say it would not be on an account of consuming liver either. ;0) or getting down on all fours so they can make sure I have not consumed any sugar. :0)

What I like about Shaun is that he is not afraid to just be who he wants to be, that is not easy to do. He is his own unique person and is not someone content to be boxed in. I can so easily picture myself even getting along with this man quite well , and for as much uncommon ground between us, there would be found much in common. I would love to ask him in person about his methods of application. I don't think this man is an absolute idiot, like some other professionals I know think he is. I believe there is a lot of ignorant information portrayed in the program true, but on the contrary he is much smarter than others may give him credit for, otherwise he would not be where he is today.

I do wish Shaun Ellis and Helen Jeffs the best of luck however on their life with the wolves, and with each other. The love they both share together is quite obvious as well, I wouldn't eat some of the stuff she eats, for anyone. ;0)

Great lessons come from many sides and perceptions.

So if you watch this new series, take from it what you will, BUT do further research. Shaun's path and perceptions are not absolute, (they simply work for HIM to date) and if you appy the same methods of madness, to wolves in your own care, you may find yourself on the wrong end of some very sharp teeth someday. ;0)

copyright skylar breton A Wolf Adventure; A Wild Insight


Walt said...

Sky, you have a very pleasant voice indeed; I don't know what I was expecting, maybe SHEENA QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE, perhaps with a few grunts, and growls. Do you have Bob the hunter? ;-)
I may come up that way as soon as we get some nice weather again. I will call again and let you know. Thing are not looking too good down here in the U.S. from my intelligence data, it would appear that a revolution, or a major civil war is imminent. I just may need to find a safe place to camp. These hard times will be sure to put extra stress on all God's creatures.

Bird said...

It's great to see you back! I have not seen this programme and as I have no TV I probably never will, but I applaud your desire to respect and preserve otherness in any species, it is the thing I like most about your writing and the thing I believe most readers should take from your words. Trying to act like a wolf is probably fulfilling some desire of the presenters own rather than any genuinely useful bonding strategy and that would be ok if it did not spread potentially dangerous ideas, but it seems that this may not be the case. It's good to see someone who cares enough and has the knowledge to explain the possible dangers of his approach actually getting out there and letting us know. I hope many people will read this and think carefully.

Batman567 said...

isn't the wolf a wonderful creature? wild and untamed - that's what makes them so beautiful. i love your photo sequence.

great blog - keep it up!


Stacey Huston said...

Hello dear sky.
I have not yet watched this show. Not a big fan of "Drama" or at least pretend or invented drama. Have too much real life drama, to need to invent some.. could be a good show if it was "Real or realistic" and the advertisments don't portray that...but as I said, I have not seen it, so will try to refrain from judging