A few weeks ago, just after the release of White Wolf Moon, I received some comments from a friend of a friend regarding the book. Most were favorable and familiar. She liked the humor, philosophy, characters, and dialogue but took me to task for my depiction of Ginn the white wolf-dog. Apparently I made her too tame and cuddly…creating the wrong impression of the wildness of the wolf-dog. She sent a couple of links that went into great detail about these animals and so, after the fact, I did some research.
I spent a week sifting through the information (which generally paints a rather bleak picture) and writing a follow-up explanation for the sequel to WWM that would make it clear that Ginn was an exception (exceptions are mentioned on these sites) and that Evan perhaps wouldn’t have taken her home had he researched the animal first. I have gone into great detail about the cautionary care of the “pet” wolf-dog but after all of this there is a part of me that wonders if I really need to explain myself.
Here’s my dilemma.
Ginn is based on an actual white wolf-dog I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago. I was a parent supervisor for a school field trip to a local lake and I’d managed to sneak away for a few minutes. I was sitting on a path at the edge of the lake when this massive white dog came out of the trees and stood staring at the sandwich I was about to devour. She looked wolf, no question, and I admit to being quite concerned for my safety. Her owner came up behind her and told me she was quite tame and spent most of her days playing with the kittens at the cabin or giving the young grand-kids rides around the yard. I scratched behind her ears and she sat beside me while he told me her story. As he talked she lay down and ate part of my lunch, licked my hand…generally giving the same cuddly and tame impression that I later bestowed upon Ginn. I have met two other wolf-dogs since that time, most recently at the closing of At Second Glance Books in Kamloops. She’s the companion of a talented young musician who volunteered to help us pack books and entertain us by playing a guitar or fiddle while we worked. This wolf-dog is even more of a softie than the first one I met. If I took a break and sat down for a while she’d come sit beside me wanting attention. Scritch behind her ears and she rolls over and wants her tummy rubbed and apparently she spends a lot of time with a ferret crawling all over her.
All three of these animals I’ve met have been incredibly gentle and peaceful souls, a far cry from the generic description on the wolf-dog sites I’ve visited. I find myself wondering if all the research was worth it.
Should my findings be addressed in the sequel which could perhaps cast a different impression of Ginn or should I stick with what I’ve personally experienced?