It’s been a while since I have posted anything about wolves but I’m finally going to respond to a comment I received about three years ago with regards to “White Wolf Moon” and my depiction of Ginn, the wolfdog. A woman came into the bookshop where I worked at the time and informed me that I misrepresented this animal to be cute and cuddly and not the “killer” that wolves are. I have also been (correctly) informed that wolves do not have blue eyes.
First…the book is fiction. Yes the characters and situations are loosely based on people and events I knew back then and contain a lot of factual information but it is still fiction. Ginn is based on a white wolfdog I had met (yes, she had blue eyes) and in subsequent encounters with other animals of her type I found all of them to be very much like the character I portrayed. Second…I did a search for wolfdog photos and sites that featured the crosses and not only confirmed that if treated properly they can be socialized (although not properly domesticated) and that quite a few did peer through blue eyes. I suppose the eyes are indicative of the wolf content (high content would probably negate the blue eyes of the Husky or whatever the other part of the cross). No there are no blue-eyed wild wolves but the fact is there are many blue-eyed wolfdogs out there. By the way the questions I received about Ginn have been answered in “Barking at Yesterday’s Moon”. As for wolves being “cuddly”…come now. We all know that wolves are predatory carnivores and trying to cuddle an actual wild wolf (if you could even find one) is nature’s equivalent of Russian roulette with five rounds in the chamber. That’s the reality. Do I love wolves? Yes but I think “respect” would be a better word.
I find it interesting that, according to a couple of sellers that flog Canadian and British Columbia souvenirs, the two most requested animals are bears and wolves. My local thrift shop will tell you that if it has anything to do with wolves, whether posters or sculpts, they rarely last more than a day on the shelves and Walmart sells out of those wolf keychains before anything else (even though they incorrectly have blue eyes). Tourists spend millions of dollars a year to come to our country to see the wildlife yet we blatantly slaughter these animals under the guise of “control” or “maintenance”. We aerial gun down wolves to “protect” the Caribou then turn around and lease those delicate lands to oil and forestry businesses thus destroying the one thing that these animals need…a safe and secure habitat.
Both the U.S. and Canada are in the throes of election campaigns of sorts and for whatever reason I’m intrigued by both this time around. I’ll pass on commenting on the “hair” aspects of our election…Margaret Atwood said it better than I could:
I just wonder why no-one is using this type of campaign against Trump.
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?