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16 October 2014

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Meetings with Remarkable Wolves

By Vince Smith
February 2007, Herts
A digital story from Sarah's Stories

"In my life I have been fortunate enough to have associated with many animals, yet one of the most memorable times has to be my experience of walking with wolves.

It began a couple of years ago when I became a volunteer at a sanctuary for wolves. The aim of this group is education, showing the public that these animals are not the fearsome creatures they are often portrayed to be.

Arriving first thing in the morning, we are greeted by the eerie sound of howling as the wolves catch the scent of us well before we even see them. Approaching the enclosure, the wolves come up to the fence to see who has arrived. After a couple of months of being around them, the wolves recognise my scent and begin to accept me as one of the pack.

The first time I enter their enclosure is both exciting and scary as they come up to sniff me and get a closer look. A wolf is a pretty big animal and is very powerful; its jaws could easily break my bones.

They brush past my legs, looking around to see who else is here, one of the wolves jumps up at me and I realise how big they are as its nose touches mine. The hierarchy of the pack is vitally important and this wolf is challenging me to see where I fit into the structure. The experienced handlers tell me to 'stand my ground', to 'push the wolf down' and to 'bend down and let it sniff my face'. I do it but am sure the wolf can smell my fear.

The wolf goes on its way, satisfied for now that all is well and I stand, filled with respect for these magnificent creatures and honoured to have been accepted as part of the pack.

Then we put the chains on the wolves and take them for a walk, which is another story..."

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