Sheep in wolves’ clothing

They have long been the villains of the animal kingdom — even in children’s stories. But nothing is much more further from the truth.

I’ve long had an affinity for wolves and its species which includes the beloved dog.

Perhaps it’s because the Jolivet blood line has deep roots in a place called Rivière du Loup, Quebec, Canada (River of the Wolves). My grandfather was born there. And maybe it’s because my own Igor has so many wolfish features. In any case, I’ve long felt a kindred spirit with the wolf.

I recently learned of a wolf reserve right here in the Commonwealth, where they raise wolves and teach humans of other humans’ efforts to allow this beautiful creature to slip into extinction.

Wolf Hollow is in Ipswich, a stone’s throw from the fishing mecca of Gloucester.

Last Sunday my pack and I visited Wolf Hollow, and we each came back with a renewed love, respect and concern for the wolf.

The hour-long presentation was given in front of the reserve’s serene natural habitat, where we could watch one pack in motion.

The wonderful folks at Wolf Hollow know their stuff and love the wolves unconditionally. It’s not a place to go to “pet a wolf,” as these creatures are not fond of contact with humans.

What struck me most was how loyal and loving these creatures are to their pack-mates: a lesson that would benefit many human families.

A prime example of this is what happened there a few years back. The alpha wolf died, but his story didn’t end there.

He was laid out in the habitat and his children each went up to the body and nudged it, as the staff told us, “As if to say, ‘Hey dad, wake up.’”

The wolf was buried and was covered with a mound of rocks and boulders. That night, one-by-one, the survivors let out a mourn howl (wolves howl as a group under normal circumstances).

Their routines were disrupted for several weeks as they continued to mourn.

Now, years later, the wolves still bring “gifts” to the site; bones from a feeding; frogs, etc.

For the 90 minutes we were there, I couldn’t take my eyes off these wonderful creatures in their natural environment.

They were far from evil and menacing. I was extremely moved by the visit and awestruck at their behaviors and instincts; wishing mankind could learn a lesson from them.

Thanks to man’s ignorance, wolves are endangered in this country — for no good reason at all.

This tiny column can’t do justice to the experience of visiting this reserve. To learn more visit wolfhollowipswich.org. Even better, visit Wolf Hollow in person. Maybe you’ll get to see Jelly, a 16-year-old wolf (the average life-span is eight years). She captured my heart, especially since Jelly was my nickname as an adolescent. But I loved them all — just a pack of God’s creatures, great and small.

davejolivet@anchornews.org


© 2017 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing  †  Fall River, Massachusetts