What I Learned From a True ‘Lone Wolf’

The term “lone wolf” has become associated with a terrorist who acts on his own. I personally find this extremely offensive and quite inaccurate.
Not only because most wolves hunt in packs, but also because they are usually just looking for food — not to terrorize or create fear for an incomprehensible cause. Wolf hunting also has increasingly become a sport in several states — something I truly abhor.
I am not against the Second Amendment, nor am I against killing animals for food. But the idea of  killing a wolf, or any other animal, for sport, makes no sense to me.
And if you do insist on such activity, give the animal a chance — don’t go after him with an automatic weapon with a sight — because to me there is no sport in that.
But I somewhat digress. Here is my story concerning wolves:
lone wolf
I have always been an insomniac, ever since I was a child. Mom used to say “close your eyes, it’s the same thing.” Pops: “Don’t worry, you’ll sleep enough when you’re dead.”
When I was about eight, we rented a small cabin in Upstate New York, where my grandmother and I would spend the week and my Mom would come on weekends. (Pops had split years before.)
Unable to sleep, I would sit on the steps of the cabin before dawn and just watch and wait for the sun to rise. One morning, I noticed a fairly large dog in the distance watching me. This happened several mornings in a row.
Slowly, I began to coax the dog to approach me (I love all animals, but dogs rank way up there). The dog was extremely cautious, but slowly inched closer to me as the days passed.
But the dog would always disappear when the small street became active — as active as the small road in the sleepy town would become.
I figured that if I offered the dog some food, it might come closer — and it worked. It reached the point where the dog allowed me to pet him and even put his head in my lap.
I was ecstatic — my grandmother less so, because she couldn’t understand why last night’s leftovers were disappearing on a fairly consistent basis.
She didn’t buy my excuse that I got hungry in the morning. I figured I had to give my new buddy a name — so I named him Wolf.
I wasn’t sure what Wolf’s gender was, but I figured the name was generic enough to work. Wolf became more relaxed and friendly as we spent our dark mornings together; I even taught him how to play with a ball!
One morning, I was petting Wolf when I heard a click from across the road. A man was standing there with a shotgun and told me to slowly move away. I asked him why he wanted to shoot “my” dog. He replied: “That is not a dog.”
What happened next totally amazed me. Wolf got up and stood between me and the man with the gun and bared his teeth. The man again told me to move out of the way. I refused.
At this point my grandmother came out, wondering what the commotion was about, told the man to put his gun down and me to go inside.
Wolf bolted.
Several days past and my friend did not return; I was crushed. But then one morning, to my amazement he came back and brought me a bird — a dead bird, mind you — but still a gift.
So what did I learn from my wolf, Wolf? Resilience, loyalty and the need to know who your friends really are. And, yes, after a scolding from my grandmother (you didn’t mess with Mama!) the hunter left us alone.
So the next time you hear the term “lone wolf” referred to aterrorist — or hear of wolf hunters who can’t keep their own herds in check, or hunt for a trophy — remember the true Lone Wolf.
And I miss him — daily.
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