“The Wolves’ Night Before Christmas”

For the third year running I am continuing my annual tradition.  It is the only blog I have ever repeated.  Whatever race you are, whatever religion you are, wherever you may be — I hope that you are blessed.  And I hope that you care for our wolves who are in peril.  They are our world’s heritage.

Defenders of Wildlife Senior Northwest Representative Suzanne Asha Stone has rewritten what is in my opinion the greatest rendition of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” since its inception.  It will now always be a revered part of our Christmas tradition and I hope perhaps yours as well.  I am grateful for her generosity in allowing me to repost her work.  Happy Howlidays!

The Wolves’ Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the eve before Christmas
And to Santa’s dismay
Came such an icy storm
The reindeer couldn’t budge his sleigh.

As Santa paced and worried
And elves began to scowl
‘Rose a song through the wind:
A wolf pack’s mighty howl.

From the thick of the storm
O’er deep snow on big padded feet
Came eight silvery wolves
Ice and wind could not beat.

Santa’s mouth hung open for a blink
As the wolves lined up in front of his sleigh
Then he sputtered to the elves
“Well… let’s be on our way!”

Santa thanked each wolf
As the elves finished loading the last gift
Then he sprinkled them with fairy dust
Chuckling, “That’ll give you the lift.”

“They won’t believe this in Idaho..”
He laughed, a merry twinkle in his eyes
Then the elves harnessed the wolves
And they took to the skies.

On Lightfoot! On Blacktail! On Windswift! On Howler!
On GreenEyes! On MoonSong! On Hunter! On Prowler!
The wolves’ eyes glowed as they leapt through the storm
Santa wished his own coat could keep him as warm.

That night the wolves even taught Santa to howl
An ancient song filled with hope for Peace and Joy
That this season may bring for all Life on Earth
As they left special gifts for each girl and boy.

‘Twas that eve before Christmas
Santa will always fondly remember
When wolves rescued his mission
That stormy December.

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It’s Everything

Visiting the veterinarian’s office is always an adventure.  Fortunately our wolfies love going so they’re just over-excited and not overly stressed.  We have only ever fed our wolves bison, but lately our girl, Cheyenne, has not eaten and she has gotten so thin I could see her spine.  They ran all kinds of tests and of course I feared the worst — cancer.  But they are in the prime of their lives and, unlike in the wild, I knew they would not be shot simply for being a wolf.  Our vet did bloodwork, ran a urinalysis, and checked all her vitals.  They have only ever eaten buffalo (no grains!) but I suspect they got a bad batch.  Even her brother Dakota stopped eating.  So we switched to a million dollar prescription food which we hope will solve Cheyenne’s appetite and her brother Dakota’s sudden allergy issues.  I do not find it ironic in the least that they cannot have gluten just like their big sister, our daughter.  “Frankenfood” seems to have taken over and I know first hand it affects humans and animals alike.  Our wolfies naturally slim down in the summer, because I believe that is nature”s way.   But to fear for your beloved furry family members is not easy.  The American actor Michael J. Fox said, “Family is not an important thing.  It’s everything.”

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Wake Up

There is nothing that can wake you up in the morning quite like 90 something pounds worth of wolfie standing/sitting upon one’s full badder.  It kills me that people are terrified of him, and yet he is C0MPLETLEY harmless.  In fact, he is just a giant baby!  All he wants is some love and attention.  While the current U.S. administration works to kill nursing mothers and their cubs in their own dens I know the truth.  And I would urge you, whatever your political persuasion, to consider this:  we all share one planet and the entire world’s wolves are in imminent peril.  We need our apex predators.  If you do not believe me, I implore you to see what the Yellowstone wolf pack did for the United States national park system.  Trust me when I tell I tell you it affects us all.  The ridiculous wall to stop illegal immigration only serves to hurt ALL of our endangered wildlife.  Forget political parties and look at the facts regarding “protected” environmental zones.  What is posited to be a human issue is really a wildlife one.  Our animals do not understand boundaries and it is an inhumane, criminal injustice that they are shot the second they unknowingly set foot off “protected” lands.  I am speaking to every county in the world and on every continent.  The fables upon which we were all (mostly) all raised are a falsehood.  Please use your voice!  Sign petitions to protect wolves and any other wildlife in whatever country they are being slaughtered.  In the past I have cited many profound quotes about wolves.  The acclaimed Scottish writer and now resident of London, Martin Miller, has said, “If you turned into a wolf, there’s no reason why you’d become evil and start eating people, is there?  You’d just be a wolf, run around, try to catch rabbits or something.”  And there, my friends, you have the real truth.  It is time for the entire world to wake up.

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The Animals Will

I have not written about our first babies in a while and they tell me they have been sorely neglected.  The wolfies have been well.  Dakota (left) and his sister Cheyenne (right) have finally started to mellow out a bit.  I have dared to put actual pillows back out and thankfully none have been destroyed.  Instead they seem to be reserving all their kills for the toys in their bucket behind the sofa.  Sometimes they even put them back.  Sometimes they bring them to bed.  And sometimes they shred them horrifically, leaving only a red, squeaky plastic heart behind.  After eating solely buffalo their entire lives, they have recently had to change to an unGODly expensive prescription food.  I suspect they got a bad batch of their former vittles but I’m too afraid to take the chance and switch them back.  Our vet consulted with Texas A & M and the only thing everyone is concerned about is whether or not chicken will be a high enough source of protein.  So animal lovers out there, any prayers for their continued good health would be much appreciated.  They are almost eight and in the prime of their lives.  Here is a typical picture of them playing on our dining room floor.  They especially like the tiles because they’re cool, although we are certainly not keeping them out in this Texas heat.  The American author Elizabeth Marshall Thomas said:

“You can look at your dog and see that it’s thinking and has strong feelings.  And if it does, so do wolves.  And if wolves do, so do elephants.  People aren’t the only beings that think and feel.”

Just some food for thought the next time Meatless Monday rolls around.  You might discover you actually like it.  I can guarantee you the animals will.

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Wolf Eyes

I was in the kitchen and I glanced over to see this threesome sprawled out on the floor.  The wolfies love to watch our little one and listen to her; they especially love it when she incorporates their names into one of her stories.  After awhile she got tired and decided to lay on Dakota, joining them in their rest.  She is starting to understand how special wolves are, and that they are NOT dogs.  She has inherited a gentleness and a way about her that will allow her to be comfortable and confident around animals all of her life.  Cheyenne and Dakota are her siblings, and I still think back to the baby bib I had made for her that reads, “Raised by wolves.”  That is not a bad thing.  Research has shown over and over that wolves are social and make strong emotional attachments.  Contrary to (sadly still popular) belief, wolves have an inherent aversion to fighting and will do much to avoid any aggressive encounters.  They are extremely intelligent, sensitive, affectionate, fearless, loving, and loyal.  People who have enjoyed the company of wolves have described them to be confident, tolerant, generous natural leaders, wild and playful, supportive, strong, kind, patient and dignified.  These are many of the traits I believe I have, which is why I have been drawn to wolves most of my life.  My little one already naturally displays some of these and it is my hope she will acquire more from them as she grows.  The American Newbery Medal-winning Jean Craighead George once wrote:

“Oh, those golden-yellow eyes of the wolf!  You can feel yourself being pulled in.  I knew I had been accepted – and that I had spoken to another species.”

That is how I felt the first time I looked into the eyes of my first mixed wolf cub, Nashoba.  My little one is fortunate to wake up every day and be able to look into not one, but two loving sets of wolf eyes.

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For Many Full Wolf Moons To Come

I wondered what all the howling was about.  There were no ambulances and no tornado sirens, both of which hurt our wolf hybrids’ ears.  Sometimes they howl for reasons unknown.  I cannot remember if I have mentioned this in writing before so forgive any possible repetition.  Dakota (our boy who is pictured here smiling) has the highest, purest howl and likes to sit and throw his head back on the long notes.  He’s like a lead soprano in a choir.  Then his sister Cheyenne joins in with the lowest bass you have ever heard.  It’s so funny; I have often said it is like God switched them.  Dakota looks more like their 75% Canadian Timberwolf ancestry but his mannerisms are all Texas dawg.  He will kiss any human if given the chance … and at 6’4″ he’s got a pretty good one.  Cheyenne’s looks favor more their 25% Siberian Husky lineage — but she’s all wolf and very shy.  Something magical happens when they howl; they start to harmonize — with her deep voice rising almost to a husky alto to meet his.  Sometimes Dakota will even come down a bit to a mezzo soprano for her.  When they get going their “sessions” can last for about five minutes.  I just love them:  they are sometimes hauntingly mournful, sometimes excited, but always unforgettable.  Oren Lyons, a Native American Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, said this:

“Listen to the howl of our spiritual brother, the wolf; for how it goes for him, so goes the natural world.”

My father always said to look to the animals.  All of you, wherever you may be, watch out for our wild brethren.  The wolf’s song is connected with our own.  We must be ever vigilant to protect, preserve, and propagate them so that we all may hear the voices of wolves for many Full Wolf Moons to come.

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Another Wolf Family

We are blessed to live in an animal loving neighborhood.  More than once people have helped us when the wolfies managed to get out and run wild.  This time I received texts about our dog Chin Chin.  I had NO idea she was out and we were not at home.  She was my mother’s beloved dog and of course she became ours when my mother passed.  We were in a rush and I let her out the side door … only apparently I forgot to let her back in — and then we left.  If you cannot tell from this picture, this beautiful little dog lost her eye after instigating a fight with three pit bulls.  It was horrific and totally her fault.  Now she doesn’t see that well and I feel terrible that I let her down and forgot about her!  This kind woman was out walking her own dog and found Chinny barking at our front door, with the wolfies whining to get to her.  She did not have to stop, or check a grouchy older dog’s tags, or text me repeatedly; but she did.  Then, rather than leave her, she even carried her into her own home and placed her lovingly on the sofa until we could get over to pick her up.  The parable of the Good Samaritan came to mind where a traveler was stripped, beaten, and left half dead along the roadside.  First a priest came by and then another man, but they both ignored him and kept going.  Finally, a Samaritan came along and helped the injured man.  I have no idea how many people may have passed her, but I do know one woman took the time to read her collar in the dark despite the fear of being bitten, and she stayed with a little dog who was frightened and cold, eventually bringing her back to her own home.  She could have so easily kept going.  But she truly cared.  She cared, she called, and she carried her home.  The American football coach Lou Holtz said, “I follow three rules:  Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care.”  That is precisely what this woman whom I did not even know who lives in our neighborhood did for us.  And she did it without a thought.  I discovered ironically her last name is Wolf!  Of all the names … so Chinny found herself amongst friends — and, for a short while, with another wolf family.

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A Wild Animal Party

The American actor Ezra Miller said, “Life is a grand party.”  There is never a dull moment in our house and this was a rare night when my beloved and I stayed out “late” on a date.  When we came home we were so tired we just went straight to bed.  The first thing I noticed when I woke up was that our toilet paper had been shredded maniacally; witness the photographic evidence.  As I made my way downstairs I noticed bits and pieces of cloth dispersed everywhere in some sort of a macabre arrangement.  Strewn all about our formal dining room was a hideous compilation of “dead” (toy) animals.  A little rabbit was missing her head; a sweet fox was in tatters.  A skunk lay horrifically dismembered with his squeaker next to him — in the shape of a heart that was red.  I stood there trying to piece together what on earth had happened while we were gone.  The only survivors from the whole massacre were two giant plush snakes; one willfully sticking out her tongue and the other lying morbidly on his back.  Upon closer inspection I noticed little green herbs sprinkled all about, covering everything like fairy dust.  Then I discovered the shredded bag.  On it a picture of a rainbow colored cat stared back at me with a decidedly hippy look reminiscent of my childhood.  The tag line read, “Legally enjoyed by Cool Cats in all 50 states.”  My best girlfriend had given our gatos malos some kitty catnip for Christmas.  Suffice it to say they found it.  During my CSI investigation I still have not been able to determine what made the wolfies go on such a tear.  Maybe the cats went so crazy they just decided to join in.  Upon reading the back of the bag, I was pleased to discover the sales from it ensure low-income pet parents and their companion or service animals may remain together if issues arise.  It states their goal is to prevent at-risk animals from being surrendered or euthanized for treatable conditions or behaviors.  So I’m thinking our critters got together and threw a benefit party of sorts; all for a good cause.  Whatever the case, I can tell you this:  it must have been a wild animal party.

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“The Wolves’ Night Before Christmas”

Defenders of Wildlife Senior Northwest Representative Suzanne Asha Stone has rewritten what is in my opinion the greatest rendition of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” since its inception. It will now always be a revered part of our Christmas tradition and I hope perhaps yours as well.  I am grateful for her generosity in allowing me to repost her work.  Happy Howlidays!

The Wolves’ Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the eve before Christmas
And to Santa’s dismay
Came such an icy storm
The reindeer couldn’t budge his sleigh.

As Santa paced and worried
And elves began to scowl
‘Rose a song through the wind:
A wolf pack’s mighty howl.

From the thick of the storm
O’er deep snow on big padded feet
Came eight silvery wolves
Ice and wind could not beat.

Santa’s mouth hung open for a blink
As the wolves lined up in front of his sleigh
Then he sputtered to the elves
“Well… let’s be on our way!”

Santa thanked each wolf
As the elves finished loading the last gift
Then he sprinkled them with fairy dust
Chuckling, “That’ll give you the lift.”

“They won’t believe this in Idaho..”
He laughed, a merry twinkle in his eyes
Then the elves harnessed the wolves
And they took to the skies.

On Lightfoot! On Blacktail! On Windswift! On Howler!
On GreenEyes! On MoonSong! On Hunter! On Prowler!
The wolves’ eyes glowed as they leapt through the storm
Santa wished his own coat could keep him as warm.

That night the wolves even taught Santa to howl
An ancient song filled with hope for Peace and Joy
That this season may bring for all Life on Earth
As they left special gifts for each girl and boy.

‘Twas that eve before Christmas
Santa will always fondly remember
When wolves rescued his mission
That stormy December.

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Santa Claws

I came across this picture of when the wolfies were still little.  You may not be able to tell, but Santa was a little rattled.  I think he was more used to Yorkies than wolf cubs.  Dakota howled and Cheyenne tried to eat his beard.  I found myself silently betting he wouldn’t be back the next year.  Too bad I didn’t place money on that; I would’ve won.  You can see from this picture Dakota and his sister Cheyenne were as sweet as they could be.  I have said before I hope they serve as ambassadors of sorts for their brethren in the wild.  We got them giant femur bones as treats for being so good.  I am so glad Santa visits our furry family members as well; I just love that.  The British veterinary surgeon and writer James Herriot once said:

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”

There is so much we can learn from God’s creatures.  And I think someone who knows that most of all is St. Nicholas, who embodies selfless, unconditional love just as animals do.  I am so glad there is a Santa Claws.

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