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Life with a wolf


Life with a wolf

Published May 4, 2013 | By Shawna | Edit

It took me a long time to warm up to werewolves.  A surprisingly long time, given that the wolf if my spirit animal, and I raised a high-percentage wolf hybrid and owned him until he died of old age on the winter solstice of 2002.  I guess The Howling and I Was a Teenage Werewolf pretty much ruined it for me.  It wasn’t until I started writing a werewolf story myself that I finally noticed the ‘wolf’ in werewolf, and suddenly they became a lot more interesting as characters.,

One of the most amazing things about living with a wolf is realizing that, even though you inhabit the same space,  you really don’t share the same world.  Their senses are so keen that they get a wealth of information from scents and sounds that you will never know.  I was still married for most of the time that I owned my wolf, and Seamus would know about 10 minutes before the car pulled into the driveway that Daddy was coming home.   He would sit facing the door.  Then the tip of his tail would start to twitch.  Then the whole tail would wag.  Then the whole Seamus would wag. The ex worked a highly irregular schedule, so there were no time clues, and we lived in a neighborhood where many cars were coming and going.  We could only guess that he could distinguish the sound of a particular Geo Metro from all the other traffic noises from well over a mile away.

Whether it was by  scent, body language, or some other clue entirely, I firmly believe he could read intentions.  I took him with me on some errands once.  We parked the car and started for the ATM.  A group of twenty-somethings, just out for Friday night fun, turned the corner and nearly walked into him.  They were a little startled, not expecting to run into a large predator on the city streets, but he just wagged his tail and bounced a little to see if they might want to play.    I got to the ATM, put him into a sit, and started my transaction.  Then I heard a low, rumbling noise and turned to see a scruffy young man holding up both hands and backing slowly away.  Seamus didn’t break the sit, but he let that man know he had no business near his Mommy.  I have no proof, of course, that the man meant me harm, but it was the first time I ever heard my wolf growl.  I think he knew the twenty-somethings on the way to the party were not a danger, and that this man was.

Getting into my werewolf character’s head when I wrote ‘The Beast Within’ for the steampunk anthology Gears and Levers 2 was my way of trying to enter  that special world.   It was, I admit, a whole lot of fun, and I’m enjoying playing with the character more in the novel-length sequel that I’m currently working on.


3 Responses to Life with a wolf


Angela Campbell says: May 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm (Edit)

I really enjoyed this post. When I was in college, I became fascinated with wolves, so much so I applied for an internship to The Wolf Education & Research Center, nevermind my major wasn’t biology or anything to do with wildlife. I was interested in becoming a wildlife photographer back then. eventually my career followed a writing path into journalism, but My love of wolves influenced my book, cry wolf, and I donated most of the proceeds of that book’s sales to “adopt a wolf” through defenders of wildlife. seamus sounds like a great animal. i’m sure you miss him.


Shawna says: May 10, 2013 at 3:39 am (Edit)

I do miss him. Just came back from a trip to the coast, and remembered how much he used to love to dig in the sand. And how silly he was about the carved wooden statue of a sea captain. it always worried him because it looked like a person, but didn’t smell like one. We had neighbors whio had a light-up, life-size nativity scene they would put out every year. That really threw him for a loop. (and I can’t figure out what keys I accidentally hit to make this Caps Lock when the Caps Lock isn’t on. I tried rebooting and using an external keyboard, but the site ‘remembers’ whatever it is I did)


Shawna says: May 10, 2013 at 3:41 am (Edit)

And now I’m thotoughly confused because the comment ‘posted’ normal..Um, I guess it’s no secret that technology and I are not friends.

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