Raised by Wolves

"Were you raised by wolves?", the taunting joke phrase of all media. But to those who were, in fact, raised by a wolf or wolfish animal, the phrase is no joke. And the answer to the famous question is a proud… "YES!"

Imagine that your first toddler memories, the only ones remaining that are important enough for you to remember, are of fuzzy fur, pointy ears and a dark head and muzzle above your head and at your shoulder. In those memories, that fuzzy image was with you at all times. The fuzzy image brought with it a feeling of security. If you lost your balance, you could reach out your hand and support yourself on a fuzzy blanket of strength; you could grab a fist full of it and just hang, if you had to do so… If your imbalance and inabilities caused the world around you to fall in on you, the fuzzy image would jump in the way and protect you. Outside the world of the house, a yard was fenced in for your protection, there you and the fuzzy image were free to roam. During that roaming, you discovered something new about your fuzzy image. If you were in any way threatened by the animals of the outside world, the image changed from a silent and soft to a loud and hard. That fuzzy muzzle opened, a powerful low frequency rumble erupted, the image ran forward, with a speed that you could not comprehend, and it flashed very white, very large, very sharp things at the intruder.

In my case, the fuzzy image was "TweeDee", a pure bred female German Shepherd. She was four years old, and between litters. Even the best human monkey needs a little help, and I was obviously of a size that needed a …lot… of help. So, TweeDee adopted me as a pup. She not only protected me from the unknowns of the outside world, she guarded me away from the dangers inside my own human pack. She may not have been able to define "dysfunctional family" in English, but she certainly knew what it was. She knew what was dangerous, and that the simplest technique was avoidance - for she and the pup to not be seen… She stayed with me, always on guard, till I was four years old. But some types of discipline cannot be done with a German Shepherd mother in charge, so TweeDee was given away.

When I turned sixteen years old, I used the new independence gained by a driver's license and a 135 mile drive. I searched out the last suburban residence were TweeDee was supposed to have been sent. There, I knocked on the front door, and explained to a rather astonished housewife my quest. "She's still alive. She's in the back. But she's gotten dangerous over the last few years. Be careful". At the rear of the matchbox house was a well kept dog house. A fresh white look, a red shingle roof, and it had a large chain that circled around and into its entrance. The path around the dog house was not worn bare. Outside that path, I called "TweeDee", softly, and only once. An obviously old Shepherd slowly appeared. Her coat was still dark, but thin and tattered, and her muzzle was speckled light gray. I squatted and offered an open hand over the path line. I'm not sure what she could really hear, and I could see that her eyes were very cloudy, as she sniffed my hand. But the nose must have been enough, because she then started licking me, wiggling and dancing as best she could. Of course, in her case, it was slow dancing.

No further caution, and back to the trust of twelve years earlier; I came over the imaginary line and hugged her. There we stayed, me crying, she licking. A young human in exploration, an old feeble dog in repose, both reliving a pleasant past moment. About thirty minutes later, I left her… this time, and for the last time. She needed to complete the last part of her life with the family that she had come to know over the twelve intervening years. And the human pup? Well, if you are raised by a wolf or wolf descendent, you will find it difficult to explain how the unique view of the world, as seen through such basic rearing practices, was far beyond the standards of most humans, and you certainly can't explain the wonderful emotion that you feel whenever you hear the phrase:

"…Were you raised by wolves?"

*Don't worry. My sad affect that was generated during this remembrance was immediately treated with Keeshond kisses.