Chaco is fourteen weeks old today, and
we are starting to see more and more of his wolf appearance and wolf nature. As shown in this quick snap I took with my phone,
he carries his head low, and has begun to demonstrate that characteristic lobo lope.
Yesterday, we went to the vet for
a checkup, to get the vaccinations he can tolerate, and to have his nails clipped. They almost had to put the clinic in lockdown
and call the SWAT team to accomplish the latter. From the sound of his screaming and shrieking and the look of the three-person
team it took to hold him down to trim his nails (not to mention the blood smears everywhere, because while he fought and wriggled,
he caused one of the techs to get into his quick and that resulted in some bleeding), you would have thought they were peeling
his skin off. Noticing the wide eyes and stunned faces of the reception staff as we checked out, I could only imagine how
relieved they were to see us go... until the next scheduled appointment!
Although I work constantly to handle Chaco in
play, in the training we do, and especially when he is sleepy, he periodically reminds me that no matter how much I do, he
is not just a dog. He is a WILD thing. As such, his training is limited to what we could hopefully expect of a great heaven
beast like him... which will not be the same things as a domesticated dog is willing to do. And even in play, Chaco will occasionally
have totally unexpected periods of going "wild," and get completely out of control...his eyes like two amber lasers,
his legs bolting as fast as they can take him from one end of the area to the other and around and around, over and over again,
his ears back, tail straight out, his jaws open with tongue flapping. As he performs this amazing high-intensity storm-dance,
he vocalizes constantly, growling and yipping, running as fast as he can and for all he is worth—rejoicing that he is
a wolf, that he is a wild thing, that he is Creator's finest expression of a four-legged predator this side of a grizzly,
and that he rules his world. It's an amazing thing to see! When he does this, I am reminded of why I invited a wild thing
into my life in the first place and that I wouldn't wish him to be any different, so long as he and the world around him are
safe for him to be as he is. This requires diligence, sacrifice, and responsibility on my part, all of which are met with
Seeing Chaco go "wild," I think of how we, as humans, talk about going WILD, or about being WILD about something.
Sometimes we mean "going insane" or getting totally out of control. While the wolf pup genuinely seems "out
of control" when he goes native on us, if I take the time to evaluate what is going on, I don't think of it that way.
I remember that he is expressing his true nature, and I am happy that he feels safe to do so. While he does it in ways that
are tornadic, even inconvenient, sometimes annoying, they are not threatening or harmful. Is he really out of control, and
if so, what was controlling him? The domestication of life among humans and other four-leggeds or his instinctive nature?
In the safe environments we provide for him, it is both kindness and treasure for him to have opportunities for his wild nature
to be expressed safely. This calls us two-leggeds to live differently, as was the case when we were blessed to live with Tiwa,
and with Mountain before that.
And there is this, too: sometimes when we humans speak of being WILD about something, we mean that we are so in love with
something, that we feel such unrestrained passion that we cannot resist whatever is pulling us out of our social constraints...our
"wiser" mind. When we feel that much joy in something, or about life itself, we cannot find a better way to say
it than that we are WILD about it. That's what I see in Chaco when he goes WILD. And I'm just WILD about him.