Wolf Song of Alaska News

Canis lupus

Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / December 19, 2007

To the editor:

These recent wolf visits bring to mind an encounter I had during the summer of 1964. At that time you could drive your car all the way through Denali Park. My wife and I had driven almost to the Eielson lookout when we discovered a caribou herd traversing the other side of a valley from the road. We stopped to watch this spectacle as had another car perhaps 200 feet ahead of us. As I got out of the car I noticed a dog apparently with those people standing maybe 50 feet down the slope from them.

Presently I noticed that the dog was now in front of us. It was rather long-legged but looked like a husky. It had one bad eye and looked a bit scruffy. Thinking that the people had not noticed that their dog had wandered off, I called to it and walked toward it holding out my hand. The dog stopped and looked at me and then looked at the caribou herd and then proceeded on.

I followed it, calling "here boy" and the like and when I did it would stop and look at me and then move on again. This kept up until I was quite a way from our car. At this point my wife yelled to me asking what I was doing and I yelled back that I was apprehending the other peoples' dog. She yelled something back. I had to cup my hand on my ear to hear what it was. She yelled again. "That's not a dog!"

I looked at the "dog." The "dog" appraised me with its one good eye and glanced again at the caribou herd. It suddenly occurred to me that this was indeed Canis lupus and not Canis familiaris and it may very well have been thinking that I would be easier to snag than a caribou. We exchanged eye-to-eye contact again and then parted company.

William J. Stringer

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