Last Edited: Oct 14, 2008 8:48 AM
Our family has had a very rough year to say the least. I lost my
Dad in April after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, a few months later
in July we lost my sister-in-law who left behind a 7 month old baby, our
best friends moved away, and then last week I had to put my wolfdog Metis to
sleep due to cancer.
This might sound bad to some, but the loss of my dog has hit me the hardest.
My husband and I do not have children, so our pets are our children.
And we love them like they are our children. I got Metis at the pound when I
was looking for a search and rescue dog that I could train to take out on
rescues. He was only six months old and already 8o pounds! They
thought he was a Malamute/Akita mix but at about age one I started to notice
some very wolfy behavior, such as digging six foot dens in the backyard,
pacing, hunting, stealing, howling, etc. And as he lost his puppy fat,
he became very wolfy in appearance. After consulting several dog
experts, we realized I had a wolf-hybrid mix. Very cool. But
The thing about wolfdogs is that although the wolf part sounds cool, it is
very challenging. You have to love the wolfdog more than you love your
furniture, possessions, and home. You have to except holes in your
yard (dens) and lots of money to escape proof your yard. I spent
thousands of dollars replacing couches, tables, fencing, landscaping and
shoes! They have serious separation anxiety! Our best friend also had a
wolfdog and she always had to be with them, otherwise she would literally
try to eat her way out of their house to find them. Wolfdogs are not
good with children. Older children were okay with Metis but definitely
not young children. Sometimes smaller pets are looked at as prey.
Metis knew he could not touch the cats, but he really really wanted to.
We had to constantly remind him that kitties are not food. Take all of those
challenging things you get with a new puppy but multiply it by ten!
That's what you can expect with a wolfdog-sometimes their entire life!
You also have to be aware of the laws in the area you live in. Here in
Montana, if you live inside the city limits they can legally come and take
your wolfdog and usually euthanize it. If they had realized in the
pound that he had wolf in him, Metis would have been immediately put down.
No chance for adoption at all. Thank the Goddess he was still to young
for them to recognize the wolf in him when I found him. Yes he was
very destructive at first, but he was soooo worth it.
I have had dogs that I have owned and loved before, but I have never had the
spiritual bond that I found with Metis. He was the brightest soul I
have ever met and the truest friend I will ever have. We knew what each
other was thinking and there was almost a telepathy type thing between us.
If we had guests with older children playing in the yard I would tell him to
watch out for them and let me know if they were getting into trouble.
He would stick his head through the dog door and give me an "uff" to let me
know I needed to come out. He would also tell on the cats when they
were on the counter. That one was a high pitched whine that said,
"Mom, they're on the counters again!" The cats were often grumpy with
him! We'd have conversations with him and he would try to talk/howl back
answers to us. And if you looked in his eyes, they were not dog eyes.
There was something more intelligent lurking in those eyes, something with
more fire, more life in them.
He liked to hold hands! When I had cancer and was bedridden sometimes,
he would faithfully lay by my side and comfort me. He started putting
his paw in my hand and would leave it there for hours sometimes. I
would squeeze his paw and he would squeeze back. He would curl his
toes around my hand and kind of squeeze. He would also do this to
guests who would be amazed. Lots of dogs put their paws on you.
Not many actually hold your hand through troubled times.
He also loved his squeaky toys although they didn't last long. He
loved ripping out the stuffing and getting to the squeaker inside.
Then lots of times he would take them outside and bury them under the deck.
One time we had a repairman who came to fix something and had to go under
the deck. He came back out and said, "I don't want to go back under
there. It's really creepy!" Not understanding what was so
creepy, he took me out to show me. Under the deck was a graveyard of
toys. The "burial ground" was littered with teddy bear heads and arms
and legs sticking out from the dirt. And yes it was creepy.
One year he opened all of our Christmas presents under the tree because he
knew there was a squeaky somewhere in there. Squeakies went in the
stockings after that and he would stare up at them until Christmas. He
knew which one was his stocking too!
After 13 years together I have so many stories but I'll stop there. I
think the thing I find most heart breaking is that our pets are so loyal and
faithful to us but society does not allow the same grieving process as it
does for humans. There is no obituary in the paper, no funeral, no
time off work for grieving. There is not the same empathy for the loss of a
pet as there is for humans although many times we like our pets a lot more!
So this is how I'm honoring my Metis. By letting everyone know what a
wonderful soul he was. In the next couple of weeks, I'm getting Celtic
wolf paws tattooed on the top of my feet with the words, "Dluthchara Go
Brach, agus i gConai", which is Irish Gaelic for "Best Friend Forever and
Always". In my heart we will always walk together.
Rest in peace my friend, my child, my kindred spirit brother.
I will love you always....
Robert and Shannon K.