A journal from my visit to Wolf Park in Battleground Indiana.
April 22, 2007
I am back from the 35th Anniversary Wolf Park Conference — holy moly what an experience! I am having to just kind of take a deep breath here.
Beth and I arrived just in time to change and throw our stuff (and her dogs) in our room at the Intern’s House before taking off to the first night’s celebration. I was secretly VERY disappointed not to be able to see wolves right away! But duty called and Beth had to give a talk and dog training presentation. There were a few other presentations that night and a very interesting film about the wolves and bison interacting at the park. It was a late night and I got to meet a few influential people in wolves, including the park’s founder Erich Klinghammer, and the irrepressible writer and dog behaviorist Roy Coppinger.
That night after arriving back at the park, when we got out of the car and I saw the starry sky, I hesitated and said, “Can we get them started?”
“Sure!” Beth immediately threw back her head and started howling! And I joined in — and it was only a breath or two later that we heard them — the haunting cry of the wolf pack.
The next morning, just as dawn was breaking, Beth asked if I’d like to go with one of the interns to medicate some of the older wolves. I was like, “ARE YOU KIDDING?”
I leapt out of bed and was dressed in a flash. In the kitchen I met Alistair, a college graduate from Boston with a degree in Biology who was preparing a muffin tin with assorted treats for the wolves, with pills hidden in some of them.
Alistair gave hot dog treats to members of the main pack. Alistair was a great host and spent a good hour giving me the private tour, patiently answering my incessant questions and introducing each of the 18 wolves, the two coyotes and three foxes who live at the park.
Alistair attempted to fool the wiley 15 year old Socrates, who needed medication and had become too savvy to take pills. Alistair slipped blanks into balls of cream cheese to try to coax Socrates to swallow the capsules.
He finally succeeded and Socrates got his meds.