Thursday, February 7, 2008

Rallying the pack

Five thirty a.m., and I am up, sitting groggily at the table thinking about making coffee. Suddenly, the dogs start howling: first Jack, head held highest, moon-shaped mouth, ears back, he stands in the back of our property on the edge of the trees howling. Then the others join in. Many domestic dog breeds howl at the sound of sirens whizzing by. But this sort of howling is different. There are no sirens. Jack is simply rallying our little pack.

While I was up north, I wrote about the howling that occurred in the dog yard and the different types of howling and what it signifies, at least in a wolf pack. Watching this display, I cannot help but see the ancient connection dogs have to their cousins, the wolf. A lot of people think Foxy is a wolf-dog when they see her, ignorant of how truly enormous wolves really are.
While wolves are related to dogs, wolves do not pull. There are stories from Jack London claiming some sleddogs were wolf-dogs. But to my knowledge, wolves have not been used as sleddogs because, by nature, they resist pulling.

I let Foxy in, and as I type, she sits with her giant right paw resting on my forearm. Despite the sometimes crazy looks we get when we tell people what we are into or how many dogs we have, I am so happy to have these amazing dogs in my life.

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