26. Failures: Probably Caused by Fear
Yes, we have had a few. Here’s one. A person out on the Eastern Coast
purchased a male cub from my genetics through a breeder that I had
started. He took him back east and seemingly got along with him real
However, at about 10 months of age, the male took a dislike to the man’s
wife and even though she was very kind and attentive of the wolf, he
showed every evidence of wishing to hurt her.
He called me and, after carefully questioning him, I deduced that in
spite of the lady’s love for the wolf, she had a strong fear and
distrust of it. Thusly I advised just keeping her away from the wolf.
This worked out okay, only the lady felt bad about not being able to
have a close relationship with the wolf.
Then when the male was a year old, the fellow came back here and
purchased a female cub for his mate. The male became very possessive of
the bitch cub and didn’t want anyone to pet her. The owner insisted and
there was some confrontation. Though he swears he didn’t strike the
wolf, I believe he had. The wolf became antagonistic toward him and
couldn’t even be petted without threat of (or) biting. He called again
and again. I had him try several methods. Nothing worked.
This man weighed over 200 pounds, stood over 6 feet, was an ex-football
star, and headed his company and was evidently a dominant though
intelligent man with plenty of inherent rank and leadership. WHY?
Well, distance and time kept me from investigating, but persistent
questioning brought forth the fact that while the lady was deeply
fearful of the wolf, attempts to get a compatible relationship with
interference from the man put the wolf on the defensive and he expected
a battle at each attempt. Thus he [the wolf] came to expect only
confrontation at each meeting.
Then when he acquired his mate, he made his mind to combat any and all
interference from even the owner. Finally, I could only advise him to
have the male destroyed or castrated. God, how I hated to do this, but
I couldn’t afford to worry about the possibility of someone getting
injured or killed. The guy castrated and that’s the last I heard from
him. Though he did express a desire for another male, I declined and
refused unless he would come here and study and learn something and BY
GOD FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS IMPLICITLY.
Another parallel case — Failure was traced to the fact that the owner
had been severely injured in an auto accident and was constantly on pain
killing prescriptions and that the wolf had NO TRUST in his ability to
care for him. Plus the loss of respect of being handled by a person who
was emotionally and physically incapable. Weakness in any animal,
including man, is readily felt and discerned by this superiorly
instincted creature. Warning: If you have a deep pathological fear of
the Wolf that is reflected at all, better stick to old Shep, huh?
[Ed.: This wolf was probably a fairly dominant animal.]
Respect and momentary fear are essential. Dreading fear or constant
fear are just NO GOOD. Sure, when I have to separate a pair of raging
pure bred wolves (rare occurrence), I am scared. Accidents do happen,
and when they do, it is then and only then that I’m scared — I’m just
as scared as anyone; this is a necessity. Without an honest momentary
fear, we couldn’t survive. But the instant the crisis is over, I no
longer fear either it or any of my wolves — I just respect their
Fear, yeah, you’re damned right I am [scared] when I reach into that den
and take hold of a big cub that won’t emerge without help [breached
birth]. Yeah, then after the cub is out, and Mom is clipping the cords
and the eating the waste, my fear is gone immediately — just a mild
shaking and knocking of knees for a few moments. Yeah, you’d better be
scared when forced by circumstances to break evolutionary law, BUT then
it should be gone and NO, ABSOLUTELY NO, HIDDEN FEARS, except in crisis.
Hey, still want to be A WOLFER? Shucks, they ain’t so bad. I’ve done
it all and never let a raging buck wolf get ahold of me. Had to do a
quick backwards running World’s Record upon our bleachers once, but came
right down and met “Old Bob-Tailed Joe” head on and knocked the big
beautiful son of a bitch upside down, and though he weighed 150 pounds
and stood 33 inches at the shoulder, he had sense enough to NEVER TRY
Why did he try me? Well, his rivals had their winter mates and I hadn’t
given him his “Pretty Girl” because he scissored the hair on her back so
badly. What did I do? I gave him his bitch, scissors or no scissors.
Yeah. Dammit, you have to comply with THEIR law a bit, too. Live and
Hey now, these are rare extremes. Don’t judge old Canis Lupus by them.
Go along with the thousands that NEVER cause any trouble to anyone, huh?
After all, who or what really provoked these extremes? Yeah, you’re
right. MAN’S LACK OF (OR FAILURE TO) RESPECT THEIR EVOLUTIONARY LAW.
[Ed.: Consider how many “bad” dogs there are — a much higher
percentage of the dog population than “bad” wolves in the captive Wolf
So be ye not discouraged. You can do it. Hell, I did and there wasn’t
anyone to help and advise me either. You have ME. THE GREATEST, ha ha.
[Ed.: Don’t laugh. I have never seen anyone who was in such harmony
with their animals as was Gordon Smith.]