Describing some of the best and worst of times, discover what happens behind closed doors when the public goes home, leaving just Toni and the wolves ...
Toni Shelbourne has worked with dogs and wild canids for over twenty five years. A Tellington TTouch Practitioner, and author of The Truth about Wolves and Dogs, also published by Hubble and Hattie, Toni is also an environmental educator, lecturer, and presenter.
Toni’s work as a Tellington TTouch Practitioner led her to the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, where she worked with a pack of socialised wolves. For ten years she observed wolves on a daily basis, progressing to become a Senior Wolf Handler and Education Officer for the organisation. Her observations helped her develop a unique insight into wolf behaviour, and led her to question the ingrained ideas about the alpha theory with dogs: ideas that were often in conflict with her own observations and knowledge. The result was her first book, The Truth about Wolves & Dogs. This, her second book, takes the reader on the very personal journey of Toni’s life with the wolves.
Grain farmers once worshiped wolves at shrines and left food offerings near their dens, beseeching the elusive canine to protect their crops from the sharp hooves and voracious appetites of wild boars and deer. Talismans and charms adorned with images of wolves protected against fire, disease, and other calamities and brought fertility to agrarian communities and to couples hoping to have children. The Ainu people believed that they were born from the union of a wolflike creature and a goddess.
In the eighteenth century, wolves were seen as rabid man-killers in many parts of Japan. Highly ritualized wolf hunts were instigated to cleanse the landscape of what many considered as demons. By the nineteenth century, however, the destruction of wolves had become decidedly unceremonious, as seen on the island of Hokkaido. Through poisoning, hired hunters, and a bounty system, one of the archipelago's largest carnivores was systematically erased.
The story of wolf extinction exposes the underside of Japan's modernization. Certain wolf scientists still camp out in Japan to listen for any trace of the elusive canines. The quiet they experience reminds us of the profound silence that awaits all humanity when, as the Japanese priest Kenko taught almost seven centuries ago, we "look on fellow sentient creatures without feeling compassion."
Wolves have become a complicated comeback story. Their tracks are once again making trails throughout western Alberta, southern British Columbia and the northwestern United States, and the lonesome howls of the legendary predator are no longer mere echoes from our frontier past: they are prophetic voices emerging from the hills of our contemporary reality.
Kevin Van Tighem’s first RMB Manifesto explores the history of wolf eradication in western North America and the species’ recent return to the places where humans live and play. Rich with personal anecdotes and the stories of individual wolves whose fates reflect the complexity of our relationship with these animals, The Homeward Wolf neither romanticizes nor demonizes this wide-ranging carnivore with whom we once again share our Western spaces. Instead, it argues that wolves are coming back to stay, that conflicts will continue to arise and that we will need to find new ways to manage our relationship with this formidable predator in our ever-changing world.
Whether they fear wolves or love them, readers will find this book as challenging as it is enlightening. The author offers a powerful argument that how we choose to live with the homeward wolf will bring out the best in us... or the worst. In the end, the return of the wolf may ultimately help us find our own ways into a deeper, more sustainable relationship with the great Western landscapes that enrich and define us.