I have owned 10 canines in my life. I had one in Florida named Zaki, a Hungarian Hunting Dog, whose name I got from a Hungarian customer. When I asked what Zaki meant in Hungarian, he said “dog.”
A friend and I took him quail hunting and, as usual, he jumped into every pond he could find. Zaki wore out early and my friend said, “He is really out of shape.”
When I went to feed him that afternoon I noticed a bloody sore on his leg. I took him to a vet and learned he had been bitten by a water moccasin. He was treated and cured.
Zaki was hyperactive and kept knocking my wife down, so I gave him to a rancher with thousands of acres. When his mother-in-law came to mow the grass, Zaki bit her on her backside, which led to him being given away to a couple that were school teachers. He lived a happy life with them.
I lived with a woman here in Arizona who was fond of wolves. When she found a litter of hybrid wolves for sale, I visited the owner. She brought the puppies into her parlor divided by a low fence. A male, colored like a Malamute, came to the fence, looked me in the eye, howled, walked across the room, lifted his leg and peed. I said, “I want that one.” The owner said “No you don’t; he is an alpha male.” After explaining that alpha males are born to lead a pack and are dangerous and temperamental, I decided to buy him. What a trial he was. I lived in Mesa with an adjoining five acres of scattered orange trees. I fenced it for Romulus, the name I chose, but he spent most of his time in my walled five acres. He was an adept swimmer and spent lots of time in the pool.
My girlfriend decided he needed company and bought an 83 percent female wolf just like Romulus and named her Akala.
Because Romulus was truculent, I left him with a dog trainer for a week. When I came to get him all the other dogs came out of their houses except Romulus. He was despondent. The trainer got him out and when Romulus saw me he leaped with joy and ran to me furiously wagging his tail. He had been taught to heel and follow simple commands.
He and Akala grew.
One day I went out to feed them and Romulus bit me. It was then I realized Akala was pregnant.
She eventually had seven pups. They were all placed in the next door compound. Mesa used flood irrigation which they loved, chasing each other through the water.
For non-flood water days I placed a large tank on top of railroad ties under an orange tree and filled it with water. They swam there daily.
While still puppies, we gave a female to the man who serviced our pool and two males to a school teacher and his wife. The female thrived and, last I heard, lived an indolent dog life.
The two males were a sad case. We were warned that the duo kept digging under their wooden fence and escaping. We urged them to fix the fence. I received a call at 3 a.m. during one search and joined the effort. We came upon them just after they had killed and were eating a poodle. Police were called and the poodle owner said he would sue the wolf owners if the police didn’t kill them, which they did, on the spot.
So we were left with a pack of six, Romulus, Akala, BJ, Priscilla, Pawnee and Cory.
During a political fundraiser for Congressman Jay Rhodes, attended by Jay’s father, Barry Goldwater, Ohio Governor Jon Kasich and Jack Kemp, we set up a dais in the back yard, separated from the wolf yard by a concrete wall. As Kasich was speaking, the wolves all suddenly howled. Kasich said, “See, even the coyotes agree with me.”
We moved to Cave Creek in 1990 and lived on “Rotten Row” where I built a similar place for the wolves, accessible to a swimming pool.
I moved into my present home in 2000 and devoted about 2 acres to a fenced home for the six wolves. Inside an existing concrete structure I built a foam slab home with an air conditioner in one corner and an entrance and exit in the other corner. During summer months they happily went in there to cool off. As they reached the age of about 15 they had to be put down one by one as they lost the ability to keep going. However, I have many photos and fond memories of them.
I believe in life after death and expect to see them again. Famous psychic Edgar Cayce, however, said canines have group souls and can reincarnate in many different forms. Casey pointed out to one of his clients her present dog had been her pet tiger in a previous incarnation.
More on canines to come.