I rescued a wolf. Or should I say, she rescued me?
Shiloh’s life converged with mine when her wild, gold eyes met my brown ones through a chain-link fence in Mississippi and we were both forever changed. She was held by a short chain and I by my own pain and thoughts of limitation and feelings of abandonment. We both howled our heads off night and day in lamentation, impotently demanding freedom and completely unable to see how to attain it for ourselves. Occasionally, when she could, she would loose herself from her chains and terrorize the neighborhood pets. I did something like too, from time to time, I suppose.
Her plight was complex and situational. Her captor didn’t mean her harm, but was overwhelmed in her own way and unable to see a better path for herself or Shiloh.
I was my own captor.
In the end, with a lot of help from a few people – a gypsy goddess, a wolfman,a recalcitrant captor, a nosy neighbor, a nice veterinarian, a Jungian analyst, and, of course, the fates and the omniscient Universe, Shiloh and I led each other to freedom.
On the heels of a hurricane, in a small silver sedan, we fled. She never menaced me at all. She seemed to be simply relieved that I had finally come to take her to a better place. Under a full moon, by a rushing stream, in a tiny cabin, we spent one night together. A woman and a wolf, lying side by side, freed and bound by their desire to be free, slept and awoke to find themselves in a new day – a new life. She took up the song of the others at dawn, her new companions. And that song – that howling lives in my heart and always will as a melodic reminder that freedom is, when we are ready, at hand and within our grasp.
Eventually I moved on, moved away from the wolf refuge in Tennessee where Shiloh found a new home. I don’t get back to see her as often as I would like, but when I do, she always remembers me and we’re glad to be together for awhile.
Many thanks to Sojourn Wolf Refuge and others like them for the good work they do, in the field of wolf and wolf-dog rescue and education.
“A healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, chock-full, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estés