How about behaving like a wolf today? Yes, I said wolf. Wolves are perhaps the most misunderstood of all animals. Often portrayed as vicious predators, they are truly wise and wondrous creatures.
As seen in the 2007 documentary, Living With Wolves, researchers Jim and Jamie Dutcher studied the Sawtooth Pack in an enclosed nature reserve for six years, and made many amazing discoveries. (www.livingwithwolves.org) Their findings revealed a completely different perspective on the creatures often associated with scary movies and full moons.
Here are a few of their “surprising” revelations. Wolves are affectionate, compassionate and loyal to their pack. Although there is an alpha male and female who lead the group, all adults have a role in raising the young. The resources of the pack are shared. Wolves care for the sick and wounded, and grieve deeply when a member is killed.
What I found most interesting in the documentary was the relationship of the omega male to the other animals. He appeared to be the least of the pack. He was not permitted to eat until after everyone else, he was frequently picked on, and generally seemed to get the “short end of the stick”. But when it came time to move the pack to another sanctuary, it was the alpha male who guided the fearful omega out of his cage. He would not be left behind.
When we look at the omega from the perspective of what he taught the other wolves, he clearly wasn’t the least important. This male allowed himself to be the ”last” in order for the rest of the wolves to learn survival skills. Without this training, they would not be able to protect themselves from outside predators. In actuality, the omega may be the most spiritually advanced of the wolf pack.
Humanity’s evolution parallels our awareness of wolf social behavior. We previously viewed wolves as aggressive and cold-blooded. The same can be said of some human kind. Many people can be conniving, cut-throat predators who only care about themselves. Human greed has contributed to the creation of poverty and violence, and we abuse other humans and animals in ways only fit for monster movies and werewolf legends.
But these characteristics don’t describe the real humanity. Cruel traits are a reflection of people who are deprived of basic nurturing, who exist in the world without caring, and who may very well have been victims of abuse themselves. Some hold only pain and sadness in their hearts. Many have yet to experience true joy.
But there is always hope, even for those who appear to have no redeeming qualities at all. Where there is a spark of light, there is a chance for healing. The pit bulls confiscated from Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring exemplify this message. Many believed these dogs could not be rehabilitated; their vicious natures were too ingrained. From over 40 dogs, all but two are now happy, healthy safe pets. Many even have new occupations as therapy animals!
Wolves teach us about who we really are. Humanity is intrinsically good. Our instinct requires that we care for each other, we do what’s best for all children, and that we protect the most vulnerable in society. And many humans take on the role of omega, sacrificing for the sake of the whole.
As each of us chooses to face the mythical wolf within, we help all of humanity become true wolves. And we are doing it! Changes for good are occurring daily. Power and greed based institutions that were once thought to be indestructible are currently falling apart, and are being forced to operate with integrity and transparency. People continue to help each other when economic or natural disaster strikes, despite their own suffering. It is a new age, and all of us have a role in it. We are the alpha and the omega. We are creating a time when the viciousness formerly attributed to wolves and humans will only be found in the movies.
(Visit www.all-about-wolves.com for more beautiful pictures and stories about wolves.)