A face full of wolf drool: Wolf Hollow, Ipswich
"And if I tell you to get out or move away, don't question me — just do it. Okay?"
We nod uncertainly. And then we sign a waiver. And then we walk into the wolf enclosure.
We were at Wolf Hollow in Ipswich; The Boy had bought me a Wolf Experience as a birthday gift. We'd get a two-hour personal tour with the wolves and with Zee Soffron, who runs the sanctuary with his mom. There's a nice profile of the family here.
Zee explained to us that he'd go into the enclosure first so the wolves could greet him, and then we could follow behind.
And suddenly I was nervousnervousnervous. Which is crazy; I've always been around animals. But this time, I realized, I was not in control of the relationship. The wolves were bigger, and faster, and decidedly stronger.
So when we went into the first pen, I held back. Stood around. Took some photos.
(That's Bear. He's part dog. He used to live in an apartment in Everett.)
And then we went to see Jelly.
Jelly, apparently, can be a bit of a handful. Sometimes she's a sweetheart; sometimes, as Zee said, "You don't even want to get in the cage with her." Once she almost took his face off because she was hoping for treats. Zee's mom Joni calls her schizo.
Today she was having a good day.
And then things got redonkulous.
We spent a long time with Jelly, and Zee told us about wolf culture, diet (they get a special food mix, as well as occasional roadkill deer, plus watermelon for a summer treat), and benefits to humans (the decline in wolf populations has meant an increase in deer, which has led to more ticks and so more Lyme disease).
And then we went to visit Jelly's brother Weeble and his friend Nina.
Weeble is about 150 pounds. When he put his front paws on my shoulders, I almost fell over backwards.
One thing to note: wolves have really good breath. It's not dog-breathy. And their fur is thick and soft.
All the wolves like Milk Bones. And so I found myself thinking, "Awww! They're just big doggies!"
And then I noticed how many picked-clean bones were scattered around.
There were times when they looked like big, goofy dogs.
There were also times when they were completely lupine.
And man, the teeth:
As we left, we could hear them all howling, a beautiful, mournful chorus.
Wolf Hollow does hour-long presentations on weekends. You should go.
More photos from our visit to Wolf Hollow.