Sunday, September 26, 2010

A face full of wolf drool: Wolf Hollow, Ipswich

"Don't make any sudden motions," the man with the tattoos is saying. "Don't sit down on the ground. You can take a knee, or squat, but you have to be able to get up again quickly.

"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 nervousnervous
nervous. 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.

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Anonymous Cindi said...

I LOVE that picture of you and the wolfie - looks like a totally cool day!

8:39 PM  
Blogger jess said...

I am so jealous! People often tell us Monkey looks wolfish, but that's the closest I've been to the real thing - other than the posters I collected of them in college.

GREAT photos! Thank you for the vicarious thrill.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Kyla Hockman said...

cute wolves!

8:23 PM  
Blogger exsoloadsolem said...

hi LimeyG! i've been following for a while and i'm a big fan- i followed you over here from Basil Queen's ONCE link and, being new to the Boston area, thought i'd stick around.

i'm wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing info on how you obtained a personal tour. i'd love to go, but would much rather have a one-on-one experience at Wolf Hollow than worry about beating the crowds on an open weekend. i perused their website, but couldn't find anything like what you're describing. do you mind?

thanks in advance!

2:10 PM  
Blogger LimeyG said...

Thanks for your kind words! The wolf experience was a birthday gift from The Boy - he got it through a company called Excitations. It's on the pricey side, but it's an unforgettable experience.

8:08 AM  
Blogger mghunt said...

hi the man w/ tatts is my art teacher @ wood hill he is the best and really funny we call him the panted man
p.s. z is 4 awsome

10:18 AM  

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