Wolf meets Man
An amazing true story of a relationship between a wild wolf and a man.
This is a story of a particular event in the life of Tim Woods told to me by his brother, DR. It revolves around the coming together of a man sleeping rough, with his dog, on Mingus Mountain, and a fully grown female Gray or Grey Wolf. Mingus is in the Black Hills mountain range between Cottonwood and Prescott in Arizona, USA
DR and his brother, Tim, belong to a large family; there are 7 sons and 2 daughters. Tim had a twin brother, Tom, and DR knew from an early age that Tim was different.
As DR explained,
Tim was much more enlightened than the rest of us. I remember that Tim and Tom, as twin brothers, could feel each other in almost a mystical manner. I witnessed Tom grabbing his hand in pain when Tim stuck the point of his knife into his (Tim’s) palm. Stuff like that! Tim just saw more of life than most other people.
The incident involving the wolf was when Tim was in his late 40s and, as mentioned, was living in a rough shack on the mountain. The shack was simply a plywood shelter with an old couch and a few blankets for the cold nights. The dog was companion, guard and a means of keeping Tim in food; the dog was a great hunter. But Tim was no stranger to living in the wild.
Tim was ex-US Army and a great horseman. There was a time when he was up in the Superstition Mountains, sleeping rough, riding during the day. At night Tim would get the horse to lay down and Tim would sleep with his back next to the horse for warmth.
Anyway, Tim was up on Mingus Mountain using an old disk from an agricultural harrow as both a cook-pan and plate. After he had finished eating, Tim would leave his ‘plate’ outside his shack. It would be left out in the open over night.
Tim became aware that a creature was coming by and licking the plate clean and so Tim started to leave scraps of food on the plate. Then one night, Tim was awoken to to the noise of the owner of the ‘tongue’ and saw that it was a large, female gray wolf.
The wolf became a regular visitor and Tim became sure that the wolf, now having been given the name Luna by Tim, was aware that she was being watched by a human.
Over many, many months Luna built up sufficient trust in Tim that eventually she would take food from Tim’s outstretched hand. It was only now a matter of time before Luna started behaving more like a pet dog than the wild wolf that she was. The photo below is a scan from a traditional photograph and is unaltered.
From now on, Luna would stay the night with Tim and his dog, keeping watch over them.
DR also recalls,
I remember Tim being distraught because, without warning, Luna stopped coming by. Then a few months later back she was. Tim never did know what lay behind her absence but guessed it might have been because she went off to have pups.
Unfortunately, this wonderful tale does have a sad ending.
About two years ago, Tim lost his dog. He was awakened to hear a pack of coyotes yelping and his dog missing.
Then tragically some 6 months later Tim contracted a gall bladder infection. Slowly it became worse.
By the time he realised that it was sufficiently serious to require medical treatment, it was too late. Despite the best efforts of modern medicine, Tim died on June 25th, 2009, just 51 years young.
So if you are ever out on Mingus Mountain and hear the howl of a wolf, reflect that it could just be poor Luna calling out for her very special man friend.
By Paul Handover, with very grateful thanks to DR for sharing such a special story.