She once told me it was the sweet innocence of it all that welcomed her in; but in the end, I think it was its wrongness that made her keep fighting long after she should have let go. She enjoyed playing with the complexities of life in that way. You see, even as pups, wolves should never be turned into pets--they just aren’t meant to lead a domesticated life. But when she came across that small creature on her property, barely two weeks old, three pounds, and abandoned--she was a goner. Things changed irrefutably in that instant, for her, and for everyone in her life. I guess that’s why we’re here today.
The beginning, suffice it to say, was beautiful. The furry little thing was cuddly, and almost sweet in its naiveté. I think we all knew she faced unlikely odds, trying to raise a wolf pup; she knew it. She did everything she could to ensure he would grow up healthy and loved. Love. That was the thing she thought this wolf most needed. Just love. I admired her for that. Her hopefulness, her idealism. She was a fighter, and she believed in things others shrugged off as obviously impossible. It frightened me, too. She began changing, slowly. She was at the mercy of that wolf, ensuring his needs were met above anyone else’s, above her own. I remember coming by once thinking I’d take her out to lunch, but she wouldn’t leave his side—she was bottle feeding him around the clock. I was almost jealous of that little wolf pup.
“Why are you doing this?” I’d ask her. “Why are you trying to make this wolf your own?”
“Because he’s special.” She’d say. “He’s special, and I found him for a reason. And so it shall be.” She was a stubborn girl; we all know that, in love with a fantasy in her head of what could be. I think I, more than most, can attest to that. I grew up with her. I was there when she decided to start her own roadside snack business at 8. I watched her try to build a secret guest home for herself in her parent’s backyard when she was 10. She never had the right tools or resources, but she thought there was a way around everything, spending hours on research; believing anything was possible with enough hope and perseverance. I think that was one of the reasons we all loved her so much.
She was willing to try anything to make the arrangement work. If anyone was set up for success in that, I thought it could be her—the two of them. I guess she didn’t account for the fact that no being can change what it is at its core. A wolf A has an inherent desire for aggression and domination that, at best, can only be suppressed, not changed. And so, we are left here grieving today, because love was not what that baby wolf needed. He needed structure, and rules, and boundaries. He didn’t have conscious thoughts, only reactions. He needed to lead. Her yard was huge, but was it big enough? Was he free enough? Perhaps he wasn’t socialized properly and took on a lone wolf mentality. She did everything she could, but would it ever have been enough? The wolf was just a wolf, and she was just a woman. She was destroyed. So was he.
There’s no way to really be sure of what went wrong, other than this: it was simply just not meant to be. There are some problems that love alone cannot solve. She tried to make something work that had no real place in our world, turning this wolf into her friend, as if he had any capacity to reciprocate that. And because of that, a beautiful human has been taken from us. And a magnificent wolf is gone.
When I look back and think about our friend, I will not remember the way she was in the end. I will remember her before. I will think of her throwing her head back in laughter. How her eyes would sparkle when she told a story. I will remember the sound of her squeals when she’d burn her hands on the stove, and the way she was always there for you when you needed her. I will picture the way her head tilted to the side when she was lost in thought and how she could make the most mundane things feel like a once in a lifetime adventure. I will feel her vibrant spirit, and find constant inspiration in thoughts of her beautiful heart. I will think of all the things we lost, in losing her to a wolf.
-This Bedtime Story brought you by Ferocious