Presented by CVDB's Big Dog Short Stories
The wolf appeared as a shadow darker than night, visible only as movement, as an outline around the tiny beads of moonlight reflecting in his eyes. He paced the tree line and then disappeared into the forest.
How could an eighty-pound, Boxer-mix, rescue dog take on this massive beast? Nikita had no suit of armor, no silver bullets... only her large dog clothes with a pocket full of treats. "Uh oh," I thought. "Perhaps this wolf has sniffed out our treats! Maybe I should..."
The wolf charged, barking and snarling. He circled, herding us backward. Fear crawled up my spine and sunk into my bones. I looked to my side. Nikita appeared calm and collected, almost smiling, in her large dog clothes; like she was preparing for a leisure magazine fashion shoot. She looked into my eyes and then sat and became still. I got the message.
I stilled myself and allowed the wolf to approach. There was nowhere to run anyway. Even in my fantasies I can't outrun wolves. I gave in to the moment and the fear subsided, and there was a split second of peace before the fear came rushing back in. The wolf sniffed and huffed at my ankles, and then moved on to Nikita. She growled and showed her teeth as she laid down. I think she was offering him a treat, because the wolf slowly pulled a milk bone out of her pocket and then disappeared into the forest.
Nikita and I hiked to the mountain top. It was dusk and the clouds beamed a purple glow. The cool air, and the vacancy left behind by the subsidence of fear, stirred something in me and I howled into the dusk from the base of my stomach. Nikita joined in. It was a long howl. Too long. I was done. Nikita was done. Yet it echoed on and on. I looked into the canyon below and the dark wolf was there, echoing the howl back through the mist.
I took off Nikita's large dog clothes and left them there on the mountain top. I took one treat for her and left the rest for our new friend.
I gave Nikita her treat. "Good girl," I said, stroking her back.
Where I had seen an object of fear, she had seen a friend. Where I had heard aggression, she had heard a plea. It made me realize that I look at the world like this; filled with unknown afflictors... and perhaps not regarding others with kindness and understanding is the cause of our fear.