♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
What is your favorite animal and why?
Have you ever included it in one of your stories?
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The answer to this may be obvious considering my book series, The Trailokya Trilogy, and the covers of two of the installments. The animal I’d answer this question with features heavily in the series. Some other clues can be found in the type of companion I keep, and the videos I love to make on TikTok. I have a lot of fun with my buddy producing some bonkers content spoofing film and television favorites like The X-Files (1993).
A favorite animal is actually kind of hard for me to pick. I love them all. In fact, I had hoped to follow my dream of getting a bio degree and working at a zoo. When that didn’t happen, my love of animals didn’t stop. Sure, I switched gears to pursue a stronger dream (writing), and earn a degree I felt was more marketable, but the love of animals is still deeply with me.
Since I was a child, as you know if you know the Trailokya series, I’ve been dreaming some pretty epic dreams. In those dreams, I met the characters for the series. That included my favorite animals. There’s a twist to this, though. You see, my family bred and showed dogs. The tie to canines is deep and meaningful. Not only are they beautiful creatures, but they make great companions. Honestly, I can’t imagine my life without one at my hip.
The cool thing about dogs is their connection to human history which extends thousands of years. They descend, in fact, from my favorite animal: Wolves. I am sure you guessed by now! And, yes, they do show up in my dreams. In fact, I still see the packs that feature in my series in my dreams to date.
When I lost my dog, Sadie Sue in 2018, my depression deepened. I felt as if part of me went with her. I remarked to a friend that I cannot define myself without dog being part of that equation. Sadie had begun Shagbottom Theater with me. How could I continue the theater with existing images of her, and all my friends and followers knowing she passed? That would be most uncool. Moreover, I feel safer with a dog in the house. They also provide a lot of affection and fun.
Did you know that dogs share 98% of their mitochondrial DNA with wolves? It’s a fact. “One study showed that dog and wolf share 98% of their mitochondrial (mt) DNA, which contrasts to the 7.5% difference between wolf and coyotes (Canis latrans), the species that is their closest wild relative.” (Science Direct.) Think about that the next time you’re cuddling up to Fido! It’s pretty mind blowing, and it also should put the lore into better perspective.
Sadly, humanity grew apart from their long connection to wolves and have treated them as enemies for hundreds of years. Much of what is believed about the species comes from fairy tales and other media that continue a false image. Sadly, certain industries lean hard into the lies and continue to focus violence on the species, both removing their responsibilities and reducing their labor load for better profit margins. It also arose in species resource competition (such as food). You can read about the myths here. Also, keep in mind that indigenous populations regard them as sacred, and the hunting of these animals is a violation of their rights.
Wolves are truly amazing animals that should fill us with a sense of awe as well as gratefulness. Their contribution to our history is one of cooperation for survival. We owe them much and that bond should be respected along with respecting the protection of their populations. It behooves humanity to ensure their success, as it directly leads to our own successes. Our species are deeply entwined. There is no escaping this link of cooperation but to both species detriment.
We are all well aware that they can be dangerous when encountered in the wild, or when people attempt to make them pets, or even at the zoo. Wolves are wild not domestic animals. However, the danger comes from their self-preservation drive. In other words, if you make them fearful, they will defend themselves. Not everyone can interact with them, because not everyone understands their language. Wolves read us, just like dogs do. That said, dogs have had eons to understand our weird behaviors and facial expressions.
While wolves are wild animals and not the furry friends we keep at home, and we should not attempt to domestic them, I cannot help but see the link and love them. Did you know they’re about the same size as a Great Dane? Think about that the next time you meet a Dane. Also, keep in mind the bad behavior of humans, how dogs end up in shelter, the over use and abuse of resources, and the drive to do less and get more for it. Wolves aren’t evil. They’re not out for Grandma or the little girl skipping to her house. They’re just trying to live how they were designed for a wild world.
Hopefully, your appreciation for wolves grew from reading this post, even if they’re not your favorite. I’ve linked great resources for you to share with others to help these animals continue to be a fantastic part of our ecosystems. Click on the links below to see what the other authors have answered this week. Please subscribe to my blog to get this hop delivered to your inbox each Friday.
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P.J. MacLayne says
In the US, so many of the stories about wolves are based on the fact they compete for the same resources as humans. Cattle for example. A mating pair of wolves may have returned to Colorado this past summer after having been eliminated by various economic-driven groups.
Stevie Turner says
I would love to share your delight in the canine world, but alas I’m afraid our paths must diverge. However, I do feed next door’s dog with some leftovers from time to time. By doing this he has stopped growling at me and showing his teeth.
Captain Maiel says
Hahaha! Dogs sense our stress. In many cases, this makes them afraid of the human exhibiting those feelings, because historically, that doesn’t go well for them. Good on you showing him you’re to be trusted. 🙂 Putting them at ease is a great kindness.