I have never had a 'bucket list' and have never felt the need for one. I have always felt that I have had all the life experiences needed by one person, and perhaps a few that I could have lived without. All in all, my life has been full of wonderful people, interesting experiences and particularly fantastic animals.
Tonight, I added an experience that should have been on my 'bucket list'. This is Timber, he is a 4 1/2 month old wolf hybrid. From his DNA testing they believe he is 3/4 wolf. Timber was given up at the Nebraska Humane Society by his owner. Perhaps the raising and training of such a pup was going to be too much, who knows. But at 8 weeks of age, Timber was taken on by the humane society staff to socialize.
Pictured with Timber, is Dawn Thrapp, an absolutely amazing woman who works for the Nebraska Humane Society here in Omaha. Dawn is often assigned the most difficult, problem pooches. Dawn believes in 'shaping', a dog training regime, that has no negative consequences. The dog's behavior is shaped by a reward system, via treats and praise. Behaviors are broken down into tiny increments. Often the first step in training is to have the dog look at you. His attention for even a second is rewarded with a word like 'nice' and a treat. 'Nice' or sometimes a click from a clicker, tells the dog, you have done the right thing, the treat reinforces that this is a good thing to do. Everything is built on that reward and before you know it, you have a dog that is seeking your attention and approval and wonderful and amazing things can happen from that relationship between dog and trainer.
Most of you know about my Standard Poodle, Blue. He is about 3 years old now and we have attended many training classes together. Dawn taught me the benefit of shaping and I have used the technique to teach Blue hundreds of tricks, skills and behaviors. I take class from Dawn when ever it is offered and
Blue and I have been attending a class taught by Dawn at Companion Dog Club, here in Omaha. We have also taken classes from her at Go Dogs, another great facility in Omaha.
Back to my undiscovered 'bucket list'. Dawn had been telling us about a trainee that she has been working with. She is fostering young Timber, preparing him for the opportunity to go to a wolf rescue. They are searching for just the right spot for him.
Tonight Dawn brought Timber along to class, to give him a new experience and further his socialization. She asked if we would like to meet Timber. Of course, we all said YES. Out came this beautiful young wolf, with the most haunting eyes you will ever see in a living thing. He was very happy to see all the dogs, he is after all bred to thrive in a pack. To people he was polite, but distant.
OK....here it comes. I think that Dawn sensed that this was BIG for me and offered to let me touch him after class was over. So here I am, almost 65 years old, and I just had one of the rarest, most moving experiences of my life. I sat down on the floor and petted a WOLF!!!!!!!!
Timber, was every bit a gentleman and let me pet him and stroke his beautiful coat. He let me touch his face and ears and indulged me with great patience. I hope he finds a wonderful home where he can be in a pack, with people that understand that this animal must be handled with extra care and respect.
Thank you Dawn and Timber. It is an experience I will never forget.
Til next time.....