I've written an essay on finding my wolf theriotype and since then, I've made a more recent conclusion that the canine experiences I have are not only wolf in nature but also domestic dog as well. This was something I've honestly fought with myself over, off and on, for years. The lines between wolf and man are clear cut and fairly dry but the lines between domestic dog and wolf can be vague to say the least. Here's my story...
Growing up as a wolf therian can be very challenging in the sense of developing or maintaining a social life. My natural instinct was to avoid humans whenever and wherever possible. I was curious as to how others interacted and as to why people acted as they did but I kept my distance as an observer, as a wolf among men, as a ghost in a sense. With that being said, my social life wasn't completely null or non-existent as a child, it was in fact, very much the opposite. I grew up in a rural area with farmlands and rivers, it wasn't necessarily the wild but it sure as hell wasn't the suburbs either. Dogs would often not be kept on leads or in kennels but had free roam and would often visit me from a very young age. My first memory of being social or playing with another living creature besides myself was with a German Shepherd named "trigger" who lived a few houses down from me. At first I was terrified of this hulking, feral mass of fur and teeth that was several times my size. I remember trembling in fear, frozen stiff, the first time we met, only to be calmly reassured by his gentle nudges and his licks to my face that he was no danger. His owner gave me a frisbee and we would play together for hours every day, never speaking a word to each other, there was never a need to. It was like he could read my thoughts and I his. It seemed natural and felt like everything was as it was supposed to be. I never wanted for, nor needed any other friends, I had one that was more than enough and enjoyed our time together.
Trigger and his owner eventually moved away, much to my sorrow and I went back to being alone, isolated, not wanting or caring for any other interaction despite being in school at this time. I found my human peers to be complex and strange creatures that didn't think or feel or act as I did and it made even basic communication tough. Not that I wasn't able to figure out enough to survive and get what I needed or wanted from them but being social and interacting with humans felt awkward and took effort, something that wasn't ever needed with canines.
A few years later, new neighbors moved into the house next door and I met a black lab puppy named "Gus". Once again, I found myself with a friend that I felt comfortable with, who'd follow me places, someone who'd listen to me and seemed to understand my strangeness and diversity from the rest and was okay with it. Again, I found myself being able to communicate far better with him than I could any human that was in my life at the time but again, his owner took a job in the city and they moved away after a few years.
At this point, I had developed questions that I couldn't answer about why I was so different and they would soon be revealed to me when I began feeling more and more like a wolf and seeing myself as such. Within a short period of time, during a time of exponential change in my young life, two catalysts occured that would change my future and forge me into who and what I am today...
First, my resounding discovery that I wasn't entirely human...
"I began daydreaming heavily about being a wolf, to the point where I could sort of lost all concept of reality and picture myself as a wolf, running through the grass, through the woods. It became so real to me that I could "feel" mud on my paws and I could feel my ears move on top of my head when I was lost in this alternate reality inside my mind. Today, I would consider these early sensory phenomenon to be the beginning of phantom shifting. Back then I didn't know what to make of it other than a feeling of euphoria because it just felt so much like what I should be feeling and not what I was feeling (if that makes any sense). Being the stubborn and strong willed animal that I am, I couldn't accept not acting on my impulse to do what a wolf would do so I began reading books about wilderness survival and would often go "camping" on the weekends with little more than some form of blade and a source of fire. The allure of feeling the woods beneath my bare feet would teach me many lessons, including the very important fact that, while I knew I felt like a wolf, I still had a human body
And secondly, my father perishing in a house fire, the only part of him that survived was his puppy.. well, she was a big puppy/adolescent dog, whom I inherited.
"I was extremely excited because, while she was not a wolf, she seemed to be a bridge between the human and canine world. I spent a lot of time with her and learned much about why I had some of the reactions that I did to certain things. Not only did she teach me so much about how to canine but we developed an unbreakable bond with each other to the point where I felt that she was the only living thing that I could trust.
Aye, not only did she teach me things about the canine side of myself that no one else could, she taught me what unwavering loyalty and unconditional love really means. As I grew up through the struggles of being a teenager, an outcast in a very cruel and cold world, she was the only living thing that I could depend on who actually cared about me through hell or high water. There were times when I felt so rejected and hated by humanity that I would lay in bed and sob, wanting to die and she never left my side. She never gave up on me, she never stopped caring or worrying about me, even when I wanted to push everyone away, even when I pushed her away. Shady was more than a dog, she was a tried and true companion that always had my back and filled whatever role in my life that humans did not. She was my friend, she was my comfort, my therapist, she was everything to me until her beautiful and generous life came to an untimely end. If there was no such thing as a heaven... One was made just for that dog... God rest her soul...
Moving forward into therianrhropy and searching a better understanding of myself, I knew I was a wolf and still do.
"My stubbornness and independence has prevailed through the course of the past 22 years, only growing stronger and to add to it, I've developed a calm yet prevalent sense of rebellion that nearly feels instinctual. It's not so much a feeling that I shouldn't listen to anyone or that I should discredit or dismiss outside input but rather a sense of trusting my own intuition and "gut instinct" over any outside influence."
" I'm very reactive when I perceive that anyone has broken my trust or come close to hurting me and it's hard to re-build. Sometimes I've been able to and sometimes it works but it takes monumental determination on both my end and the end of whoever has made me "gun shy" of them.
While I have the wild tendencies, independence and skepticism of a wolf, other things just don't match at all. This has lead me to chalk much of my other canine feelings up, over the years, as being influenced by domestic dogs but yet, I feel
dog in these feelings, not like a dog, as one...
I have faced situations where calmness turned to chaos in the blink of an eye and the lives of my crew, who I've never thought of as anything other than human, were dangerously at stake. A wolf among humans, I'm apt to believe would instinctually flee as survival would be paramount above all else. The instinct of any animal in the wild is to survive, breed, eat, carry on, but this was a far different instinct that I felt. The instinct that drove me to charge toward the danger, like a locomotive under full steam, without regard for my own self is comparative to what drives dogs of war and police to charge into gunfire and neutralize a threat. It's not about survival, I've got a purpose, I've got a job to do, this is why I'm here, if I have to pay the ultimate cost that's the price I've got to pay but I will absolutely die before I turn and run.
I had a dream shift about a year ago...
"I had a dream last night that I was a dog, some sort of large, pointy eared shepherd breed, perhaps a mix? I don't know... I'm walking alongside someone at night, in a city that I don't recognise. I'm not on a leash, just walking alongside. It's not clear if this person is my owner or not but there's clearly a deep-rooted bond between us.
Everything looks old, as in early 1900s, the street lamps, store fronts, the clothes people are wearing. There are streets but I did not notice any cars so perhaps this dream takes place around the depression era or slightly before?
As we turn the corner, I got an eerie sense of danger present and curled my lips back, beginning to growl. A slender man stepped out of the shadoes of an alley. I do not know what his intent was but I knew he was going to harm her, he brandished a pistol and I could sense her fear and desperation. She looked down at me, her only hope.
I stepped in front of her, the length of my body shielding as best I could, my ears back, growling and barking, tail down, head down, trembling. Every muscle in my body shook violently with anticipation as my instinct took over, my eyes were trained upon the man and his weapon, waiting...
He flinched and I sprang, lunging through the air as if a spear wielded by some ancient warrior. With skill and precision, I sank my fangs deep into his neck and began twisting my head, tearing at flesh as best I could. I think I punctured something but I missed the jugular, damn... he fell over under my weight and screamed in terror, his face pale as a ghost. I released him and he fled.
I coughed... blood... mine... the gun lay on the sidewalk, it's barrel still smoking and I would soon lose the strength to stand, laying beside it. She rushed to my side and wrapped her arms around my neck, burying her face in my fur. As tears streamed down her beautiful face, she stroked my head and rubbed my ears, telling me her feelings, that she loved me, that I'd saved her life, that I was a good dog.
I felt an antagonizing pain as my lung collapsed and breath became near impossible. She sat beside me, her hands covering her face, sobbing. "Give me more time dammit! She's upset! I can't leave her like this!!!" I thought, despite the pain and the fear coarsing through me, despite going into shock, I didn't let it show. I would not let her last memory of me be traumatic...
I crawled over and lay my head into her lap and closed my eyes. The feeling of death creeping upon my body as I drew my last breath, my blood gone cold. I could feel her gentle hand petting my head and still hear her voice "thank you, you're a good boy" it began trailing off and my last thought, I wished I could stay, she needed me, I loved her... with my last ounce of life, I licked her hand one final time to show her how I felt.
Ever since that, I've felt "it was more than just a dream, that's me". Despite my caution and desire to keep distant from humans, I can't help but long for a dynamic of somehow being a companion animal in a strange sense, not necessarily a dependent pet but more like a codependent service animal or working dog.
I'm not neophobic, I adapt far too well to changing situations, I have no fear, I'm not anxious, my sense of loyalty and duty prevails over my own survival and self preservation. I'm not totally a wolf...
But I sure as hell ain't no pet... I'm fiercely independent, I'm stubborn and answer only to myself, I'm highly skeptical and I've got the ability nto survive is all of humanity was wiped off the face of the earth... I'm not totally a dog either.
Wolfdog? I'm not so sure, feelings are mixed but I seldom feel conflicted. I'll settle on both of them being two separate theriotypes that make up my identity, for now.
Is dog due to influence? While suspicion would point that way, I can't say for sure. What I can say, however, is that I am dog and dog is me. Regardless of reason, it's what I am...