December 1st, 2006
the white wolf

today i would rather be submersing myself in the poems of mary oliver, wandering with her through the woods and wetlands. noticing the subtle palette of colors at this time of year, all shades of browns and faded rust with some yellow thrown in. the absence of green.
but instead I work on final art for a book. often not feeling like I know what i am doing. but i suppose that is par for the course. i always feel like this with every big project. it’s a lot harder though when you know this thing will be in print for several years and you will have to live with whatever mistakes there are for the duration. still i am in love with the work, even through these rough patches. the kettle seems to be going all day in this house. i measure my days with cups of tea.
and dog bones.
my life has been hijacked recently by a deaf australian shepherd named alex. i call him my white wolf. for many big reasons he has come into my life (our lives), most of which we are learning as we go. i am learning mostly about myself, (that I can be rather selfish and protective of my time/space, and learning to relinquish this was a bit of a shock to the system). it may seem strange to some, but this is one of the hardest things i have ever done. i have a new found respect for every parent and every dog owner on the planet, (now humbled and awed by you all.) and yet for all the ups and downs, i find myself drawn to several images of white wolves i find out in the world, a sign that this creature has forever wormed his way into my heart and body despite the daily challenges. more and more i am craving the feeling of rubbing my face into his incredibly soft white ears. and that wonderful nightly occurence we have dubbed, “sleepy puppy”, dozy loving eyes. i am adjusting to being woken up by a warm tongue on my face. and i am learning that some of his acting out comes from the fact that he is scared.
just like a lot of humans i know.
research: in native Haida culture the wolf represents intelligence, leadership and a strong sense of family.
p.s. this photo was the best i could get. he does not like the lights on the camera at all, and runs away terrified.

Dec 1 2006
12:44 pm
nadine writes:

I have been shown the worst and the best of myself by my dogs. My impatience, my endless love, my selfishness, my compassion, my anger, my protective instincts. When Bobby, my dog of 11 years died, it wasn’t just the house that seemed empty. I felt I had misplaced parts of my character. All those things that she brought out in me went into hiding.
Until Jimmy came along, and now he is holding up the mirror, showing me myself all over again.

Dec 1 2006
2:24 pm
jeanine writes:

Hello from Canada! I felt the same way as you when I got my first dog – as if my freedom had been taken away. But then I realized that Dylan gave me so much more in return. He made me laugh every single day, even when I felt miserable. He gave me the best greetings, even when I was only gone for 5 minutes. He loved me no matter what and never judged me – in his eyes I was perfect. His teachings were invaluable and he got me out in nature every single day, even on those slushy, cold, yucky days. 3 weeks ago today, he was hit by a car and died. The emptyness my partner and I feel cannot be described. My source of unconditional love, my best pal is gone. Even though I didn’t think it was possible, I had become ‘one of those dog owners’ and it was worth every day of the past 5 years. Give it time and you’ll see that your pup will melt your heart too. You simply won’t be able to help it :)

Dec 1 2006
3:28 pm
cindy writes:

Will you post a picture of your new love? pretty please?

Dec 1 2006
3:41 pm
Sophie writes:

Animals are wonderful. Would love to see a photo of the white wolf.
Good luck with the last pieces for the book!

Dec 1 2006
3:46 pm
Michele Lessirard writes:

We just got a new golden retriever puppy, and well I am so in love with Roxy it hurts. Sweet, gentle playful. Never had such a deep soul connection with our other heart is more open…she makes me take breaks. I would love to see a picture of Alex as well. Give him a hug from me for bringing so much into your life.
Dogs rule

Dec 1 2006
3:54 pm
susanna writes:

Congratulations on the newest member of your family, Keri!

Dec 1 2006
4:15 pm
Sabine writes:

I’m very happy for you! I have a standard poodle who is wonderful. I consider her as much as a member of my family and my parents and my pet rats… Is this a picture of your dog, or one that closely looks like him?
Have you read White Fang? f you haven’t, I highly recommend it. It’s one of my faovirte books.

Dec 1 2006
4:22 pm
keri Smith writes:

that’d be him. we think he is partially but not fully albino (he has a few grey patches in his coat). as it is a rescue situation we do not know a lot about his background. i think it might have been abusive as he flinches if you raise your hand to say ‘no’.
we use hand signals to comminucate.

Dec 1 2006
4:22 pm
keri Smith writes:

that’d be him. we think he is partially but not fully albino (he has a few grey patches in his coat). as it is a rescue situation we do not know a lot about his background. i think it might have been abusive as he flinches if you raise your hand to say ‘no’.
we use hand signals to comminucate.

Dec 1 2006
4:22 pm
keri Smith writes:

that’d be him. we think he is partially but not fully albino (he has a few grey patches in his coat). as it is a rescue situation we do not know a lot about his background. i think it might have been abusive as he flinches if you raise your hand to say ‘no’.
we use hand signals to comminucate.

Dec 1 2006
4:34 pm
penelope writes:

What a sweetie. Maybe someday he can meet my Vince for a play date. :)
I remember when we first got Vince… it was quite an adjustment. But after a few months it was weird when he WASN’T around. It was easier with him there.

Dec 1 2006
5:13 pm
deeleea writes:

He is beautiful

Dec 1 2006
7:24 pm
cindy writes:

thank you, thank you, thank you!!
What do you mean this is the best you could get?? It is perfect ;)
Absolutely adorable—and makes me want to take a nap too !!

Dec 1 2006
10:22 pm
Velvet Brick writes:

Oh Keri!! Happy, happy, joy, joy!! Congratulations to you on your new buddy! He is adorable…and yes, he sounds as if he might have been abused due to his being scared/flinching. Perhaps his previous owner could not handle (or did not know??) that he was deaf, and became angry when ‘buddy’ didn’t do what he wanted him to do… I recently adopted a rescued border collie (after having to put down my Mollie a couple months ago). Ross was in bad shape when he was rescued, and is being treated for valley fever. But he loves me like no body’s business… runs out into the garage when he hears me drive in…is always by my side and looks at me with pure love, and even more powerful…pure trust. This, after being neglected by another human. I could go on and on on how this dog as affected me so greatly… and I do not consider myself a ‘dog person’…. !! Best of luck to you, Jeff and ‘buddy’… what an adorable family! Many blessings! Velvet B.

Dec 2 2006
8:38 am
Sophie writes:

He’s cute!!

Dec 2 2006
1:05 pm
TandJ writes:

Beautiful fur-kid !

Dec 2 2006
3:45 pm
A long-time reader, first-time poster writes:

Congratulations on the new furry friend in your life. He’s beautiful!
I wanted to pass along a recommendation that I give all dog owners/lovers in my life: if you’ve never encountered the show ‘The Dog Whisperer’ (on the Discovery channel) I would highly recommend it. It offers so much insight into the lives and psychology of dogs in how they differ from humans, and how to create balanced happy lives for everyone in the household. Also highly recommend the book ‘Cesar’s Way’, written by the dog psychologist of the show. Incredible stuff, life lessons.
Enjoy your new journey with Alex!

Dec 2 2006
7:10 pm
Lynne Gillis writes:

As “mom” to 3 canine kids (2 golden retrievers and a rescued border collie), I can definitely relate to the feelings you’re having. But the thing that I never anticipated, especially during those initial few weeks with each new dog, when the words, “What HAVE you DONE???” kept ringing in my ears — questioning my sanity for taking on another little furry soul to love — is how much you get back from them. My border collie rescue (who is 8 years old now) was very timid when I first found her… but now — oh my gosh, now she is just the sweetest love bug. Dogs have such a way of bringing out the best in you — if you open yourself up to that. I laugh more because of the dogs. I get out more. I look at the world in a different way — a much more accepting way. It’s all good.
Somewhere I read that the greatest goal a dog-owner could have was to be the kind of person their dog thinks they are. I think that says it all.
Good luck! I know you will look back on this as one of the very best decisions you have ever made!

Dec 3 2006
2:55 am
jennifer {creatingfromscratch} writes:

Peaceful and gorgeous. Warm wishes to both of you as you begin your journey together. :)

Dec 3 2006
5:16 am
homa writes:

These two last posts were more based on reality, and differet from last beautiful fairy posts.
I can see a differnce in you from the time comming to new city.
Good wishes

Dec 3 2006
9:51 am
robin writes:

Hi there,
I’ve stopped by your blog off and on, but I just had to comment on your new family member ;-) Your “white wolf” is beautiful!!!!!!!! Australian shepherds are wonderful dogs, very smart, very people oriented, willing to please. ;-)
Unfortunately, deafness is not uncommon in merles (the more white the coat, the higher chance of deafness). My australian shepherd was also very timid. He had lived through a house fire and he was always afraid of hoses/ropes (waterhoses, etc.) and folks wearing ANY kind of hat. Still, he was a wonderful dog with a very strong herding instinct and learned all sorts of things (frisbee was his favorite).
After he passed away (old age), I wasn’t sure I was ready for another dog… but it happens and I have enjoyed 8 months of puppy fun with a 1/2 australian shepherd, 1/2 basset hound (she looks like an australian cattle dog). ;-)
I had forgotten how much puppies teach you (if you let them). My only advice is to take lots and lots of photos. They really do grow up very fast. ;-)
best of luck and joy during puppyhood!

Dec 3 2006
10:31 am
himavant writes:

hi keri! i started to read your blog a few months ago. i like it. thanks for sharing your thought! very nice! also, congrats on the beautiful dog :-)

Dec 3 2006
11:03 am
NessieNoodle writes:

the words in your last paragraph have brought tears to my eyes… you just summed up what I have been feeling since we got a new puppy… the feeling of selfishness, the feeling of love the mixed emotions (we got the puppy because I had a miscariage, and now that we have her I often wonder how much more intense a little human will be once we decided to try again)
But there is that craving for warmth that you gather from one another. And it is true, so much of the choas is really because they/we are scared.
thank you for getting the words out that I could not…

Dec 3 2006
10:18 pm
4 writes:

Hi! White Wolf! :D

Dec 4 2006
12:04 am
Alex writes:

Aiii… He is just adorable. I’ve been wanting a puppy too. But I’m also afraid that I won’t be good enough to take care of it. He is lucky to have you! Enjoy!

Dec 4 2006
3:38 pm
nadine writes:

Oh keri, he’s just lovely!

Dec 4 2006
9:53 pm
Sarah writes:

I just found your site a few days ago, but I am finding myself to be remarkably inspired by every entry I read. I am continually impressed by your writing and your humor, but most of all, by your perspective. Speaking as someone who always shys away from placing others on pedestals, I really do admire you, and I’d like to thank you for the inspiration and creativity you’re giving the world. We need more kindred spirits like you.

Dec 5 2006
8:42 pm
Faridee writes:

Hey Keri, first of all thanks for replying to my last comment through email, i found it a very nice gesture from you :)
About this post i wouldnt agree more with you, my sister who is unable to have kids, recently bought a chihuahua puppy, it is 3 months old now and we totally love him… last week he got a stress shock from being out in the car all day long (imagine a little puppy in mexico city traffic), and to our surprise he was very sick from it, he almost died… we were so scared and felt guilt. I now know what parents feel for their kids. And we just want to be near him (only not when he is in biting mood)… loved your post, cheers.

Dec 6 2006
10:39 am
ruthie writes:

Hello from Bulgaria! I just wanted to say how much I liked your post and that your puppy is adorable. I’ve also identified with the feelings you describe because I have a yellow lab puppy. He’s my third dog but it doesn’t matter, you always discover new things with each one of them. He’s helping me to recover from the loss of one of my other dogs that died a bit more than a month ago.

Dec 6 2006
11:50 am
m writes:

i also have a found dog who suddenly became a huge, irreversible part of my life. he is fearful of cameras, too. if he hears the camera even TURN on, he slinks sideways out the door and hides in a corner. found dogs are harder then puppies, more rewarding then puppies, and the best thing that will ever happen to your world. my dog was the craziest dog i’d ever met. it took him so long to feel safe. everytime he did something bad, it was like he was saying – is this it? is this the naughty thing i’ll do that will make you send me back? after a year and a half, i think he finally feels like he’s really home, no matter what. oh, we love him. everyday i wonder what we did without him – and scarier, what he did without us. for a found dog, you become his world in such a profound way. but oh! will you ever find your reserves of patience!

Dec 6 2006
7:16 pm
PJ writes:

Ohhhhh, you are in love!!! It really is amazing..and it really is like raising a baby that first year is so important!..and they even have ‘teen’ years of course it goes by a heck of lot faster than our real kids! …and just like a baby you get a lot of free advice, too! ;)
My golden is over 2 now and I’m like, “whew” glad that part is over! you can do it and really try to enjoy it. All they do is LOVE and the best thing is they can’t talk back!

Dec 7 2006
1:38 pm
Xavier writes:

What a beautiful dog. An angel has been brought to your home. Wishin’ you and yours a wonderful holiday season.

Dec 7 2006
2:24 pm
pixie writes:

alex is so beautiful. you are a very compassionate mommy, keri, and you are so willing to do your best for him. i love that about you. dogs bring such tremendous insights to us about ourselves. you will feel like you are doing a great job in just a little while. and he’ll forgive you your early foibles…

Dec 16 2006
2:53 am
herhimnbryn writes:

Oh serves me right for being away. I come back and find that a Wolf has adopted you! He is gorgeous. How are you and he managing with his deafness ( I believe this can happen in Aussie shepherds as it can in our Bryn’s breed Australian cattle dog).
Anyway I know that Bryn would be sending the Wolf a major ‘play bow’, so I send it on his behalf!
Welcom K to the world of the dog. Just so that you know, they ‘train’ us not the other way round.

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