Laughter, a Native American Pet Wolf

Florida Christmas 004horseheader1.jpeGood Morning or Afternoon or even Evening!  : )  (Not sure when you’re joining us today.)

By the way, I’ll be giving away a free book to some lucky blogger today.  Nothing to read — nothing to buy — just log on and leave a post and you’re automatically entered.

Okay, with that said, off to the right here is Georgie, the little kitten that I rescued when I was in Florida.  Georgie is now full grown and two years old.   But he’s the most recent addition to our pets.  Pets are so important in any culture.  And probably there is no human culture alive and well that doesn’t keep pets.  Sometimes these pets are in the form of the family cow or the family pig or the family chickens.  (Just recently a friend was going out of town and needed someone to watch her chickens.  We were interviewed to see if we qualified to watch them for a week!)

bear 016Off to the right here is another one of our pets, Bear.  It seems to me that pets enrich our lives.  They love us when perhaps no one else might and they’re always there for us.  Now, there were many pets in Native America.  There were dogs aplenty.  Indeed, before the advent of the horse in America, the dog was a necessity to any family.  They watched the children, carried the family’s supplies and in Alaska, they formed a very needed mode of transportation (the dog sled).

trips 025I don’t know if you can see this very well, but behind me is a tiger.  We discovered him (my husband and I) at a gas station along the route to Florida.  He’s very much a pet.  But I do wonder what it costs to keep him in food.

But I digress.  I wanted to tell you about a true story.  The story of Laughter the pet wolf.  It’s a story told by James Willard Schultz in his book, Why Gone Those Times.  The title of the chapter is called, Laugher, The Story of a Tame Wolf.  Found by Schultz and his Blackfeet friend, Nitaina, after a rain storm had killed all of its brothers and sisters, Nitaina and Schultz carried the baby wolf home.  I do want to repeat a little of the book’s narrative, if you will bear with me.

0004(1024x768)[1]“Woles are not like dogs, you know.  A dog father knows not his own children.  A wolf marries and he and his wife live always together until death.  When children come, he hunts for them, and brings food for them, and watches over them faithfully while the mother goes out to hunt and run around, and keep up her strength.  Ah, they are wise, true hearted animals, the big wolves of the plains.  And what hunters they are; they never suffer from want of food.”

Gray_Wolf_Pup_Quebec-(1024x768)-bandwidth-thief[1]Laughter was a male pup.  He would sit outside the lodge at night and listen to the wolves off in the distance.  He would run to his mater then and plead with him to take him out there.  But his master would say “no,” and Laughter would obey.  Interestingly none of the male dogs in camp liked him — the females did — but not the males, and so Laughter’s lot in life became fighting very early on.  At first he was afraid of the other dogs, but then after he killed one of them, they all left him alone.

JLM-wolf01-(1024x768)[1]Now, interestingly, Laughter was only friendly to his master, Nitaina.  He would tolerate Schultz, but he never really warmed up to him.  In fact, he would snarl at anyone else other than Nitaina.  Nitaina and Schultz would take Laughter with them when they were going on war parties.  You couldn’t take a dog, because dogs would act the same as saying, “We’re here.  We’re here.  We’ve come here to fight you.”  But not Laughter.  He was a help to the war party, and not a hindrance.  Indeed, Laughter saved their lives by sniffing out the enemy before Schultz and Nitaina were even aware there was an enemy about.

f_wolves99_11_s-(1024x768)[1]What became of Laughter?  He stayed with Nitaina until he was full grown.  They had many adventures.  But Laughter began to absent himself from the camp for several days — and then for many days.  Again, I should say again that wolves are not like dogs.  He needed his own kind.  He needed to marry.  At first Nitaina tried to tie him, but Laughter would snap the ropes in two.  And so there came a day when Laughter came no more.  But there is a happy ending to the story, and I quote, “Later on we saw him one last time.  We were hunting, and away out on the plain noticed two wolves sitting on a low butte watching us.  As we neared them one came trotting down to meet us, and lo! it was Laughter, oh, so glad to see his master.  Nitaina got down off his horse and petted him, then remounted and called him to follow.  He sat down and watched us starting on, and whined, and trotted back to the butte and the wife hd had found.  He jumped around her, wagging his tail, and then started toward us, looking back — by all his actions coaxing her to follow, but she would not move.  Again and again he did that, and at last gave up and howled.  He loved Nitaina, but he love his young wife most.

ds-loup10-(1024x768)[1]“We had thought in the spring to capture several wolf pups and tame them, and saw that it would be only a waste of time and trouble.  The call of kind to kind is stronger than any other love.”

And so ends the story of Laughter, the tame wolf as told by James Willard Schultz. 

Now, my question to you is this:  Do you have pets?  Have you had any unusual pets?  And what do you think?  Aren’t they family?

51obnqdgasl_sl500_aa240_1Seneca Surrender 1And don’t forget, if you haven’t yet picked up your copy of BLACK EAGLE, please do so today.  Here’s a link:

  And watch for my new book, SENECA SURRENDER, due out in April 2010.

Website | + posts

KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
Please refer to for all contest rules.

52 thoughts on “Laughter, a Native American Pet Wolf”

  1. ~love the story of Laughter. Wolves are beautiful, wild spirits meant to be free. No one can “own” a wolf; to even imply ownership would be disrespectful. We have known friends who kept 2 wolves for over 12 yrs between the pair. The lost them both within months of each other, to old age.
    Wolves are to be respected first, and never tamed, nor held captive. I am glad that for the most part, those days of wanting to keep exotic animals as “pets” are over-most people have become educated.
    Our friends will never again keep another wolf caged, as they too, have lost the lust for caging such a beautiful creature for selfish pleasure.

    as for teh book cover model…WOOF! 😀

  2. What a great post Karen! I loved hearing about Laughter and a great name at that! I have always been curious about wolves but I would never keep one. Lets face it they are not really pets they are wild animals! I have heard they were pets to the indiana thought! I think that we should always respect them and let them live their wild life.

  3. I had pets once. CATS. i mean lots of cats. we happened to have more than 12 cats in the house 🙂

    And the last cat was died couple months ago. so sad. coz my family and me are cats lover. WE cried when the cats die.

  4. A beautiful story, Karen. I agree that wolves, like all wild animals, should be left free.

    I have a cat, Emily, and a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever,Chance,that I’ve mentioned here before. As a teenager I had a horse. I’m the kind of person who’d have a menagerie if I could.

  5. What a beautiful animal,those eyes! I love the fact they can run free,never should a anmimal like that be captive,I think it takes away their spirit,we have a cat an a dog that are spoiled but hey they are supposed to be!lol

  6. Hi Karen! What a wonderful story. I had no idea that male wolves were “family men.” My husband and I have a dog named Hartley. He’s a rescue dog, and he loves us to pieces. He’s a Jack Russell / Beagle mix and just plain crazy.

  7. What a wonderful story about Laughter!! thank you for sharing that : ) I think i had told you before about my mother-in-law’s wolf dogs, she has only got a couple left they never bothered anyone but they have to keep them penned up because they would run threw the field and go to food lion and people would be afraid of them and think they were wild so they were afraid they’d get shot. I have a pug dog and never thought i would have a dog in the house 24-7 but she made her way into my heart and we are so in tune with each other she is like my shadow : ) she is my 3rd child now and brought much joy in my life even threw not so good times.

  8. Wonderful story, Karen. Thanks for sharing. I lived next door once to a family with a half-wolf dog. It was beautiful but vicious. I like dogs but couldn’t get near that one. I’m a cat person at heart, presently enjoying my huge tabby boy Walter and his little orange fluffball girlfriend, Sadie. They are my loves.

  9. I LOVE the story of laughter. I have heard of similar story when I was younger. the master of the wolf always stated that the wolf was tame, but not domesticate, the day the wolf would leave the house, it would hurt the children, but it was better that way because he (or she I don’t recal if it was a male or female.)was a wild animal and he/she should live in the wild.

    Personnally, I always Lions and even ask my father when I was about 4 if we could have one at home, he said ‘No, I am not going to buy 100Kg of meat a day to feed a pet.’ then I ask if we coudl have a cat and he said yes. we had cats since then.

    the couple of cats I have now are sisters from different father, but same mother. the youngest is name Timothée and the oldest was names ‘The Pest’ because she is, but I change her name recently for Preciosa (it means precious in spanish) because she is also.

    I truly appreciate their presence in my house even though they completely ignore me 90% of the time the other 10% they pay attention to me because they are hungry. but I love them still

  10. P.S. I’ve probably told this story before. For 10 years I volunteered at the zoo here in Salt Lake City. We had Dakota, the wolf in “Dances With Wolves” here until he died of old age. When the movie was made he was very young. He grew into a gorgeous animal, but because he had no fear of humans he could be very aggressive. The keepers had to be careful around him. I remember when his mate died during a routine surgical procedure. You could hear him howling all over the zoo until another female was brought in for him. Amazing memories.

  11. I loved the story. It reminds me of a story told about a lion cub in Jean Auel’s earth series. I love all wildlife and for the last 15 years have been taking care of ferals/strays and found homes and taken in quite a few. At the moment I have 6 cats inside and only 2 outside (one just passed this month at almost 15 in this horrible cold spell). We have had dogs too and I miss having them but have my hands full. I’ve tried to save wild rabits, birds and even mice but never had any luck.

  12. Hi Sandra!

    Thanks so much for your post. I’ve never known anyone who had a wolf. I’ve known some people who have half-dog, half-wolf.

    They are a beautiful animal. Especially as it was in the old days when they and the Indians were free. : )

  13. Good Morning, Quilt Lady!

    Like you, I think that wolves should be free — but then so should people. : ) Neither wolves nor people were meant to be owned.

  14. Good Morning, Mariska,

    I love your name by the way. Like you, I grew up with many cats. I still have and love cats and we also have a couple of dogs. What I find interesting is how much both these animals return your love.

  15. Hi Vickie!

    You made me smile. Yes, they are meant to be spoiled. But then a very wise man once said that you can’t spoil an animal or even a person with love. The only thing that truly spoils a person (one who is very selfish) is the lack of love. I rather agree with that.

  16. Good Morning, Lori!

    So nice to see you here today. What an interesting story. I have known someone once who had a wolf-dog and it was a very smart dog. But it was also a sweetheart.

    Thanks for your post.

  17. Hi Alexandra!

    What an interesting story. These wolf-dogs that I once knew weren’t vicious in the least. He was just really, really smart.

    I loved your story!

  18. Oh, Elizabeth, what a great story. In this book, yes, they also mention how the wolves mourned when their pups were killed in the flood — and the fact that they mate for life.

    It is so interesting. That’s rather cool that you knew the wolf in “Dances With Wolves.”

  19. Enjoyed the story! 😀 My household always has pets… and they are family! Through the years we have had a few characters, my fav was my parrot that was given to me from a family friend, his name was Oscar. Oscar was my best friend, my protector,… no one could touch Oscar but me, we had our little games that we played… but the most amazing thing was years later Oscar laid two eggs… Oscar was a she! They were duds… it was hard to think of him as a girl… miss that bird!

  20. Lovely story, Karen! True love always wins out!

    We don’t have a pet at present, but the children
    did have a little black puppy, named Chocolate
    Chip when they were small. Then they brought home
    Gerald when they were in college. He was a feral,
    born-in-a-box-of-pompoms, scratch-at-everyone, sleep-in-the-Christmas-tree, and sit-on-the-girls’s-heads pet. He was with us for some 12 or 13 years. Then he became seriously ill and it was obvious that he would have to be put to sleep. The four children and one spouse gathered here in the living room with Gerald. They talked and sang to him, letting him know how much they
    loved and would miss him. He truly was a family
    member, not just a pet!

    Pat Cochran

  21. Karen, I think wolves are among the most regal of animals. Thanks for the story.

    I have a dog, Wrigley, a 2-year-old border terrier. My most unusual pets were a pair of mice, both females, both pregnant when I bought them. Can you imagine 22 baby mice? Needless to say I took the babies back to the pet store once they were weaned. 😀

  22. Hi Colleen!

    I’ve never had a parrot, but I’ve had a wonderful Parakeet, who talked and said such phrases as “I love you!” “You’re so cute!” “I’m a ha-ha-happy bird!” “What ‘cha doin’?” We all loved him dearly. I miss that bird, too.

    I have another story from a friend who had a parrot andthe parrot had an entire — frustrating for the UPS man — with their UPS man. : )

  23. We have 4 dogs and two cats for regular pets at the moment. We also have a ball python and 4 peacocks. We have had fish, rats, mice, hamsters, gerbles, lizards, and a variety of snakes and turtles. Local snakes, turtles and lizards were kept to use with classes then released when finished. Some were being kept because they were injured, then released. We had a squirrel we found on the ground when it was only a day or two old. We bottle fed it until it was old enough to release. It stayed around and would visit us for several years. At the moment, our daughter has ducks, chickens,a turken, goats, meat sheep, llamas, a pot belly pig, horses, a rabbit, dogs, cats, fish, and 2 emus.
    Animals are important to any household and great friends.

  24. I love it, Patricia! Okay, I think you are the one with the most — and most unusual — pets. I did know someone once who had a skunk for a pet. Apparently they are very smart and make good pets. And yes, pets are essential to any household, I think.

  25. Oh I love Laughter! I love wolfs…support Defenders of Wildlife and have “adopted” one in the wild. Also a polar bear, a sea turtle, and three donkeys at a sancutary in Israel.

    Sadly the last of our three Labs passed away a few months ago and we’re still reeling. They definitely were my babies. While we heal, I watch the antics of the wild squirrel who has somehow appeared in our neighborhood. Oh, yes, I leave nuts for him.

    As always, Kay, a terrific post! oxoxoxoxox

  26. Kay,

    I love the story. Yes animals are part of my family. I had a pure white wolve pup and it got ran over. I still long for this pup. I have a cat. He is a gray tabby named Skye. He is my baby.

    The wolf to me is one of my favorite dogs.

    Thanks Kay for such a wonderful post

    Walk in harmony,

  27. Kay,

    Feral means living in a wild or untamed or savage state. He was definitely wild! I still have some
    of the scratch marks he left on my arms all those years ago! My determined girls “loved” the wildness
    out of Gerald!

    Pat Cochran

  28. I love wolf stories like so many others. They are such amazing animals…with hearts as big as the sky.
    I’m glad this one ended with him being free…wild animals should never be kept as pets…it’s not really fair.
    I felt bad for the tiger in the picture…I can’t even visit zoos.

    We do foster care for dogs and sometimes cats and horses….we currently have 9 dogs at our house with the fosters, a few farm cats, 2 retired Standardbred race horses, a sheep, a goat, chickens and ducks. 🙂

  29. I used to have cats, but now I have to settle for my brother’s dog, when he brings her here for me to look after while he is on holiday someplace else or working somewhere where he can’t take her. None of the cats I had ever caused as much trouble as my brother’s dogs (this is his 3rd one). Sometimes I think she must have been a mule in a previous life. I can always see it in here eyes when she has decided to do something I won’t like, like chase wild ducks around the lake or rush to my cousins’ summer cottage to see if anyone’s there.

  30. Hi Tanya!

    My heart goes out to you in your loss. I only hope that your others pets make up for it. : )

    Thanks for the post, Tanya!

  31. What a great post! I enjoyed reading about Laughter. Growing up I had a cat, but she passed away just before I got married. I don’t have any cats right now, but we do have 4 dogs. All 4 of the dogs are spoiled and they are our children. I also have a chinchilla.

  32. Hi Pat!

    Okay — what kind of pet was it that was feral but would be in your kids hair and in the Christmas tree — was it a bird of some kind?

    Just wondering. 🙂

  33. Hi Tabitha!

    I understand how you feel about wild animals. To a great degree, I feel this way, too, about Native America of the past. Crowded onto reservations, these people who loved freedom, were put in areas where nothing would grow and given the worst land — and any land that was good, was instantly taken and went up for sale.

    That oil was discovered later on some of these lands is a little bit of justice, except that the environmental laws and taxes and fees and such from land management are so strict that it makes it financially unstable to utilize the land.

    So what economy could be put in place is stopped right in its tracks, keeping the reservations for all intents and purposes poor. And this in a land where all were free and were rich in their environment.


  34. Hi Minna!

    Gee, that’s a shame. Hope things get better. Ah, dogs. You know that’s in their nature. And in the past, those kinds of dogs would have been treasured because they helped the family to survive by bringing in wild game, etc. Or helping the man of the family hunt. 🙂

  35. Hello Estella!

    We have cats, too, and two dogs. The oldest of our cats is…well, I’m not certain exactly, but I believe that she is about 15 years old. Love them all.

  36. Hi, Karen,

    I’m a huge animal lover, so I especially loved your blog today and all the pictures!

    I have two fur babies — Spot and Bandit. They’re the last of my rescued kitties, and all of my cats have been my kids. 🙂

  37. Well, she does hunt with my brother and brings him the birds he has shot. She just doesn’t understand that there are times when you are not supposed to hunt.

  38. Sweet, sad story. Thank goodness the wolf was smart enough to know he needed to be true to what he was born to be.
    We have a Catahoula Leopard Dog that we got from a rescue – she and her sister were found wandering in the desert @ 4 years ago. Her sister was a “dog pack” dog, but Dezee immediately indicated she wanted us to adopt her into our “pack” with typical submissive behaviors and now that we’ve added a toy poodle to the mix she spends a lot of her day trying to “herd” her new pack member. (She tried it with us in the beginning but was smart enough to realize we were an unruly bunch that would not be subdued).

  39. Tracy, this is so true. What a wonderful thing, however, that he went and found his true love.

    I love that “herding” the dog does. We have a cat that herds us to bed every night. 🙂 We love it.

Comments are closed.