Laughter, the Pet Wolf — True Story

Good 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.

This is a very tough year for us and our pets.  Three of our older cats were elderly and passed away.  But we also lost another of our cats, Midnight, and recently we lost our newest addition to what we think was poisoning.  We live in a neighborhood that has a gopher problem, and we think one of our neighbors put out poison.  He was a youngster and dearly loved, and so because I’m still very sad about it, I thought I’d do another post regarding pets.  An uplifting story.  Off to the left here is litte Zoomer (as I called him) or Robere.  He had gotten into my car and stuck behind my GPS unit.

Pets are so important in any culture.  And probably there is no human culture alive and well that doesn’t love and 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!)

Here’s another picture of Zoomer or Robere.  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.  Those dogs watched the children, carried the family’s supplies and in Alaska, they formed a very needed mode of transportation (the dog sled).

I 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.

“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.”

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.

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.

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 he 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.

“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 I’d also like to ask — because I sit here very, very sad over the loss of Zoomer/Robere — have you ever lost a dear one, and if so, and you feel like sharing, did it affect your life?

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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.
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24 thoughts on “Laughter, the Pet Wolf — True Story”

  1. Interesting Kay. The last pet I had was a Chiwauwau, (misspelled) named Tinkerbelle. She was more my husbands pet tho than mine. I called her his shadow. She followed him everywhere, and I have lots of pictures of her napping with him If he was sitting, she would get behind his neck on the sofa, making like a pillow. I didn’t fool with her as much as him. But when he passed away with cancer, then she loved me, tho could have had more attention. I like pets but not like so many. Sorry if that makes me bad to some. I did love them all as a kid. She died a few years ago and I still miss her tho. All of my kids have more than one pet in their home and they are all spoiled. # with dogs and one with cats. I would love to win your book.
    MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

  2. I am so sorry to hear about your cats. I am a huge cat lover (guess you can call me cat lady). I don’t have children, so my cats take that place in my life. My heart really breaks for you.

  3. Hi Kay. I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of your pets. It’s a very hard thing to go through. About eight years ago I had a Chihuahua named Blackie who passed away the day we moved to South Carolina. I was so upset and depressed after that and I thought I would never get over it. About two months later we rescued another Chihuahua we named Gidget. When we got her she was about five months old and at an unhealthy weight. Gidget needed us as much as I needed her. Today she is happy and healthy and a great addition to the family. Just recently, my grandpa passed away and my grandma has moved in with us and we have adopted their dog a shihtzu named Muffin.

  4. We’ve had 3 dogs over the past 30 years..and as a child I only had a hampster… I’m sorry for your pet losses..

  5. What a beautiful story, Karen. And I love the Native American voice that tells it. I like dogs, but I’m really a cat person. I’ve had my current pair, Walter and Sadie, for almost 8 years. They are total indoor pets because I have neighbor dogs on three sides of me and a busy street in front. They would wander and it would break my heart to lose them. Hugs on the loss of your pets. May your heart soon be filled with love for something new.

  6. Hello Kay,
    sorry to hear about your loss. It so sad to lose them. We have had many pets over the years but the one that I cried a ton over was my dog. She was half german shepherd and lab. She was my favorite! I had her since I was 8 years. she was my best friend and she even slept in my room. when she got much older her hip wouldn’t work any more and we had to put her down. I cried and cried but the best part were the memories that came from our time together!

  7. SO sad about your beloved pets… Our cat Zoom Zoom passed away a few years ago… she was in her late teens… before her we had another cat named Midnight that was attacked by people with a BB gun and pointed sticks… poor thing died from infections in her wounds… unthinkable how some people can treat animals… have had plenty of good memories along with the sad….

  8. Hi Maxie!

    I, too, love my pets. They are family for my husband and myself. And we love them much like we would love any other member of the family. : )

  9. Hi Janine!

    Thanks so much for your words of comfort. Yes, it’s been hard on us — this is a new house for us and a new neighborhood — and I think we just didn’t have the time to check out the neighborhood for what I call idiots who leave out poison that not only the gophers can eat but any other wildlife or cat. Sigh…

  10. Hi Katie!

    It seems sometimes as if these moves might be hard on our pets — we lost each one of these after we’d had to move to a new house and neighborhood. Thanks for your kind words.

  11. Oh, Elizabeth, what a beautiful thing to write. We’ve decided after this fiasco that our cats are going to be indoor pets. Until we get to know the neighborhood we’re in and determine if it’s a good one or bad one for cats, we’ve decided that they will be indoor pets. We might enclose a porch or other area where they can go outside selectively. But no more roaming the neighborhood.

  12. You know, Colleen, we, too, had a cat named Midnight and he, too, was attacked not by kids with a BB gun, but an adult man with a gun who knew he was a pet of mine. Nasty man. He did pay for the cats surgery and leg wound (the man broke his leg with one of the pellets).

    Nasty, nasty. I don’t understand it, either, especially when he knew the cat was a pet.

  13. I was just remembering a funny memory after reading your response to my comment. When my mom was asking my brother and I what we wanted to name her we couldn’t agree. My mom finally said that I should get to name her since she was my dog and my brother already had a dog. After watching an old Christmas movie I fell in love with this name. there were tow bear cups in the movie and their names were Chinook and Nacomie. I picked Nacomie!

  14. Pets add so much to our lives. So sorry to hear about the loss of yours.

    One of my favorite pets was a mutt whose name was pronounced Dee Oh Gee, spelled D-O-G…Dog was a wonderfu playful dog for our children.

  15. So sorry to hear about your kitties, Kay. Pets are such a wonderful addition to the family. We always had dogs, and my grandparents had many dogs and cats as they lived on a farm and inherited those people would just drop off. Nothing unusual though.

    Love the story of Laughter! Such a sweet story of love.


  16. Sorry to hear about your kitten. It is so hard when we lose the pets we have become attached to. With the problems in the neighborhood, if you do get another cat, it may have to be an inside-only cat.

    Our first dog, a beagle, was 17 when we lost her. Last year we lost our black lab. She was 16. Of all the pets we have had, they were the favorites – sweet, loving, and gentle. We still have 2 dogs plus our son’s which shares the yard. We have had many others over the years. Those two were extra special. We have had 3 cats and recently lost one of them. He was old and it wasn’t a surprise.
    We have had a wide variety of pets over the years. Rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, fish, frogs, rats, mice, ferrets, chickens and a duck. At the moment, in addition to the dogs and cats, I have a ball python and peacocks.
    All of our children have their own pets, some more than others. They are great companions and give love unconditionally. We brought one of our pets to a nursing home as a therapy pet.

  17. What a beautiful story, Karen. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. It so sad to lose them. I have lost a lot of pets over the years. I cried when I lost my cat that I had since I was a child and still think about her at times after all of these years. My most recent one would be my Chihuahua named Bandit that I had to put down about 3 years ago because of a combination of problems and he was just suffering, who was at least 14 years old. I also just lost a 10 year old German Shepard / Black Lab mix last year do to cancer. Even though I have 2 other dogs, I still miss these animals dearly.

  18. Hi Kirsten!

    Where we used to live, we also inherited pets that others had left by the road to fend for themselves. All of our pets, save one, was a rescue in one way shape form or another.

  19. Hi Patricia!

    Yes, the kitten was a shock — a real shock. We have 2 other cats and they have now become inside only cats and will remain so until we either move to a safer environment or we will build a safe environment — like an enclosed space fenced off (from above also).

    Loved hearing about all your pets. A pet python…not sure I could do that. Of well, I’m glad that you love it. 🙂

  20. Hi Becky!

    I so understand. Even though we have other pets, each one of those pets that we lost stands out and will be missed. The young one — the kitten was a shock. Hard lesson to learn — but now our cats are inside cats only.

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