Thursday, May 8, 2014

Responding With a Holy Howl...or...What I Learned From Wolves.

Not too long ago, Brian and I visited a wolf sanctuary. Having an interest in dog behavior, I wanted to learn about Lucy's cousins, the wolves. It was truly fascinating. Some trivial facts: 
  • Did you know that a wolf can smell a human a mile away?
  • And that when they smell a human, they run? They're not aggressive, as some people mistakenly think. They are actually afraid of humans. 
  • There has never been a documented case of a wolf attack...at least in New Jersey.
  • It's against the law to take a wolf out of the wild and against the law to put a wolf back in the wild, so for any of you animal activists, the wolf sanctuary is not a cruel place, but a place of...well, sanctuary. A place where these wolves, who were born in captivity can remain protected. 
  • Wolves will take any pup back into the pack; one which has been removed will be welcome. You could even place a dog pup into the pack and it would be accepted. However, an adult would not be.
  • Wolves do not howl at the moon; rather, they howl during a full moon because it's the best time to hunt.
  • Wolves howl for a number of reasons: they howl when they're sad, excited, or when they want to rally the pack together.They often change their voices while others are howling to make the pack sound bigger. 
  • They all have their own voice and recognize each other's voice.
All the visitors were quite fascinated by the wolves. We peered through the double fence (two layers of fence; that's why you see the fence in my photos) and they peered back at us. Some of the wolves paced. Some of the children ran. Some of the grown-ups made kissy sounds as if the wolves would come to them like their domesticated cousins, the dogs these grown-ups have at home. I even heard one woman say, "Sit." Really???

None came. None sat. None obeyed. This was their territory and we were the visitors. However, once our tour guides showed up (who were also the owners, Jim and Becky...these owners knew every one of their wolves by name) the wolves came when called. They knew the sound of Jim's voice. They also knew that Jim had treats. 

Becky even got them to howl. She called out their names in a loud voice and they all started to howl. I asked her if they were responding to her as a pack member and she shrugged. "I don't know," she replied. "But it works." (Mary's Wolf Howls Video)

Isn't it wonderful that our God knows us by name? That He cares for us? We know the sound of our Master's voice and He offers us a place of sanctuary, a place of safety. He feeds us. He gives us shelter. When He calls out our name, we can ignore Him, or we can howl back. We can cry out to God, and we know that He will hear us. We may not like the fence, but it's for our protection. 

Just as there are myths about wolves that we've all believed, we often believe myths (or lies) about God. Like...God doesn't care. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you (1Pet 5:7). God wasn't there for me. I will never leave you nor forsake you (Jos 1:5). I messed up---I can't come before God now. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man...when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out (1 Cor 10:13).

We have been offered a place of sanctuary, a place of safety. He has rescued our souls and placed us where no harm can come to us. When he yells, Mary, Come on, let's go! I want to hear his voice, and respond with a holy howl!

Blessings Along the Path,
Mary

Song of the Day He Knows Your Name (Fireflight)
More information on Lakota Wolf Preserve





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