We met our dear friends, Bill and Margie, this past weekend in Boone. If you've never been to Boone, NC, make it a destination. Set in the North Carolina Appalachian Mountains, the town is filled with things to do, great shopping and restaurants, and lots of history. Also, Appalachian State University is located in Boone, and its football team beat Michigan a few years ago! Yay! As I am a total Ohio State fan, that little game between App State and Michigan thrilled me to no end! Anyway, the four of us relaxed and had a great time. Great wine, great food, great friends.
On Saturday, we wound our way around a few mountains and headed to Bakersville and the site of The Wolf Sanctum. A place for me to complete some research on my new novel, The Sanctum. I needed to get a feel of the place, the smells, the wolves' reaction to me--all the little details I could get about them. The fact that each wolf eats 50 pounds of raw chicken a week, that they will live on this sanctuary the rest of their days, and that they still howl at the moon. All these fascinating little facts are important.
The Wolf Sanctum is run by a 62 year old woman, Liz Mahaffey. She takes in wolves who were bred in captivity by people who didn't know what to do with them when they started acting like ... wolves. She's an amazing woman; her strong, tan arms are scared and scratched to pieces. Well, after all, she does interact with these wonderous creatures. But her man-like arms fascinated me. A fact that will definitely make it into the story. I had to see for myself how one would come to love an animal like this to put ones own life aside and care for them. They are indeed, beautiful. Their eyes haunt you for hours afterward. They're definitely spiritual. You can feel it.
I hope to have pictures to post here or on my Facebook pages in the near future. These animals weigh up to 120 pounds, some of them. Their huge, knobby feet are twice the size of any dog alive. They're extremely intelligent and powerful - and yet, you can see they are tolerant of those who stare at them through their large cages. The Sanctum gives them protection on a beautiful mountain, on 150 acres, where they can live 10 - 14 years vs. 7 years in the wild.
The word wolf means family in some cultures. It's fiercely protective its pack and territory, but only fights when necessary. In Native American myth, the wolf is the teacher. It was not until the advent of keeping domestic livestock that the wolf took on a sinister aura, by the Christian world.
I stood in awe of these wolves, and came away with a more clear picture in my head of their part in my novel.
Please put Boone on your list of places to visit, and add The Wolf Sanctum in nearby Bakersville as a must-see.
Blessings to you and yours.