When did our dogs diverge from the wolf and become domestic? According to some scientists, domestic dogs have been around for 15,000 to 27,000 years. Fortunately, not all wolves were domesticated and fated to become man's best friend. To our benefit, there are still some in the wild. This is the story of one wolf who looked wild but acted more like someone's pet dog. His name is Romeo.
This story took place in Juneau, Alaska and was documented by Nick Jans. It all started one day when Jans' labrador retriever was outside in the snow. Suddenly, from out of the woods came a wolf. Jans was reluctant to confront the wolf and felt like all he could do was watch. But instead of attacking the dog, the wolf did something amazing.
To his astonishment, Jans got to witness an extraordinary moment in time where the wolf actually made friends with his dog!
Knowing that wolves are usually aggressive and dangerous, one that wanted to play with his yellow lab was the last thing he expected.
Yet that is exactly what this lone wolf wanted to do.
Jans, a professional photographer, is used to telling stories. But this story amazed even him. It didn't take long for the tale to get around, and soon other people came to see the wolf, whom they dubbed Romeo, romping with their own dogs.
Everybody in the village was soon coming out to Mendenhall Glacier Park to watch the interplay between dogs and wolf. As the wolf got used to humans being around, he would even bring toys he had stashed away to them so they could throw the toys for the wolf and his canine companions to retrieve.
Seeing a wolf out in the open is extremely rare, so imagine what a singular thing a playful wolf romping around with dogs would be.
Even though the townspeople were at first understandably wary, they soon grew to be unafraid and to allow their beloved family pets to play with Romeo. It seemed that playing was the whole purpose of the wolf's visit to the snow-covered park. For six years, Romeo came regularly to frisk and frolic with the resident dogs.
In all that time, Romeo never showed even the slightest hint of aggression. He was simply friendly.
Romeo's story seemed like a fairy tale. Unfortunately, our hero didn't get to live happily ever after. A poacher shot and killed Romeo one day, and the whole town mourned.
To honor and remember their unique wolf, they had a plaque made that featured a black wolf lying on a snow-covered rock. Those who had the privilege of knowing Romeo will never forget him.
Mother Nature is wild and untamable, usually. So when she allows one of her children to make friends with another species, it is truly special. When Romeo brought magic to the lives of the dogs and villagers, the cruelty of a poacher intruded and stopped the magic permanently.
Share Romeo's story with your friends on Facebook. Ask yourselves what you would do if you could come face to face with the man who took this amazing wolf's life. Would your reaction be more like a wolf or his domestic cousin, the dog? A tragic end to a truly incredible story, and one we hope you'll share.