The Story of This Wolf and Dog Will Melt Your Heart
Lifestyle| | By Lauren Boudreau
Nick Jans was sitting on his porch in Juneau, Alaska with his dog, Dakotah, when his heart dropped. Suddenly, a black wolf appeared from the woods and before Jans could react, Dakotah charged at it, leaving Jans to just wait and see what would happen. As Jans said in an interview with National Geographic, wolves do not take kindly to foreign canines. “The first thing is that wolves have a tendency to attack strange canines and at least beat them down, if not eat them … They very seldom accept strangers.”
But this wolf wasn’t like other wolves. No attacking or eating occurred. In fact, they stood “nose to nose” and both canines were very “relaxed.” Jans saw this as the perfect opportunity to capture their first meeting with a picture. Jans notes in the interview that the wolf, which was later named Romeo, is “very much being a boy.” “He’s standing very tall, with his ears narrow and his tail slightly up, his neck ruff raised a little bit. He’s being very flirtatious,” he said. Jans also noted that his dog Dakotah was flirting back, indicated by the straightened tail. Jans’ wife did not approve of this union at first, and was very protective of Dakotah, but after a while of seeing Romeo sit by the frozen lake waiting for Dakotah, she finally gave in. However, Romeo wasn’t only a flirt with Dakotah. He soon became a staple around town, showing up here and there, making friends, and flirting with other dogs. Jans revealed that for a while he tried to keep Romeo a secret from the community, but before long even the local newspapers were reporting on Romeo. People would flock to the lake where he usually was and take pictures or try to get close to him. Romeo would only allow those whose dogs he likes to get within touching distance, but Jans said he never tried to touch Romeo himself. “There were a number of times when I could have reached out and brushed my hand along his back as he went by. But I never did,” he said. Unfortunately, Romeo is no longer with us, but he did live nearly three times as long as a wild wolf normally lives. Jans believes it was because the no hunting community kept him safe. Romeo was eight when he died. Wild wolves are expected to live only until three. Romeo made such an impact on the community, he had two streets named after him, a bar (Romeo’s Tap Room), and was given a special plaque in his honor.
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