Wolves sure are gorgeous, aren’t they? They might look sweet and friendly, but keep in mind that they are still wild animals. Please do not try cuddling up to them since they value their personal space. In 2004, an Alaskan wildlife photographer by the name of Nick Jans took his dog out for a walk in the snow. This was the moment he came across a wolf right outside his home. What happened after this?
From The Woods
It was 2004. Nick Janes had been sitting on the porch of his Alaskan home with Dakotah, his dog. While admiring the landscape, a huge black wolf emerged from the trees and stood in front of his home! Nick had not even reacted when Dakotah ran towards this wild animal! Did she think that the wolf was just another dog who could be her friend? Or was she trying to keep her human safe from the predator?
He Was Nervous
Nick was initially terrified. He was scared that the wolf wanted to hurt his dog. He was not sure of what to do as Dakotah approached the black wolf. However, what happened next completely took him by surprise. His pet and the wolf began to play with one another like old friends! When Nick was totally sure that his dog was safe, he went inside to get his camera. Of course, he took a photo of the animals!
Naming The Wolf
He noticed how much the wolf liked hanging around that area. The creature often went there and played with Dakotah. Nick started to think of a name to call the wolf and decided to call him Romeo. While the wolf appeared friendly, it was still a wild animal. Nick kept a close watch when Romeo and Dakota played. They might get along well, but did Romeo get along well with the other dogs in the area?
The Neighborhood Dogs
Not long after Romeo and Dakotah met, he would go over to Mendenhall Glacier Park to check out the other dogs. Romeo often went there to run around with the other local dogs! We bet Dakotah gave him the confidence he needed to make more canine friends. He was now the life of the party! Romeo liked to play and wrestle with the other dogs in that area.
Warming Up To Him
Many people at the park felt apprehensive about this large and wild wolf. Visitors thought that it might hurt them or their pets. However, they soon learned that he was a gentle and nice dog. Their worries soon dissipated. While Romeo was larger than the other dogs, everyone realized he only wanted to have fun!
They Accepted Him
There were dogs there who were skeptical of him. To be fair, he did have an intimidating appearance. A lot of dogs felt hesitant to play with him in the beginning but eventually warmed up to him. This wolf only craved interaction and wanted new friends! He probably lost his pack and wanted a new one now.
A Big Dog
Romeo also made human friends! Nick once said, “He would bring out toys that he’d stashed” and give them to the folks at the park. He tried everything to win over the residents. He wanted to be accepted by both the animals and people about him. Nick was confident that his new pal was no threat to either dogs or people.
Nick has talked more about the things that Romeo would give the people at the park. “One was a Styrofoam float. Romeo would pick it up and bring it to [my friend] Harry to throw,” he said. Perhaps he had been watching the other animals play fetch and wanted to do it too. It is possible that this is innate canine behavior. It seems like both big and small dogs are fond of chasing after objects in the air.
While Romeo was no domesticated dog, he did display many behaviors that dogs showed. Nick said that his wolf pal “clearly understood the same sort of behaviors that we see in dogs.” He had been with dogs long enough to know how they interacted and played. He might be from another species but he fit in!
Yes, there were a man, a dog, and a wolf in the wilderness of Alaska. He could not help but appreciate how special this experience was. The three of them enjoyed the land, played, and got along well. Nick said, “We were these three species working out how to get along harmoniously. And we did.” How nice!
Right At Home
Romeo lived with Dakotah and Nick for some time. He did not actually move into the house. He is still wild, after all. However, he did visit them often for six years. If you ever went to Mendenhall Glacier Park from 2004 to 2009, you might have seen a black wolf together with the dogs at that dog park!
Connecting The Community
He did not just earn the trust of the community but even became a fixture there. The local residents were always in awe of the gorgeous animal. The entire community liked the fact that they could trust this wild animal who then trusted them back in return. The locals considered him a very important symbol that it was possible to be one with the nature around them.
As his popularity kept going up, locals went to the lake where he went to spend time with the other dogs. Things sure have changed from the time when everyone felt scared by his presence in the area. Despite this, there were still people who were freaking out about this wolf upon first seeing him there.
While the locals already knew that he was harmless, there were visitors who felt anxious about Romeo. It is hard to put your trust in a wolf this big and strong. After all, we have all heard of folktales and stories about “big bad wolves.” The truth is that they are not bad. They only live according to instinct.
Nearing The End
Romeo “was downright relaxed and tolerant from the start,” Nick explained, “as if he had dropped out of the sky like a unicorn.” This wolf was friends with dogs like Labradors to border collies. Sadly, there were friendships that were not meant to last forever. The truth was that his time at Mendenhall Glacier Park would not last for much longer. He was about to suffer a terrible fate, not unlike his namesake.
Romeo got his name from a character in a tragedy. His tragic end came in 2009. He was shot and killed by hunters. Those who lived in the area were saddened by the loss of the wolf. The Juneau community even held a memorial service for him and got a plaque for him. There is no way they will forget him.
A Wonderful Tribute
The plaque continues to stand in Juneau. If you go to Alaska, feel free to drop by the place where he used to go. You will find these words on the plaque: Romeo 2003-2009. The spirit of Juneau’s friendly black wolf lives on in this wild place.” There is also an image of the wolf right above this inscription.
A Legacy To Last
Romeo might no longer be around, but no one will ever forget him. Nick had fun getting to know the wolf and knows that Dakotah had a great time being his friend as well. While Romeo was a wild animal, he was a very friendly animal. Hunting might sometimes be necessary, but Romeo did not get shot for survival. We hope that everyone becomes more aware of the damage needless hunting does.
He Lives On
Shortly after the death of Romeo, Nick documented his experience with a book entitled A Wolf Called Romeo. Make sure to get a copy if you want to know more about the late wolf and the dogs of Juneau. Alaska is a great place full of beautiful stories about human beings and animals. For example, here is another woman in the area who had a wild encounter of her own. What happened to her?
Pam Aus is a resident of Unalaska, Alaska. One of the reasons she chose that place was all the animal species she can see from her porch. She was used to seeing wildlife there and often witnessed caribou going through. Rabbits and hares were common as well. She was a huge fan of the place she lived in.
One day, she heard odd noises from outside the house. She thought that it was probably just an animal, but it was hard to tell. Pam just hoped it was no intruder. She was curious about all the noise and walked towards its source with caution. After all, she did not want to startle it if it was an animal.
Time To Investigate
There was no choice but to investigate further. She realized that the noise was coming from her front porch! She looked out to see if she could see what it was. She started moving slowly in case it was an intruder. She did not want to attract attention if that was the case. We can see why she was nervous!
When she arrived at the porch, she first saw Gizmo, her cat. There was no reason to be alarmed at his presence there, it was not unusual at all whatsoever. This animal spent time both outdoors and indoors, after all. For a while, he thought that it must be Gizmo making the noise. However, the sound kept going on even though her pet was just sitting there. What else could have been making that sound?
Gizmo Was Unfazed
Pam looked at her pet. Gizmo simply looked back at her and minded his own business. Clearly, he was not responsible for the noise. However, what else could it be? Pam did have another cat… Could she have been responsible for the weird sounds? Pam did not think it was any noise a cat can make.
Looking For Suitcase
Suitcase was the other cat of the house. What a great name! At first, Pam could not find her other cat. Gizmo and Suitcase often stayed close, but the latter was nowhere in sight at that time. Pam wondered if Suitcase was responsible for the noise but then she appeared! So what was the noise all about?
Giving Up Hope
The noises began to die down. It looked like it was just Pam and her cats out there. She had no clue what was making all the commotion. Everything was rather calm in Unalaska. At one point, Pam even began to think that she would never solve what the fuss was all about. She was totally ready to forget it all. What she saw next took her by complete surprise. You would never guess what it was!
Something She Missed
Pam was ready to head in when Gizmo stood up and then approached the other end of the porch. It was then that she saw a thing that she missed. There was a bald eagle sitting on the ledge of her house! It was not the first time she saw a bald eagle in Alaska, but Pam had never been this close to one before.
Stop And Stare
She stopped there in total awe. She did not even dare move a single muscle because she did not want to scare it away. She wanted to look at it for a bit and take several photos of it. It was then that she caught herself. After all, eagles eat mammals the size of her cats! It had big talons and was close to Gizmo.
It Wasn’t Alone
Gizmo did not at all seem bothered about the presence of the eagle. The same went for Suitcase. Pam felt sure that the eagle would not try to pretty on the cats. For one thing, they were both rather chunky. She doubted that this bald eagle would be able to carry them away! Pam then looked around and spotted another bald eagle. It was sitting on the lamppost at the driveway. This was a rare experience!
Yet Another Visitor
Pam then heard a rustling noise different from the first one she heard. Upon turning around, she spotted a fluffy, red fox walking to her front porch. What was going on? It felt like her house was becoming Noah’s Ark! She half expected another fox lurking in the distance. She then posted the encounter on social media. She said, “Our fox and eagles and cats basically get along just fine here. They aren’t always out to attack and kill each other.” There are plenty of things we can learn about here! Cats and foxes and eagles and dogs and wolves can get along, so why can’t we humans do the same thing?