Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Interview With a Wolf

As part of our ongoing series of conversations with animals on policy and population control issues, we recently sat down with Spike, an Oregon wolf currently based in California.

Us - Are you going to eat me?

Spike - What? Jesus, lady.

Us - I'm sorry. I just watched the first two-thirds of "The Grey" and then took a Xanax.

Spike - I mean, even if I didn't have this tracking collar on...

Us - What?

Spike - "The Grey." Right. Oh, yeah. Sorry, that would do a number on anyone.

Us - It was DARK, too, right? I was not expecting Liam Neeson to be having an existential crisis while face-punching large canids.

Spike - The plane crash is a lot scarier than the wolves, anyway, don't you think?

Us - It really is! And it went on forever. Hey, the survivors should have just stayed in the downed plane, right?

Spike - Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, you figure help is gonna get there in a couple of days, max, you've got packages of peanuts and cushions and fuel.

Us - Wait, how do you know about cushions?

Spike - I mean, I've been in California for over a year now. People here...they've got a really fluid notion of indoor and outdoor space. I really admire it. Couches in the backyard. Burgers left on plates left on wicker footstools. I find it really inspiring.

Us - That's cool. Should you be so close to peoples' houses, though?

Spike - All the better to eat them! (brandishes claws)

Us - AHHHHHH!!!!

Spike - Joke! Joke. It was a joke. Couldn't if I wanted! Collar, you know. (points to collar)

Us - Yeah. We should go. Do you...do you know anything about this, by any chance?

Spike - You know that wolf telepathy thing is just in Twilight, right? It's not real. Those wolves were in Saskatchewan, and I'm sure it was a bear, anyway. You know, I do think you could have done more preparation for this interview.

Us - Oh. I feel silly now. I'm sorry, I was just a little shaken-up.

Spike - Oh, I'm not offended. Not in the least. You should totally finish "The Grey" tonight, by the way. They get rescued, his life picks up, one of the wolves becomes his friend...it's sweet, really.

Us - Really? Oh, cool! Thanks, Spike, this was fun.

Spike - Anytime. (smiles)

72 Comments / Post A Comment


I already love wolves, and now I have a little wolf-crush on Spike.

RK Fire

@Ophelia I want to imagine that this is simply the lupine equivalent of this Spike.


@RK Fire I was picturing this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spike_(Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer)

i dunno html sorry yall


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love this *_*@j


I was so stressed out during The Grey that I had to leave the theater midway through to read the Wikipedia page in the bathroom. I just could not deal with the suspense.


Spike totally lied at the end there. I still like him.


Spike, did you play basketball as a teenager?


OR-7 is his name! OR-7 OR-7!!!! MY LOVE! My lone wandering soldier, not yet lost not yet found!


Nicole, do you know any direwolves? (I'm up to the fourth "Game of Thrones" book, and the direwolves are my favorite.)


@HereKitty Seriously. I need a companion series that just follows the direwolves around instead of the humans.


@Ophelia Now that I would read.


@Ophelia Yess that would be brilliant. It sounds like Nymeria(? Arya's wolf) is getting up to some actually pretty important adventures, and Ghost's view of Jon Snow's life would probably be hilarious.

de Pizan

@HereKitty Maybe try Jane Lindskold's Firekeeper series. Set in a kind of medieval world about a girl raised by wolves, then found and taken to court as the possible heir to the throne; and trying to understand all the maneuverings at court so alien to her--kind of like Farlay Mowat in reverse. (After she moves to court, her telepathic wolf BFF comes with her--actually I don't remember if he's telepathic or just that she knows wolf speak.)

RK Fire

@Apocalypstick Shaggydog's POV could be potentially entertaining as well! "I'm.. apparently raising this child? WTF."


@Apocalypstick I could totally see like, a spinoff comic book series about Nymeria. MAKE THIS HAPPEN COMIC PEOPLES.

RK Fire

@Megano! I love all of the allusions to Nymeria and her RIDICULOUSLY HUGE WOLF ARMY, and I also love all of the confusion she's generated throughout the series. "How.. how could this happen? Where could a giant female wolf come from?"


@HereKitty OMG they have a skeleton of a dire wolf at omsi in portland and it was AMAZING! it may or may not be my screensaver. they also have a sabertoothcat, and the wolf is bigger!


@de Pizan robin hobb's assasin series! though thinking about fitz and his wolf makes me want to cry.


@RK Fire Lady's would be all "This dumb bitch, wait, what?! Why me?"


@Slapfight The most upsetting thing to happen in GOT in my twisted opinion. I curse thee Robert Baratheon!


@RK Fire I've mentioned this a few times, but my sister named her fluffy white bunny Nymeria.


@Slapfight ... have you read the entire series?


Ghost: Fuck her. Just fuck her already. Fuuuu. Dude, it's an animal instinct and you are basically a warg. Just, god I can't even deal with you right now. So listen, I am going to go chow an elk or some shit, and you are going to GET THAT.

(I do not know why I gave Ghost the voice of a dudebro. Maybe it's funny to think about canine keg-stands going on behind that noble fucking visage.)


@MollyculeTheory Definitely a dudebro, constantly harassing Jon for refusing to hang out with interesting-smelling people & buying into bullshit that involves progressively less and less hunting.


@cherrispryte Weirdly, that still bothers me most, apart from one of the humans, who I will not name here for fear of spoilers.


I'm also most of the way through the 4th GOT book and I haven't seen a Tyrion Lannister chapter in a while.
I miss him. :-(
But also, I would totally get on the bandwagon for some chapters from Nymeria and Ghost in particular!


@RK Fire The people's confusion over the wolf army conjures an image of Chicken Run for me.
"Chickens are NOT organized!!!"

Ten Thousand Buckets

@Megano! I've been pulling for a Littlest Hobo-esque Nymeria spin off video for ages now. I'd do it myself, but I don't have access to any Northern Inuit dogs. I don't even have access to a German Shepherd.


@cherrispryte I have. I just didn't want to get spoilery.


@Ophelia Exactly. I still get really upset.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

We had a wolf run through town last winter. Near a middle school. It appeared to be lost, and a little befuddled by the fences around the school's playground. But you don't eff with wolves. They aren't like they are portrayed in The Grey, but still. They're big.


<3 wolves ever since reading Jack London as a youngun.

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@iceberg I love wolves ever since watching The Journey of Natty Gann as a youngun.


Also, did this make anyone else think of the Wolf Highway from the West Wing? (I think from the big block of cheese episode)


@Ophelia Yes! As soon as I saw the title I was like "I hope it's Pluie!"


@Ophelia With Ron Swanson!



The Babydog and I were stalked by a coyote for half an hour the other day. Not quite as suspenseful as an encounter with Spike and his ilk but a little unnerving nonetheless.

Nicole Cliffe

@laurel This happens to my mare and I sometimes when we ride in the gully, and she is such a sweet fluffy idiot of a bunny that she thinks they're dogs and wants to meet them.

Nicole Cliffe

An over-turned wheelbarrow is a monster, but an actual predator is a friend.


@Nicole Cliffe I'm not much smarter than your fluffy bunny/mare. I was all, 'Oooo, look at the slinky doggy, maybe he wants to be friends' for far longer than I should have been. The Babydog is fierce but too little to be taking on winter-hungry predators.

@wee_ramekin Yeah, NM is no better. Private landowners and gun stores host coyote kill roundups here. Making the west safe for cattle, wooo.


@laurel When this happened to the Governor of Texas while he was jogging with his dog, he shot it. >_<


@laurel A coyote ate my family cat, but I got a coat with a coyote-fur-edged hood, so I feel like we're even.


@wee_ramekin "He became mulch." WHOAA Rick Perry.


@laurel I got stalked by a wolf (sort of)! It was a bit nerve-wracking. I love wolves, but I love them more when they stay a respectable distance away.


My question is, how great a pop song is Shakira's "She Wolf"?


My answer is, Very.


"I'm starting to feel just a little abused like a coffee machine in an office"


@Decca Get back in the closet.


@wee_ramekin Darling it is no joke / this is lycanthropy


@Decca ^^^ actual lines from an actual pop song


@Decca I love that song and every single one of its stupid English lyrics. (I don't know if the Spanish version makes more sense or I just can't understand how ridiculous it's being. The she-wolf is holding out for a handsome caballero in it though, so I think it's better.)


I saw wolfhounds in Cosby sweaters walking down the street this weekend. Maybe those were his hip, urban cousins?

There's also this guy who broke my heart: I hope they found a good home for him http://gothamist.com/2011/12/23/brooklyn_wolf_is_an_illegal_wolf-do.php


@parallel-lines Aw, here's the follow up with adorable video! http://gothamist.com/2011/12/25/video_brooklyn_wolf-dog_has_a_new_h.php


@parallel-lines I was sort of hoping she'd move to Canada and become a Mountie's sidekick, but I guess real life is okay too.


@parallel-lines AH-WOOOO! Wolfhounds of Brooklyn

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@Lucienne Her hair was perfect.


@Lucienne That dog was the first time I've seen a shelter dog and lost my shit. I literally grabbed my husband and was like "WE HAVE TO GET IT!!!" Sigh...


Okay, who wants to read about Spike (OR-7) and friends?

Cristina Eisenberg, a conservation biologist/writer/painter/all-around smart lady, wrote a book called The Wolf's Tooth. She connects trophic cascades (think food webs crossed with a waterfall ... kind of) with policy suggestions grounded, but not exclusively so, in science.

She's one of my fav environmental writers; our mutual adoration of Aldo Leopold seals the deal.


Those were the best questions you could ask Spike? Aww, c'mon! If we wanted to just talk about pop culture (which is what this animal series does well), let's touch upon Call of the Wild or Beauty and the Beast or, or... I don't know! I just want to talk to Spike more!


If you want a good movie with very cool wolves in it, watch The Secret of Kells on Netflix. Terrific movie, and the animation is stunning.


Spike is totally snowing you about that tracking collar, by the way. A tracking collar, y'know, keeps track of him. It's not like those remote-control zapping collars in "Star Trek" (TOS) that control Spock and Kirk in the arena and keep them from escaping.


HAIRPIN!! Stop posting intriguing Wikipedia articles at the beginning of my workday! Another day of nothing done.


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