My name is Talleyrand and I am a (large-size) standard poodle who lives with his master in a walkup on the upper West Side in New York. I am a bit of a coward when I meet a smaller dog. I sit on my hindquarters and shrink into myself. One night I had this dream:
I awoke at dawn in a forest, a wolf among wolves. Instinctively I knew that there were wolves around but that humans didn’t exist yet. Also instinctively I knew the barks and growls and body motions that wolves knew to communicate.
I had been transplanted into the body of an existing wolf who was known to the tribe.
And in this manner I joined the life of the tribe for the next twelve months. This is too brief an account to get into the individual wolves that got to know me and it was after all two years ago. But know this:
There is no such thing as a lone wolf. The wolf pack is a complex hierarchical society; my master would say it’s like a very high-energy (at least during the hunt) human workplace. Everybody has a role in the pack. In this role, I did things that wore completely outside my experience: I hunted and killed; I had a mate and we had cubs.
In this manner, summer ended, fall passed, the snow of winter came and went, and then spring.
I woke up on my master’s bed, very early, before he woke up and we were ready to go walking.
Would I go back? I am torn and really really miss the wolf family of that dream. And there is something inherited in me that misses that whole life intensely.
Bellamy is a member of the Twin Rivers Library Writers’ Group, led by Nancy Demme. He is also a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club.