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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shunka: Life with an Artic Wolf by Marika Lumi Morgan

Good day, everyone!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!
It’s Thursday and you know what that means…one more day ‘til the weekend is here!  Whoo-HOO!  Anyone have any special plans?  With the weather being as gorgeous as it’s been recently, I would love to find some spare time to do something outdoor-sey (you know like read a book under an old oak tree in a beautiful park while the gentle breeze blows ever so softly…..*daydreams*) despite some indoor things previously planned…we shall see.  Speaking of the outdoors….
I just finished (no literally just finished) reading one of the recent books I started this past week and boy did I not see that ending coming!  For those of you that visit my site on a semi-regular basis, you know that I am rather fond of dogs.  Love ‘em!  So cute and cuddly and…well, we’re getting off track here.  Wolves are a close ancestor of dogs and thus reading this story featured today was simply a must for me.  Today’s book of choice is….

Life with an Artic Wolf
Marika Lumi Morgan

This is the story of one couple’s quest to shine a new light on a formidable creature of the wild to reveal their true nature (aka show people that wolves are not just those that will huff and puff and blow your house in).  Marika and David, her husband, had wanted to be involved in helping to dispel the myths and down-right lies that surround wolves as a species.  Most people have one of several reactions.  The most popular though is fear.  Fear of the animal, fear of what they symbolize, fear of what they are known to do and why they believe they’ve done it.  It’s not that some of these fears are unfounded; it’s more that they come from basic misunderstandings about the wolf in general.

Shunka’s story reveals to readers the true nature of the “beast”.  From smallish pup with giant paws, to gangly teen trying to gain their footing in both step and within the pack, you will experience both the highs and lows of this couples undertaking.  There were days to reveal in the experience.  Shunka would learn something new, form a bond of friendship (human wise or dog wise….gotta love the addition of Happy to their family…and Shunka’s fascination with her), or simply convince the housecat to let him be in her presence (yeah, he really wanted Persy to like him….she’d tolerate his affection, but only to a certain degree….how would you feel if you were housecat size and a giant wolf pup wanted to lick you?).  There were also days to be counted among the ashes of yesterday.  Car rides were no longer fun adventures, withdrawal of the friendship made due to an unexpected separation, and finally the thought of having to find a new home for their growing boy.

I wish I could say they break new ground in understanding some of their wolfish behaviors.  In some ways they do, but in many others the mystery remained.  The issue of trust, a dislike for small spaces, and even the desire to follow the special pecking order rituals of the wild….while understood as typical actions, Shunka was never actually taught most of these things.  They were instinctual for him. 

I wish I could say that Shunka is peacefully living out his days with his makeshift pack crying out with an occasional howl at the end of the day.  The truth is much more painful I’m afraid.  WOO, woo, WOO…this is an official tissue warning.  Be sure to have a few close by in the event of a teary eyed emergency….which is the case towards books end.  Man’s desire to be in control at all times and fear of the unknown combine to create an ending to vivid not to be true and disheartening all the same.

Did I learn a thing or two from this true story?  Certainly.  Being a dog owner myself, I could see a lot of the antics described in this tale recreated in my own household.  Mom’s dog is a German Shepherd (you’ve seen her picture on here before) and follows several of the mannerisms presented by Shunka.  Although dogs are very similar in a lot of ways to wolves (and believe me, I definitely witness this with my other pups at home….some of the stories are uncanny), they are their own masters, serving themselves and their pack.  They belong to nature…the wild.  Roaming free is how they were meant to be…it’s simply not right to cage up such a majestic creature.  There are many organizations aimed at protecting these animals from the damage man can inflict (be it intentional or not) and supporting them and their work can go a long way in helping to ensure a future for this species.

Recommended reading for dog lovers, wolf lovers, and nature lovers world wide.  There is not a person that couldn’t take something away from Shunka’s story.  Whether it is conservation of wildlife, a better understanding of wolves, or simply a heartfelt tale to hold dear….you will be moved by the life shared within these pages.

Review copy received courtesy of Rianne at Publishing Works.  (THANK YOU)  For more information, check out their website, or follow along on Twitter!

Until next time….happy reading!


Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review. I like your recommendation section.

Emidy @ Une Parole said...

Aw, adorable cover. I'm a dog owner and I love animals in general, so I'm sure I'd benefit from reading this book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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