Yesterday I had a very enjoyable, but at times quite surreal experience. I went on a wolf walk with the UK Wolf Conservation Trust. (http://www.ukwolf.org/) We had been invited to join Jill Moss of the Bella Moss Foundation (http://www.thebellamossfoundation.com/) on the walk, as she is a member of the trust. She had some great stories of her experiences with wolves, which will be coming up in an episode of DogCast Radio soon.
Unfortunately Jill had worn open toed shoes for the walk, so it wasn't safe for her to interact with the wolves that day, so I was unable to take any photos of her with them. She had some exciting news - she's been nominated for Woman of the Year for her work with the Foundation. I was thrilled for her, and we chatted as we walked through the woods with the wolves.
The wolves themselves were amazing. They were very dignified and self-contained animals. They checked us out with a brief sniff collectively at the start, and after that were happy for us to trail round after them, admiring them, taking photos and asking their handlers endless questions about them. We even got to touch them, petting them on the stomach, which is the safest place to touch them. The wolves didn't seem to like or dislike this close contact, conveying mostly an air of boredom at these times. This ennui was only exhibited with strangers; with their handlers they were affectionate and actively sought out contact and interaction. The dog-like behaviour they exhibited - pawing and licking - was fascinating to witness.
So there I was in the woods chatting to Jill Moss on the wolf walk, and we came to a very uneven steep part of the wood. Jill was slipping and tripping in her high platform shoes, so we ended up walking along hand in hand. That was the surreal part, as it suddenly struck me that I was in the woods, walking with woods, holding hands with a Woman of the Year nominee. How many people can say they've done that?
After the walk we went back to the centre and had the opportunity to see and find out more about all the wolves. It was a wonderful experience, and one that I'm sure inspires many people to support the conservation of wolves in the wild.