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Perry Marlette
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LOVN AMERICA
LOVN AMERICA

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This is Tila. With no doubt, the best wilderness backpacking partner I've had.  Her DNA profile revealed around 92% wolf and about 8% malamute. 
After several months of research, from USDA to dogcatchers, and much debate; I decided an animal like her would be the best partner. She wouldn't talk. My vet had advised me to get the second-born female of a litter, so I paid a $300 deposit and waited. Seven months and an additional $300 later our love began. We socialized with people and dogs, attended obedience and service dog school and she became a perfect companion. At the time, Idaho had no laws that classed her differently than a regular dog ( Is there such a thing?), so we pretty much went everywhere together. Any Place I went, her service dog status allowed her to be with me, to the shock and awe of many.  While I had heard several stories of wolf-dogs going off the deep end, not once did she have an incident of "unwanted" aggression.

I can't count the days we backpacked together (she carried her food in a saddlebag) through wilderness areas of Idaho, once for ten days, and we had a blast. The only weapon I carried was a Swiss army knife. I figured Tila could handle most four-legged problems and if she couldn't, the weapon that would was certainly too heavy for me to pack. I felt so safe, I frequently slept in the open with a fire on one side and her on the other. As we moved down a trail, Tila would usually sprint off for twenty minutes or so, check a wide area to our front, return for a bit, and repeat. Undoubtedly, she scared away lots of wildlife, but a small price when I was walking around where I was NOT at the top of the food chain. And I still saw plenty of animals with her. 

Occasionally, Tila would get side-tracked during her scouting forays, and late one afternoon in northern Idaho, she was gone for forty minutes and yet to return. I dropped my pack and went looking. I couldn't find her and it was getting late. Making camp without her and waiting until morning was a major stressor. I went looking again when it became light enough and found her dead around mid-day. She was in horrible shape; the killer, scavengers; probably both. I buried her and piled on the rocks. Obviously, the hike to the trail head seemed endless. I've never backpacked again.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS BOO HOO POST?
Well, I've been a G+ watcher for awhile, but this will be my first official post. December ninth was Tila's birthday. And this is still a painful story that I rarely share. It just seemed fitting in my world.
I hope any of you who have, or had, that special canine in your life will take just a moment to reflect on how fortunate we are to have such friends.

I would be interested in anyone's thoughts on owning such an animal. It seems to me, from my point, if the wolf is socialized, trained and objectively watched, especially from a pup, then you will have an awesome companion. But, I also endured lots of criticism. However, mostly from those who only vaguely knew what a backpack looked like.

Thank You For Your Time.
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