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Perry Marlette
Worked at Oil Fields to Group Homes
Attended A College With A Compass Direction In Its Name
Lives in Central Illinois
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Perry Marlette

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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.

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.
Perry Marlette's profile photoJack Cain's profile photostephanie huston's profile photo
+stephanie huston Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Always a nice feeling! Sudden family matters require all my spare time right now; but I hope to post again soon. I invite you to look in over the next few weeks. Sorry that sounds so lame. All I can say is, when your mom needs you; you go!
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As little as possible unless the boss is around.
  • Oil Fields to Group Homes
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Central Illinois
Independent, leaning to the right. World view: primarily optimistically sardonic. 100% smart-ass, but not at another's expense. Main interests: politics, geology, U.S. Civil War, and physics. Never cursed with child. I've been told I'm pugnacious and irascible; but that's not true and they better not say it again!
My cat, Mr Glenn, is part bobcat.
My life is seldom dull.
Bragging rights
Army: Four years, forward theater infantry. Team leader. Anti-armor night fighting and special operations security. Advanced degrees in Field Geology, Physical Geography, Botany and Russia. Research: "hard rock" field geology, continental glacial geology and paleobotany. Survival? One January I was trapped for three days in a white-out blizzard at 12,500 ft. A true near-death experience!
  • A College With A Compass Direction In Its Name
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April 8
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