‘Part Wild: Caught Between the Worlds of Wolves and Dogs’ by Ceiridwen Terrill (Scribner, 2011; ISBN 978-1-4516-3481-5)
Want to raise a wolfdog? This fascinating read convinced me why I don’t!…
‘Part Wild’ is a detailed memoir that reveals both the joys and challenges of raising a part wolf/part dog named ‘Inyo’. In it, the author, an environmental journalist and science writer, discusses the (limited) popularity of raising wolfdogs and both the personal and societal consequences and dangers involved. It is also a candid account of the author’s own personal healing and strength that she sought by raising the wolfdog, whom she often introduced to others as a “husky mix”. Behind her needs was a difficult marriage combined with the pressures of her dissertation studies.
One of the most valuable aspects of the book is Terrill’s appreciation for the science of cynology, the study of canines. She discusses and interprets canine origins and the genetic and behavioral differences between dogs and wolves. Both are of the genus Canis, but “Dogs are not wolves,” she says, and “Wolves are not dogs. Evolution and domestication have seen to it.” Her sensitive description of raising Inyo vividly depicts the differences.
Terrill informs readers of the serious responsibilities involved in raising wolfdogs, and how wolfdog owners must understand the need to protect private property and assure the safety of unwary strangers. Basically, however, it is also a love story, between the author and her remarkable companion, Inyo. A good read!
(Reviewed by Don Messerschmidt, LiteraryDogs@gmail.com)