Wolves are a symbol of power and danger. Their reputation as ferocious predators is not underserved, though it is worth noting that wolves almost never attack humans and rarely interact with man at all if they can help it.
However, it would take a brave soul to be willing to walk up to a wolf and start something.
The thing is, nobody told Nick Jans' dog Dakotah about this, so when their path crossed that of a wolf's, Nick stayed back but Dakotah got up close and personal.
What happened was something that neither Nick nor anyone else could have predicted. It was incredible.
Face-To-Face With A Wolf
It would take an act of ridiculous courage to intervene when your dog decides to go toe-to-toe with a wolf. So all Nick could do was wait and see what happened.
The Fight Never Came
Nick had been sure his dog and the wolf would fight but instead, something nearly miraculous occurred. They began to play together! Wolf and dog frolicked in the snow!
The Wolf Known As Romeo
This was Nick's first encounter with the wolf that he would call "Romeo." It wasn't his last, and it soon became apparent that Romeo was no ordinary creature.
Romeo Repeats His Friendliness
Very soon, Romeo became a member of the local community at Mendenhall Glacier Park. Every time he spied a dog, Romeo would introduce himself and then they'd start playing.
People Were A Little Scared
When this first happened, animal owners would panic at the sight of Romeo. Well, let's be fair, who doesn't panic when they see a wolf bearing down on them and their pet?
Romeo Gets A Reputation
It didn't take long for that to change. It quickly became clear to everyone who came into contact with Romeo that he was a sweetheart with no malice in him.
Romeo Was Also A Bit Of A Hoarder
Nick told journalists, "The wolf would bring out toys that he'd stashed." Yes, Romeo wasn't just keen on playing with dogs, he'd share his things with them.
Romeo Liked To Play Fetch
Nick also recounts watching Romeo play fetch with a styrofoam toy that was thrown by his friend Harry. He says he thinks Romeo thought he was a dog.
Romeo Learned How To Fit In
Romeo must have been observing the community for a while and was wondering how he could fit in. When he saw dogs playing, he found his answer.
A Tolerant Animal
Nick says, "It wasn't just our understanding and tolerance [that made this work]. It was the combination of his and ours and the dogs' [tolerance]."
They All Got Along Gloriously
Wolf, man, and dog might not have been natural companions, but they made it work and soon Romeo became a popular sight in his local park.
Six Happy Years
Romeo would spend six happy years of his life playing in the park with the people and dogs that he'd adopted as his own.
Strangers Were Still Cautious
While local residents would boast, "I'm off to see the wolf." Strangers would usually be a little more cautious and refuse to get close to Romeo.
Then Everything Went Wrong
Romeo's time with the community had to come to an end and it did. Nobody saw what would happen to Romeo coming, but in 2010, things came to a bitter end.
Romeo Was Shot And Killed
Romeo was playing away from the community when hunters came across him and shot and killed him. Never again would Romeo play with his dogs and people. He is still sadly missed today.
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