The Killing of Spitfire

Spitfire, the wild wolf of my heart
The Little Wolf that Could ©

I lost a big chunk of my heart

I feel as though my heart does way more losing than winning. I know, cry me a river. But, it is true – people I’ve allowed myself to care for deeply, well…

The killing of 926 has left a big hole in my heart. I admired her strength and perseverance as a wolf and always thought to myself that if any animal was doing its part for the eco-system and science, it was her. She, too, lost much of what she loved but always rebounded and went on with the business of living. I always thought that she would have one great and enduring victory before the end but that wasn’t meant to be. The pack did have pups this year and that is huge – but, will we ever know their story? Maybe not. Like her natal pack, the others seemed to have left us – pushed out by another pack of wolves. Things change. 926 held onto her territory with fierce determination – her daughter might not feel the same way. 

But, perhaps her victory is in the awareness she has given to the world. People are genuinely touched and affected by the death of 926. Problems and concerns exist that we weren’t previously aware of. And, maybe some will be touched enough to work hard to make a difference. I’ve seen some great stuff going on for the Silver Gate community.

You see, I won’t ever feel the same about Yellowstone and the wolves again, I am sure of that. This loss, in this way, was too much. I have met the hunter and spent money in his establishment. I spent a lot of time with his dog and oh what a sweetheart it is. I can’t say that my impression was favorable, or that I didn’t wonder if he would kill a wolf. Because that wouldn’t be true.

Yet, he killed my favorite wolf – one that I spent so much time with, through the good and bad. I invested my heart, not as if she was a pet, but because she was a strong survivor. A wild animal that always worked hard. Yet, when she was in love, she was like a puppy. I hated her when she killed coyote pups, but that never lasted, I got over it.

Just like I hated the man who shot her. I imagined doing things that I’ve never imagined before. My initial anger and reaction. But, I can’t afford to live my life shrouded in hate. I’m well hated but can’t say that I hate well. Just not in me to waste my time in an emotion that does no one any good. Nothing I could say or do could take back the moment when the trigger was pulled and 926 fell to the snow covered road. Nothing. And, so, in her memory, I straightened my shoulders, sucked it up and resolved to honor her life by being respectful and forgiving. I begged others to do the same, hoping that 926’s pack wouldn’t be put in more danger due to hate. We can’t educate others about wolves, or expect anyone to listen to us if we are spouting the same hate as the wolf haters. At the end of the day it is about advocating for these animals that have no voice. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who I am or who you are, it only matters that we are on the same page, looking out for our precious wildlife and park. 

2018 was a hard year for me – so much hatred in my life and in the country. I doubt that my heart will ever heal and be able to love fully again. But, I loved 926, for just exactly what she was, a wild wolf. Nothing more and nothing less.

Don’t you dare say one word of hatred, towards man or wolf. If you do, that will be the last of you in my life.

deby

Owner, publisher and photographer for The Yellowstone Daily. And, passionate about nature and wildlife

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