Thursday, November 28, 2013


This is the Gray Wolf

"You want a piece of me?"

One of evolution's most successful designs, to this day it's a feared predator across the planet. Its range covers most of the northern hemisphere. One subspecies, the Yukon Wolf, is the largest living wild canid today. They're ferocious hunters.

What makes Gray Wolves so incredibly successful is their social nature. Their intelligence makes them clever, capable of adapting to new situations and prey. They hunt in packs, which allows them to bring down animals much larger than they individually are. Bison. Moose. Musk Ox. They have an impressive array of teeth and powerful jaw muscles that can crack large bones.

"We have sharp teeth for a reason, Phil. Let's use them."

And, somewhere around 30,000 years ago, this social tendency led to them becoming oddly intertwined with a primate species that was gradually spreading across the planet. A branch off the Gray Wolves became hunting partners, guards, and companions. Each species learning from the other in a remarkably successful relationship that continues to this day.

Still vicious. Still wild. Still... Oh, who am I kidding.

This is the modern wolf. From dangerous hunter to pillow for video-game-playing ape.

Her hunting ancestors must be horrified.

Life with dogs. It just doesn't get any better.


peace said...

Happy Thanksgiving Dr Grumpy.

stacey said...

Homina homina hominid.

That's great. Every dog owner will love you.

Anonymous said...

How can you NOT be thankful with a doggie like that?
Happy Thanksgiving, doctor!

Pe2pa said...

LOVE the photo captions! Happy Thanksgiving (and Hanukkah, if you celebrate).

Moose said...

Happy Thanksgivakkuh, to all the Grumpy Family.

True story: The last time I ate at a Thanksgiving dinner was some years ago, when I went to a semi-potluck dinner. (Guests all brought a side dish or dessert.)

I arrived early enough to help with the preparations, and the hosts asked me if I'd finish preparing the turkey for the oven. After finding the twine and some scissors, I sat down and started to poke at it. Then I saw something weird.

"Is this a Kosher turkey?" I asked my friends. They were living in a section of town with a large Jewish population where there were some excellent Kosher butcher shops.

"Yeah," one said. "How did you know."

I pointed to the very odd looking opening of the turkey and said, "Look here. It's clearly been circumcised."

After getting all bound up, the turkey wound up being cooked unstuffed. The debate about whether to stuff it was rated at least R and included terms I would probably have to explain to a sizable chunk of your audience.

Ivan Ilyich said...

Reminds me of this classic Far Side cartoon:

Ms. Donna said...

Happy Thanksgivakkuh!

bobbie said...

Happy Thanksgivakkuh!!

Anonymous said...

Mello is definitely a better pillow than Snowball.

Anonymous said...

The wolves would be highly envious of this cushy life no doubt. What an adorable dog.

Life with cats is excellent also.

Have a nice Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Love the story and photo. Been missing my doggie since April when she died, and the picture of how this doggie is so supremely oblivious except that its obligation to ensure its charge is properly behaving is all-too-familiar.

Guess we have some thanksgiving to our furry buddies.

Anonymous said...

Doc Grumpy, what breed is she? She's ansolutely adorable. I want a dog like yours!

Anonymous said...

sometimes my dog lets me share the love seat with her, too.

Anonymous said...

If you haven't already, you should really read the book, "Never Cry Wolf" by Farley Mowat. (Seeing the movie does not count.)

When he worked for the Canadian government, Mowat was sent to the wilderness to study wolves. He was assigned to prove that wolves were killing caribou so that the government could legitimately kill the wolves. The person who had been sent on this same assignment prior to Mowat was unable to prove the theory, so the government reassigned the hapless employee to the jungles of South America to study the mating habits of the tse tse fly (or so the story goes). Mowat was, therefore, motivated not to meet the same fate.

Mowat writes with great humor (only the government would send a man to a totally treeless tundra with 22 axes and a radio with a range of 10 miles), irony, and affection about what he learned about and from the wolves he studied. He personified the pack he studied: George, Angeline, their pups, and the odd adult male they adopted, who Mowat called Uncle Albert. You will be surprised by his findings and the ending will make you want to take up arms against the ignorant. This book has been a favorite of mine for many, many years. Enjoy! Tricia

WordyGirl said...

Didn't think I could like you any more than I already did! You're awesome Dr. G!

Anonymous said...

It looks like one of your boys and your dog are great buddies.

Mark p.s.2 said...

Horrified? Free food and shelter and the human-ape cleans up your poo for you?

RehabRN said...

Hope you had a great holiday. WildDog refuses to be a pillow...unless you bribe him (then he does anything for at least a minute).

He sits close to us, so he can keep an eye on us, and make sure we aren't paying TOO much attention, especially when the national dog show was on TV.

Anonymous said...

what scares me is that was my house in 1992 complete c teenager. Do all medical folk choose the same furniture?

Lynda T. said...

Is that a Blue Bird of Happiness Bong on the table? Lol

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