Sep 18, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
She dances with wolves....literally. Lois Tulleners White years ago sold her beach house and bought land far from any humans to house a sanctuary for the arctic wolf. On Tuesday, Judy and I got to meet this fascinating person.
Our adventure started in the once busy small town of Tidewater. We pulled up into the abandoned parking lot of what once housed the gas station, grocery store, and community center for the area. The only building now being used is the community center that has been converted to house two very large fire trucks for the local RFD.
Blackberry vines have overtaken many of the buildings. Judy and I picked some of the dark sweet fruit and ate them while we waited. Four other vehicles dotted the parking lot with their inhabitants staying in them obviously waiting for the same people as us. We were told that we would be met there at Three PM and driven into the sanctuary.
A few minutes later, a small SUV pulled into the parking lot. I had expected a larger vehicle and wondered how we were all going to be transported in. A lady from the sanctuary called us all together and instructed us to follow her closely. I showed her Judy's low slung car and asked her if I should be driving it back in. "No", she said, "We will have to get you a ride.". She asked a lady who had just pulled in herself if Judy and I could ride with her. I must admit that this was rather awkward but I soon found it to be another part of the adventure.
Candy was our new guide and she was bringing her mother here on an adventure of their own. Her mom was visiting from Sonora, California. We introduced ourselves and chatted as the caravan of three cars made their way up the small road.
The road twisted back and forth through an area that had just been recently logged. The mountain wall had been stripped of all vegetation and I openly wondered how it would handle its next winter and if it slid down, would it trap the wolf reserve in.
We were soon back into the thick, however, and came upon a series of chain link fences. Judy said that it reminded her of Jurassic Park and the soon howls even added to that charm. The wolves greeted us as we drove into the reserve with a chorus of howls that we heard before we saw the wild white dogs. They greeted us and ran along with the cars as we drove up the final hill.
At the top, we pulled into the grass parking lot of a house with a large deck. This was the house of Lois Tulleners White which she has doubled as a greeting place and store for her reserve. Lois met and greeted us all on her deck that she had laid out plastic white deck chairs. While we waited for the lady in the SUV to go after the rest of our group, some of the people browsed through her small store. The house was small with what looked to be a single bedroom and kitchen. The living room had been converted into the store and a small open ended room housed her washer and dryer. We found out later that her bedroom doubled as her cashier station with the window being the walk up pay window and a small table housed her cash system devices.
As I waited, I stood on the end of the deck and looked out at the first enclosure. A beautiful white wolf laid looking back at me. We stared at each other for a couple of minutes and then he arose and walked towards me. He broke away the stare and walked over to a tree and urinated on it. He then scratched at the ground like a bull waiting to charge and stared back up at me. I realized that he was trying to tell me something. This was his land and he was in charge here. I quickly dropped my stare and walked over to join the group. The other car had gotten stuck on the gravel incline and had to back down and take another run at the hill but was now there safe and sound.
I had been instructed to turn my hat around as the bill covered my eyes and would not be taken well by the wolves. I felt very funny with my hat backwards and Judy teased me about it mainly because I tease young people who wear their hats that way as a fad. She couldn't wait to take a picture to show our kids.
Lois grouped us up on the deck and went into a small lecture of what we were soon to do along with an explanation of why she had started the reserve. I listened intently to her talk and being one that always looks beyond the speak, I took the conclusion that her underlying reason was that she preferred a lone wolf type of guy and she had had a few failed relationships at trying to find that person so she had literally attached herself to the real thing. I say that because she kept eluding to the perfection of the wolf and it's tending to stay in monogamous relationships and being able to stay in those same relationships not like most humans who have trouble with that. I know, I am probably reading in more than what is there but she has certainly dedicated her life to one thing.....the White Wolf.
After her talk, Lois led us up to the pups. She calls them pups but they are over a year old and fully grown. But although wild, they have been brought up in captivity, given to her as small pups. We were instructed on how to approach the wolves and what to do and not to do while encountering them.
Judy was very excited and anxious but also scared in her first encounter. The wolves seemed to walk by her but I could see that the reason was that they could feel her fear also. I told her that she needed to put her face up closer to the fence so they could lick her. With the first lap of tongue, Judy was transformed and in love with these white animals. She soon was kissing them back as long tongues came out of mouths that housed sharp white teeth. She would have gladly went inside the fence if she would have been allowed. I must admit that it was quite a feeling to be kissed by an animal that you know could rip you apart if he desired. Lois tapped me on the shoulder once and told me that I needed to talk more to the dogs. She said that my silence bothered them. What do you say to a wolf?
As we played with the pups, the adults became agitated and let us know by howling at us. The pups joined in also so we moved up further and out of sight of some of the adults. The howls seemed to all stop at once as if some conductor had motioned them to stop. It was very fascinating.
As we walked through, I spied a small snake going through the grass in front of us. I leaned over and Lois snapped at me, "Leave the snake alone. You boys don't need to pick them up when you see them.". I looked up at her and said, "I was thinking of picking it up.". "I know", she smiled as she had read my mind.
We finished up at the deck of her house again. Judy and I talked with Lois and I asked her if she ever got the chance to get away. "No", she said. "This is my life and I have chosen it.". I found that fascinating for a few reasons. She had not owned pets as a youngster and her siblings were not pet owners. Her only domestic pet was a small chicken that had taken her in. I wondered once more what was the catalyst for such change in her life. I assume it was probably a number of things.
I took a picture of Judy with Lois and we all got hugs as we left the encounter as friends. We then put our lives back into the hands of our other new found friend, Candy who drove us back down the windy road to our car still sitting in downtown Tidewater. Judy and I chatted about our experience as we drove back down towards Lincoln City and our motel room.
One thing for sure, we were both taken by the dedication of this special woman. You know, the Bible teaches that their is no greater love than to give up your life for a friend. This Lois has surely done and her friend is the arctic white wolf.
You can check her our at her website, http://www.whitewolfsanctuary.org/. When you look at the site, be sure and take a gander at the wolves. The one that I stared at and was confronted by was named Nepenthe. I could not pronounce it well but it was a very beautiful animal. It had been abused by a man so does not take to males that well. I am happy to say that it came over and licked my hand which surprised Lois.
Anyway, the sanctuary and the experience is well worth the side trip when you are at the coast. And by the way, your admission is tax deductible.
In all, we spent three hours at the White Wolf Sanctuary.