A Valentine Love Story: Romeo, the wolf who flirted with dogs (and humans)

The story of Romeo, the wolf who flirted with dogs, is an exceptional story of a wild wolf befriending dogs in the Alaskan city of Juneau. Many citizens of Juneau went to see this spectacle for many years until Romeo was killed by sports hunters.

My wife, who did not exactly approve of this “miscegenation” because of the potential danger, was looking out the window one frosty morning and there was the wolf curled up out on the lake ice, waiting for Dakotah (our dog) to come out.

With that arms folded, slightly protective tone of voice any mother with a cute teenage daughter would use, she said, “There’s that Romeo wolf again.” The name caught on because it fit. He was not only doing this with our dog, he was also flirting with others. But he certainly had favorites, just as people do: dog friends, dog acquaintances, and dog Best friends for ever.

describes Nick Jans, a former hunter, who turned wildlife photographer and the author of  the book A Wolf Called Romeo,

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Wolves are smart, family-oriented, and communicative. Their personalities are clear.

A pack of wolves is always a family. Think of it like the Mafia. The Gambinis do not accept the Genoveses in their midst. They’re very rigorous about that. We were keeping our dog under control and she just slipped out from under my fingers, which were hooked around her collar. That first meeting, when Dakotah—our “Juliet”—and Romeo stood nose to nose, is recorded on the cover of the book.

If you look at that photo, you see the wolf is very much being a boy. He’s standing very tall, with his ears narrow and his tail slightly up, his neck ruff raised a little bit. He’s being very flirtatious. Dakotah is very confident but giving a neutral signal with her tail straight out. They’re both very relaxed; there’s not the least hint of aggression. And that was very typical of how Romeo interacted with dogs.

continues Mr. Jans. Romeo played not only with the local dogs but eventually the whole village turned out to see him. Romeo was eventually killed by hunters for sport at the age of 8.

A Wolf Called Romeo is a wonderful book for a family reading and full of surprises that challenges cultural stereotypes of wolves, human beings, and dogs.

European Wilderness Society congratulates you to Valentine´s day and wishes you a lot of love, positive emotions and true romance!

 

The full story of Romeo including the fight against killing large carnivores in Alaska.

Iryna Shchoka

Iryna Shchoka is a regional development expert and is based in Uzhhorod, Ukraine.

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8 thoughts on “A Valentine Love Story: Romeo, the wolf who flirted with dogs (and humans)

  1. I see several comments here which are incorrect. There is no evidence that Romeo was fed by humans. His scat was frequently inspected by those closest to him and there was no evidence of dog kibble found. Like all wolves he hunted for his food and his scat showed evidence that he survived by hunting native animals, including salmon, beaver and other animals native to that area.

    Romeo was last seen alive on September 19, 2009. His life was ended by criminals in the very early morning hours of Septembe 20, 2009. The killers were NOT sport hunters, but were serial poachers who intentionally shot and killed Romeo. It is unfortunate that they did not receive jail time for his murder. They received fines and loss of hunting privileges.

    The world was robbed of a beautiful and remarkable wolf because of two small minded, hateful individuals. How I wish his story had been allowed to continue. Sadly, wolves often have their lives taken by a bullet. Romeo deserved better!

  2. A remarkable wolf, just read Nick Jans book, “A Wolf Called Romeo” really stired deep emotions in me for the wolf, unfortunately there are deviants in all societies who destroy icons an Alaskan community held in high regard and they were further let down by a corrupt and weak legal system.

  3. We cannot confirm this information and based our story on the author of the book. If it is true, it is evidence that feeding of wild animals causes problems negatively impacting the animals being fed.

  4. The Romeo story is missing a couple vital facts about how he became so tame as to interact with other dogs and people. Romeo was a lone wolf in the Dredge Lake area of Juneau and people began leaving feed plots out for the wolf, to entice it to certain areas, so it could be photographed. Over time, Romeo wasn’t hunting and became accustomed to being around people. Shame on the people for killing Romeo but a larger amount of guilt and blame is on the photographers and people who fed Romeo for their personal exploitation.

  5. Pingback: Romeo
  6. Boy~~ this sickens me to know some stupid, cruel sport hunters killed Romeo. THATS NOT hunters. Decent hunters would not have done this…this was stupid unintelligent people that should actually be found, charged, fined and possibly jailed for their actions. Someone in the area KNOWS WHO they were / are! Turn them in!! Is there no one out their with the courage to turn Romeo’s killers in???

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