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 Tamsweg. Austria

Iryna Shchoka has 149 posts and counting. See all posts by Iryna Shchoka

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

  • January 13, 2022 at 03:32
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    You hunter at bat killed Romeo. How could you do that I know you probably feel rotten about it but your probably saying to yourself it was just a big dangerous creature. NO Romeo was special as all wolves are they are being brought to the brink of freaking extinction and your making it worse please stop killing wolves. Your not going to eat it and you’ll probably just waste it. Shame on you. (Sorry if this adds to your guilt) please bring wolves back. We love you Romeo

  • November 24, 2021 at 16:50
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    Yes I read this awesome story a few years back and I TOO found it so sickening that 2 inconsiderant immoral with no compasion at all killed this beautiful and i mean Beautiful black wolf. All this wolf wanted was to play and just live his life everyday with dogs. Romeo never hurt any of the dogs or humans or showed any aggression and for his life to be taken from him for No apparent reason whatsoever. These 2 awlful humans just got a slap on the wrist they should have gotten prison time for there actions.
    More laws need to be put in place for all animals and wild animals to people who are so cruel to any animals. SHAME ON THEM !!!!

  • November 3, 2019 at 23:53
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    This story is a credit to the people of Juneau. All too often, fear, ego, cruelty drives humans to kill. I love the photo of Romeo with the Golden Retriever. His body language shouts “lets play”. This highly intelligent carnivore chose to befriend dogs and humans, and adjusted his behaviour so as not to harm or intimidate either. I would love and be flattered, to have a friend such as him.

  • September 6, 2018 at 20:32
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    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!

  • April 1, 2018 at 02:46
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    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.

  • October 15, 2017 at 12:00
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    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.

  • October 14, 2017 at 21:12
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    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.

  • May 4, 2017 at 22:10
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    Stupid hunters murdering Romeo. I’m really upset at them.

  • April 26, 2017 at 17:35
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    Well this is only the tipp of the iceberg. In Germany alone approximately 400.000 household cats and 65.000 dogs are killed every year by hunters. https://www.peta.de/katzenabschuss-durch-jaeger#.WQC97VKB1Z0

    The real problem is the lack of any real fines for killing wild or even household animals.

    Wild regards.

  • April 26, 2017 at 02:31
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    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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