I am not a fanatic animal lover, nor a vet. I will admit I enjoy watching nature shows if they have lots of close up clips of animals taken in their hideouts. I can stare at them without any regard to time which must mean some sort of fascination of the animal world lurks within me.
I felt that fascination fill every part of me recently as I read with horror and curiosity Jack London’s companion to his “Call of the Wild.” It’s called “White Fang” and follows the violent life of a dog/wolf in the Yukon Territory of Canada.
The story actually begins before White Fang is born with the desperate attempt of two men to keep themselves and their dogs alive while being pursued by starving wolves. All the dogs and finally the other man are caught and eaten by the pack. The lone man is saved when others arrive to scare off the wolf pack.
The story then moves from the human point of view to the wolves.’ With shocking detail I was led into the violent, competitive world of the pack, White Fang’s early days with his she-wolf mother, then life with a small band of Indians and finally to the gentle hands of a man who would bring him to the civilized world. It was morbid and sad at times, but I read it to feed some inner curiosity.
I think that in addition to my curiosity about the secret lives of wolves, I was also in awe of a master writer as he carved out scenes of nature through an animal’s eyes with untamed realism.