The Philosopher and the Wolf by Mark Rowlands, the sixth book in my 50 Book Challenge, immediately grabbed hold of my heartstrings and did not easily let them go. This book takes the reader on an intimate journey of life, love, death, and happiness through the eyes of the author’s faithful wolf, Brenin.
This book was a roller coaster of emotions for me. While there could be an argument for the anthropomorphic interpretations of Brenin’s behaviour (which in some cases the author openly admits to), the eloquent recollections of lessons learned more than allow for acceptance of such cross-species perceptions. The genuine moments of a shared life with a wolf are profound and mystifying, with injections of humour and humility mixed in along the way.
I absolutely loved this book and, at times, had to put it down in order to properly process the philosophical teachings being described. It was funny, sad, and beyond insightful – a refreshingly honest read that encompassed so many principles I hold dear. This book initially provided me with an introduction to wolf/dog training and behaviour, however, it wasn’t long before the author opened the emotional flood gates and put a strangle hold on the essence of what it means to share a life with a wild (at heart) creature.
Near the end of the book, the author recaps his life with his wolf, Brenin. What he came to realize was that there wasn’t a moment that solely belonged to him, but rather all were shared with Brenin. Through the most memorable and exciting moments of his life, his companion sat supportively by his side. When I reflected on my own life, I quickly arrived at the same conclusion – the best parts of my life have been lived with my own dog, Dora, sitting faithfully at my side (or, more precisely, on my lap). It has been a shared life of intrigue, love, and sadness – and one that I am grateful for every day. I do not have one iota of doubt that animals come into our lives for a reason – and both Mark’s life with Brenin and my life with Dora reflect this concept of lifelong devotion.
If you are a dog owner, I guarantee you will not look at your canine companion the same way again.
Next up on the book shelf: Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan.