Romeo was a black wolf who spent seven years interacting with the people and dogs of Juneau Alaska. He appeared suddenly on the edge of the community and soon began to tag along with cross-country skiers and play fetch alongside local dogs. The citizens of Juneau began to accept Romeo and he them. In a town that places high value on coffee and beer, there’s a brand of each named in his honor. Heritage Coffee’s Black Wolf Blend and Alaskan Brewing’s Black Wolf IPA.
Tragically, Romeo was shot and killed by a local hunter who was fully aware of the wolf’s celebrity. Apparently it was his inalienable right. The killer was tracked down after a response was found buried in the comment section of a Youtube tribute to Romeo. It read;
“He’s dead, skinned, and stuffed…get over it people.”
When I returned from Alaska, a number of friends, upon viewing my photos, remarked that they thought wolves were bigger. Totally understandable given the photos contained no frame of reference. Here’s a photo of Romeo’s first meeting with Dakotah, a 60lb female Lab owned by Nick Jans, the author of ” A Wolf Called Romeo”
“With that first close meeting one evening in December 2003, a wild black wolf became part of our lives-not just as a fleeting shape in the dusk, but as a creature we and others would come to know over a span of years, just as he came to know us. We were neighbors, that much is certain; and though some will scoff, I say friends as well. This is a tale woven of light and darkness, hope and sorrow, fear and love, and perhaps, a little magic. It’s a story of our time on this shrinking world, one I need to tell-most of all, to myself. Late at night, it fills the spaces between heartbeats, nudges me awake. By speaking, I hope not to be rid of it, nor even to understand, but just to set down all the facts, the musings, and unanswered questions as best I can. Years from now, at least I’ll know that I did more than dream, and that once upon a time, there was a wolf we called Romeo.”