Its Day Three of the interview with author Gina Farago. Her exciting new novel featuring a werewolf who is also a dog trainer came out last Fall, Ivy Cole and the Moon (NeoDeo Press).
In the last installment we left Gina telling us about how as she visited Wolf Park in Indiana she began to see some of the some behaviors she had seen in her home pack (a toy Poodle and a Belgian Malinois).
JW: Lets go to one of these times when you’re at Wolf Park and you’re seeing one of these behaviors. Tell me about this time.
GF: A funny thing is that wolves love to play. I don’t know if a lot of people realize that about them. But they can be quite jokesters. There was one wolf that would just flop over on its back, all four feet in the air and just wiggle around in the grass. And everybody has seen their dogs do that at home. I would never think of a wolf doing that same thing. And that is wolf behavior just the silliness with the feet waving in the air and the tongue lolling out and the tails wagging. That too is wolf behavior!
JW: What goes through your mind as you see this wolf behavior that you know your dogs are doing at home?
GF: It feels a little spiritual to see the kindred spirits. I’ve always loved the wolf but because the wolves are pretty much extinct in our area (you know they are starting to make a comeback out west; they are trickling a little bit farther east) but I feel that I get to enjoy the wolf a little bit more in my own dogs that way. Just to see the kindred spirit of the behavior.
I think a lot of it is the intelligence in the eyes.
Seeing, you look into a wolf’s eyes and the gaze is so deep and its so full of wisdom and there is so much intellect there and you know hes thinking. You know hes analyzing you. You know hes working things out. You know he has known things for centuries and centuries that I will never know. And I can go home and I can look in my own dogs eyes and see the same kind of wisdom and the same kind of understanding. I really did leaving Wolf Park. You know the wolf is the totem for the Native American as the teacher, the teacher and the brother. I come back and I look at my own dogs and I look in their eyes and I see that same kind of deep wisdom and understanding.
JW: What does that do for you, having been at Wolf Park and coming home and seeing that same kind of understanding in your dogs eyes?
GF: It makes me feel like I was right.
I had always loved dogs and admired them and seen them as, I believe you mention in your book angels on earth,” that they just know something that were not getting but they forgive us anyway. I’ve always felt that way about dogs. Then I go out and meet the wolves and I have that experience. I’ve always thought wolves are cool, wolves are great! But after actually working with wolves, I was more right than I realized and I had no idea.
JW: How does that make you feel?
GF: It makes me feel very good because in my book I’m very careful to not vilify the wolf. Right now there is a big movement to debunk all the bad myths about wolves and to educate people as to what wolves really are. It made me feel really good that I could go up to Wolf Park and have all of those opinions validated that debunking the myth is exactly what we need to do and letting the public understand that they’re not bloodthirsty, thoughtless killers. That they are just a predator put on this earth that are very much like humans in their pack dynamics and the way they interact with each other. And I just left thinking YES! I WAS RIGHT! Wolves are good!
JW: What does that do for you to be part of that de-villification?
GF: It makes me feel that my book has a little bit more of a purpose than entertainment. It is a fiction story but I was able to weave so many non-fiction elements through it from what I learned, including an environmental message, a conservation message for the wolf, and Ive had people come up to me and say, I’ve always had a negative opinion about wolves and I never really thought that much about wolves but, man, after I read your book, I think wolves are great.”
JW: And when that happens, what goes through your mind?
GF: I feel like I did something worthwhile. I wrote a fiction story but its having a little bit of an impact to maybe change peoples minds a little more beyond what they learned as kids in fairy tales.