Diorama, Los Angeles County Museum, 2007

Diorama, Los Angeles County Museum, 2007


First, one solitary, mournful cry echoed through the valley.

In reply, one after another, there were more until the howling filled the empty landscape.

The group camping in the forest stopped talking. They held mugs of hot soup in their hands warming themselves by the fire.

“There they go,” said one.

Another shivered and rubbed his arms. “It’s cold tonight,” he said.

The dog, which was lying by the fire, lifted his head with the sound and sat up. With ears bent forward in concentration, he listened. Then he lifted his chin, pointed his nose, towards the sky and began his own howl; a long melancholic cry.

“Hey you, stop that now,” she said, moving over to stroke him.

The dog turned with a sharp movement, snapping at her hand, curling his lips over his teeth. She pulled her hand away and fell back with surprise.

“HEY!” she said. “What’re you doing? ... NO,” she said, wagging her finger at him.

His snarl dropped and his tail began to sweep backwards and forwards behind him, pushing dry soil away in gentle curves. He sniffed and licked her hand before letting her stroke him.

Now the howling had stopped. But when it began again, the wolves were closer.

Feeling brave? Want to share your story? In the words of one Disney princess, Let it go, in the comments below.