Three Among the Wolves

A couple and their dog live a year with wolves in the wild

By Helen Thayer
Sasquatch Books, 2004
ISBN: 1570613982
Hardcover, 238 pages; $22.95

It sounds too unbelievable to be true, but Helen and Bill Thayer actually lived alongside a pack of wolves for an entire year. With the motivation of studying the animals outside of captivity, within a natural habitat in Canada, the adventuresome couple set out on an expedition with their dog Charlie—albeit with mixed expectations. The result was a successful study, transformed into an exciting tale by Thayer, whose casual prose is captivating and easy to read.

Charlie quickly takes a central role in the book, acting as a bridge between his owners and the wolves. Thayer offers accounts of how the dog's instincts offered them protection, and how his ancestral line allowed him to earn the pack's trust. The author and her husband use his behavior as a model of how to act amidst the wolves, gaining insights other researchers might have missed. After slowly moving closer to the wolves for the first half of the year, the humans and their dog are able to live in harmony with a pack of the wild animals for another six enlightening months.

In one memorable scene that reveals their bond with the wolves, the Thayers observe a new wolf pack. The stranger wolves try to attack Charlie, but Alpha, a member of the pack the humans and their dog befriended, recognizes Charlie is in danger and steps in to protect him from the other wolves. "His desire to protect his family's territory, and especially his defense of Charlie, made us feel even closer to this wild pack," Thayer said of the experience.

Readers will enjoy learning about wolves in this sometimes emotional, sometimes humorous tale. Thayer spins valuable information into an entertaining read, showing the true sophistication of animal communication. Three Among Wolves offers new perspectives on wolves in the wild, detailing the way they interact with each other and their environment.

—by Catherine Carroll