No one who came to the Predator to Pet Workshop at the U K Wolf Conservation Trust on 1st June was disappointed. Sue Hull a Director of the Trust, ran the workshop. Sue has many years of experience, not only with wolves, but with dogs as well. She started by talking about the closeness of the wolf and dog genetic makeup but also explained how far apart some modern dogs are from the wolf because of human interference. She quoted Martin Clunes from his programme about dogs when he said we are living with a wolf. It could be said that his dog is living with a monkey. So although the genes are close there are some great differences between wolves and dogs (and us and monkeys!)
Sue took us back on a journey to where dogs came from (possibly 33,000 years ago) and explored the reasoning behind the whys and wherefores of domestication. We discussed how dogs achieved their current shapes and what happened to them behaviourally as these changes occurred.
Sue had some great information sheets. It was astounding to learn that the dogs most closely related to the wolf include the Shar Pei, Afghan, Malamute, Husky and Pekinese! There were some great slides in her presentation on how dogs have been changed by breeders over the last thousands of years from wolves, some definitely not for the better with some changing into very strange looking animals!.
To finish the session Sue discussed the findings of Professor Ray Coppinger and his wife, Lorna, on the development of the special bond between humans and the modern dog. It was not a case of us domesticating the wolf, more how the wolf domesticated itself when man stopped being nomadic and started village life,
After a delicious lunch provided by Tsa Palmer, the group headed out with Tala and Nuka - two of the Wolf Trust 's youngest wolves born in May 2011. The wolves were eager to meet all the workshop guests and they let people stroke them under their tummies and even rolled over on their backs to get more attention. People were surprised at how friendly they were, yet at the same time they could see how muscular and powerful they were.
The day raised £2,000 for the Lt Dougie Dalzell MC Memorial Trust and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone even those who were extremely nervous of meeting a wolf!!!!!