A few weeks ago, I put two of my daughters in the car and we drove to Pennsylvania. This in itself is noteworthy, due to my directional ineptitude. I can barely find my way from one end of Fairfax to the other. Give me a map, and the chances of me getting lost increase. But aided by the soothing ministrations of the lady in my GPS box, we made it almost all the way to our destination before someone decided to build a new road and the genie of the GPS disappeared back into her lamp, bleating “recalculating route” in a confused stutter.
A quick cellphone call to Hero Hubby and we were pointed back in the right direction. 20 minutes later we were booking into our hotel; a sad, limp establishment, with thin walls and a manically noisy extractor fan in the bathroom. But it had two Queen beds and a TV. What more could the girls want? Once they had exhausted themselves jumping from bed to bed they settled down to watch Spongebob.
Later, Jessica did have a moment of homesickness (for her laptop) but we played an ad lib game of pictionary which had her laughing hysterically at my very bad character drawings of snow white and the seven dwarfs, and later still we went out to dinner at the semi posh Olive Garden, where she stuffed herself with breaded scampi until she felt sick and happy. (Rebecca had a far more sedate mac and cheese).
Back at the hotel I fell asleep to them singing and telling ghost stories. I was woken briefly at 2am to find Jessica shaking me to inform me that I was snoring.
I don’t know what time they got to sleep, but they weren’t particularly enthusiastic to be roused at 7.30. Then they remembered why we were there. We had come to see the wolves at Speedwell Wolf Sanctuary.
Another 30 minutes of listening to Mrs GPS as we drove through beautiful old towns of rural Pennsylvania, past farms and the occasional horse drawn Amish buggy vying for road space with cars, motorbikes and massive trucks. No wonder the horses always look so angry.
The wolves at Speedwell are beautiful, and as keen as the visitors for the tour to start. This may have had something to do with the full bucket of raw chicken the tour guide was carrying. Wolf noses were pressed against wire meshed fences, long pink tongues protruding to lick enticing pimply fleshed morsels. Teeth were bared and alphas snapped at over-eager omegas, letting us all know who was boss.
All the wolves have a story, from Chipper, (half wolf, half lab and so much like a dog it seems cruel to lock him up behind an 8 foot fence. All he needs is a cuddle and a snooze by the fire) to Thor (full wolf but abandoned because he was blind).
Most had come to the sanctuary from homes ill equipped to care for full grown wild beasts which, we were informed again and again, is what wolves are. They may look endearingly cuddly and Fido-like as they wag their tails and prance around, but They Are Wild Beasts.
Find out more about the wolf sanctuary and it's history. It is well worth a visit.