|That's my boy, the rocket surgeon.|
This winter was particularly hard, looking back, as Bast was having an issue that in the wolfdog world is known loosely as Winter Wolf Syndrome. WWS, for those who aren't familiar with the term, is an informal term for seasonal behavior changes that wolves and some wolfdogs go through during the winter months.
In the wild, wolves are only fertile at one time of the year - during the winter months. In the rest of the year, male wolves' testosterone ebbs and their wee wolfy nads actually shrink to the size of peanuts - gentlemen, be glad you don't share that anatomical anomaly.
During this time, wolves can become testy and have mood swings, and this is true of some wolfdogs, as well. Although it's usually seen mainly in higher content wolfdogs, we ended up catching a few mild shockwaves of it here, probably because Bast is an F3, only 3 generations removed from having a pure wolf in his family tree, and because he comes from a particular bloodline that has a reputation for having bad 'tudes.
|The falling snow knocks their brains out.|
For some owners, WWS can be a very scary ordeal. Normally sweet-tempered, docile critters can turn into Jekyll and Hyde, Some owners of high content wolfdogs can even have animals that react so aggressively to their owners' presence, the owners cannot go into the animals' pens during the winter months or interact with them at all.
Bastas thankfully did not have as extreme a reaction as that, however his goofy, sweet, friendly demeanor was replaced by a pouting, sulking, skulking creature that avoided contact most of the time. Sometimes, several days would go by where he would not allow me to touch him at all. If I approached him, he skittered off across the yard, carefully maintaining his distance while avoiding eye contact with me. He would not respond to his name, would not come when I called, and on his worst days, would not even approach me at meal times to get anything to eat. Many evenings I stood in the doorway with my toes curled against the cold, trying to get him to come inside for bed-time, only to have to close the door in sadness having not even caught a glimpse of him in the yard.
|If looks could kill, I'd have used up all my 9 lives by now and then some.|
I didn't realize how much his behavior was weighing on my heart until, like magic, a couple of weeks ago he just stopped. No more avoidance, no more dodging when I reached out to pet him. As the snow melted, so did Bast's seasonal, hormonal resentment, and my sweet, loving boy came back along with the budding trees. As glad as I am to have him back to normal, it's sad to think that I probably have that behavior to look forward to now every winter for the rest of his hopefully very long life.
As much a delight to me as Bast is, living with the Wolf Crazies isn't always fun stories about catching mice and romping with the girls. These are complex animals that require a lot of work and dedication, and even then they can break your heart for no other reason than their instinctual nature.
Although, I guess given that I had his balls snipped out, he would probably say this is what I deserve. Thanks, you smug little turd.