Back on Track

Hey, back on track with a new entry — a short story — and introducing Warren Riley, a new author to To quote…

The simplest and most natural of human reactions can be the cause of a disaster beyond the imagination. This story is a case in point. A simple unconscious reflex. An involuntary motion. The deadliest of mixtures.

Hope you’ll take some time to read Warren’s first of many stories, Disappearance by Default.

‘I am Leader’ from Learning from Dogs

Learning from Dogs is one of my favourite web blogs and I highly recommend that you visit the site. And yes, I do have a vested interest — today, one of my very short stories, titled I am Leader, is published there.

close encounters

I have had several close encounters with wolves, the subject of Paul’s blog today (and hence my story).

As a teenager, a young couple and their baby, visitors to Puffer’s Island who stayed at my grandparents’ cottage, brought their grey wolf with them. He used to accompany me on my travels around the island and we seemed always to end up on the southeast sand bar, sitting in the hot sand, howling — doubtful that it was harmonic, but it was loud and joyous — at boaters who streamed by.

At university, one of my fellow art students and her husband lived with a big white wolf they had brought back to Toronto as a pup, from the Yukon Territories. He lived in the basement of their home in the summer, in the snow in their back yard in the winter. But what I remember so fondly was how that beautiful wolf would sit beside me, his head higher than the kitchen table, when I visited Mary, when we sat for hours, drank coffee and gossiped the latest and greatest campus events or art innovations.

At riotthill now, we hear the wolves howl occasionally at night, sometimes as close as the driveway next to the house — trust me, a pack of wolves howling outside your window has the same effect as an alarm clock — sometimes deep into the forest behind us. It’s wonderful. Our resident pack is very shy, and seldom show themselves — although a couple of summers ago, we watched one of their members trotting along the road heading south, then an hour or so later, trotting north, presumably returning to the pack.

And yes, living with, and among the animals, whether wild or domestic,  is a constant learning experience. Thank you Paul.


I live just south of Algonquin Park in Central Ontario. Every summer there are public wolf howlings at the park. I’ve been told that this is one way researchers have to locate and keep track of the packs that make their home in the park.

Between riotthill and Algonquin Park, the Haliburton Forest, a privately maintained sustainable forest also maintains wolves and at one time, some years ago, helped with the re-introduction of wolves to areas in Western US where wolves had disappeared.