Dr E. H. McCleery of Kane, Pennsylvania believes that wolves are naturally good-natured and are true loving friends to those who are kind to them. He has proven that they are easily domesticated and he has absolutely no fear of them.
For the past five years he has worked upon his theory that the wolf is not at all a despicable animal and during that time has developed a wolf ranch, now covering four acres, situated almost adjacent to the largest public park in Kane. This area is enclosed with a strong wire fence of considerable height, and within this enclosure a dozen pens, each 60’ sq, also wire enclosed. An average of twenty-four full grown buffalo wolves inhabit this ranch year around.
Wolves, wild or in captivity, mate for life, and their domestic affairs form an interesting and sometimes thrilling subject of study. Death is the only method of breaking the tie once formed between the male and female and this uncompromising attachment occasionally precipitates a deadly combat when the mating season comes around and a full grown male finds himself without a companion. If he can kill one of his mated brothers the female will be his according to the law of the wild, and if opportunity offers, a fight occurs that is terrible in its utter ferocity. At the McCleery ranch, however, the mated pairs are separated when the mating season approaches, in fact, males and females are not allowed to mix indiscriminately at any time for the females are terribly jealous of one another and fight as fiercely as the males upon occasion. Each pair or group is allowed the run of the big enclosure outside of the pens at certain times of the day. This enclosure contains a pond of generous dimensions and the wolves, especially in the summertime, are fond of swimming and playing in the water.
Once in awhile as a special treat, when conditions warrant, the whole pack is liberated in the big enclosure and then a gambol results that is worth seeing. The pack apparently chooses one of its number to be a fugitive and the others chase it about the park until it is caught and rolled over and over by its pursuers. Then another wolf starts a way with the whole pack in chase.
Dr McCleery sometimes takes part in this wild sport and is tumbled about by the wolves, but with no more injury than would follow a romp with so many good natured dogs. He entered the yard on one occasion carrying a large basket of meat and slipped and fell. He was almost instantly buried from sight under hungry wolves but he ordered them sharply away and arose unhurt. He then proceeded to feed each animal its portion as was his custom.
Females breed the first year; males do not mate until 11 months old. A she-wolf with a litter of puppies is the most dangerous beast that the animal kingdom produces. She is almost insane in her anxiety to protect her young and looks upon everything animate with suspicion that easily flares forth into terrible ferocity.
The extent to which Dr. McCleery has succeeded in taming these wild creatures has no more convincing illustration than the changed manner of the older females of the pack.
He can actually approach the mother wolf and handle their puppies, an action which in the wild state would insure a man being torn to pieces.
Reported By Ross K. Knapp - Pittsburg Press 1927