Observations of the Transient Canine Population on Capitol Street, Charleston, West Virginia

Friday evening on Capitol Street (especially during a holiday weekend) is not an easy time to find a parking spot. So, even though I needed only pop into my office for a second to grab a book I'd left behind -- yeah, that's right. I've got books. Hardcover. Lots of words. So even though I only needed one of those parking spots for about a minute, the ideal combination of right-place-right-time just weren't working out for me.

On my second go around the block, I saw a red Jeep Cherokee in front of me with this huge dog inside. Just to get its head outside the window, the dog was hunched over like really, really tall guy going down a low staircase. It had a really big, round head that reminded me of the Akita I used to have -- but it was brownish-gray and fluffy with what appeared to be a thick, winter coat of fur. Despite the dog's substantial size (and likely ability to do just about whatever it wanted), the truck window was down all the way and the dog looked friendly, at ease, and...at least at that moment...well-behaved.

So I was thinking, "That looks so familiar. What kind of dog is it?" And then I thought, "Holy crap, that's a wolf!" And then I was certain. I'm not saying I'm right, but I was certain, if that makes any sense. (I used to have a boss about whom we'd say, "Often wrong, never in doubt.") And, you know what? There was a family in Boone County who used to keep Timber Wolves in their fenced yard -- something I actually saw with me own eyes. It was a little scary but interesting how different these dogs looked than a typical, domesticated dog. They had incredibly long, knobby legs even compared to their large bodies, from the neck down giving them a little bit of a horse-like shape. They ambled, graceful and aloof, along the perimeter of the fence and, for obvious reasons, never appeared concerned about potential intruders.

Back to 2008...the red Cherokee was circling the block, too, obviously looking for a spot. I stayed behind him for about two more rotations before he gave up and went another direction. Had he stopped, I was going to stop and ask him if the dog was a wolf. I usually try and avoid questions like, "Bolton! Are you related to Michael Bolton?" but this time I didn't care! Alas, I missed my chance.

I did notice that the vehicle had West Virginia plates, though. Since the dog didn't look like the Timber Wolves I'd seen in Boone County, I did a little bit of research when I got home. Although I didn't find any blog entitled "Red-Cherokee-Fred-And-His-Pet-Wolf-from-WV" or anything, I did find at least one person in West Virginia selling wolf-dog hybrids. The ginormous dog I saw on Capitol Street looked like a combination of "Mac" and "Timber" here on this page.

Maybe I was right, then. (I guess if it was a hybrid it would make me more like 90-98% right.) I'd still like to know for sure.

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