Wolf Wanders Into Dog Park and the Unthinkable Happens

By: Carissa | Last updated: Sep 20, 2023

Wolves are the majestic, yet complex canines of the wild. They may resemble dogs, but wolves are often feared because of their dangerous demeanor.

Although wolves typically aren’t much of a risk to humans unless provoked, pet owners have reason to be alarmed if a wolf is nearby. An Alaskan wildlife photographer named Nick Jans experienced this exact fear when he took his dog for a walk in the snow and came face to face with a wolf.

The Photographer and His Dog Were Casually Enjoying The Outdoors

In 2004, Nick Jans took a seat on his front porch outside of his Alaskan abode as his labrador retriever, Dakotah, roamed around close by.

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Source: Coffee with a Canine

At that very moment, a large black wolf emerged from the trees and walked onto Jans’ property. As a wildlife photographer, Jans was no stranger to encountering exotic animals in their natural habitat – but he wasn’t prepared for a wolf sighting this time around. 

He Panicked as His Dog Ran Toward the Wolf

In an instant, Dakotah spotted the wolf and charged toward the animal. Jans believed either Dakotah thought the wolf was another dog who wanted to play, or the dog was bravely preparing to defend her owner from the threat of being attacked by the wolf.

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Source: Dan’s Pet Care

Jans was in shock by the events that were unfolding before his eyes. As his mind raced trying to think of ways to save his beloved pup from becoming the wolf’s next meal, something unexpected happened.

He Wasn’t Expecting What Happened Next

Incredibly, Dakotah and the black wolf started playing together as if they were longtime pals.

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Source: KTOO

They tussled in the snow and gleefully chased each other around as pups tend to do. Once Jans realized that Dakotah was safe from any potential danger, he ran back inside to grab his camera. He got a collection of heart-warming photos of Dakotah and the wild wolf, merrily engaging in play.

The Wolf Got a New Friend…and a Name

Nick saw that the wolf took a liking to the area right by his home. The wolf became a frequent visitor and would often come by Jans’ house to spend time with its new friend, Dakotah.

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Source: Tumblr

It would become the start of a beautifully budding friendship between the canines. Since the wolf kept coming around, Jans thought it would be appropriate to give him a name. And so, he called the wolf Romeo.

He Still Made Sure His Dog Was Safe

Even though Romeo was friendly to Jans and Dakotah, the wildlife photographer knew that Romeo was a wild animal and didn’t want to take any chances when it came to their safety.

Source: Outside Magazine

Jans always kept an eye out for Dakotah as she played with Romeo. With the knowledge that Romeo is a wild predator, Jans maintained a healthy distance between himself and the animal.

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The Friendliest Wolf in the Bunch

Romeo seemed to crave interaction with other dogs, and he began to seek out other pups to play with in the area. Soon enough, Romeo strolled over to Mendenhall Glacier Park to see if there were other dogs willing to play with him.

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Source: Jill Outside

Perhaps he wanted to feel like part of their pack, or maybe he was the most outgoing wolf anyone had ever seen. Whatever the case may be, Romeo really got along with the neighborhood dogs, and he would regularly play and wrestle with them.

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Predator or Playmate?

People at the park initially had no interest in playing nice with a wild animal. The large predator can look intimidating, but the locals eventually warmed up to Romeo after a while.

Source: Howling for Justice

Once they saw how gentle and curious Romeo was, they had no problem allowing their pets to play with the big – and not so bad – wolf. Romeo wound up having lots of four-legged friends, and he seemed quite pleased with the way things turned out.

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The Other Dogs Were Uncertain at First

Naturally, some of the dogs at the park were hesitant about the wolf’s intentions.

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Source: European Wilderness Society

After some time, the dogs realized that Romeo was looking for a companion rather than dinner. Their uncertainty would eventually wash away as they learned to trust Romeo. Despite his daunting appearance, all the wolf wanted was to be friends with other dogs, not to harm them.

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Romeo Even Made Human Friends

Just like a pet dog, Romeo longed for the love of humans.

Source: KTOO

According to Jans, the wolf would “bring out toys that he’d stashed” and drop them at the feet of people at the park. The good-natured wolf wanted to play fetch and made himself approachable in every way. Maybe Romeo thought he was like the other pets and just wanted to fit in.

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A Domesticated Wolf in the Wild?

Romeo observed other dogs and took on some of their domesticated traits. It was as if Romeo were part pet himself.

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Source: Coffee with a Canine

The wolf “clearly understood the same sort of behaviors that we see in dogs,” said Jans. The photographer explained the unique dynamic of him and his dog befriending a wolf, saying, “We were these three species working out how to get along harmoniously. And we did.”

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The Unthinkable Story Became a Best-Selling Book

Nick Jans turned the tale of Romeo into a book titled, A Wolf Called Romeo.

Source: Amazon/Blog Talk Radio

The compelling story shines a light on the docile beast’s ability to bond with pets and other humans. The tale of Romeo’s six-year-long friendship with Jans and Dakotah is truly remarkable. Romeo defied all odds, and his story will live on forever.

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