Romeo became a famous figure in Juneau, Alaska for being a rare type of wolf who enjoyed playing with local dogs in the winter.
They actually have their own tribute for Romeo in Juneau.
How did it all come about? It was 2003 and a photographer saw this wild wolf from the back deck of his house. Nick Jans figured it would be a one time sighting, but over the following months, the wolf kept hanging around. It then got to the point where the wolf began playing with one of Jan’s dogs.
This photo above was when the two animals first met after Jan’s dog Juliet got loose. She stood right up, nose to nose with the wolf as Jan captured the photo, no doubt extremely nervous.
“We were keeping our dog under control and she just slipped out from under my fingers, which were hooked around her collar,” Jans said.
Romeo then began to play with other dogs in the same area. This continued on regularly for years.
Jan noted that it’s a rarity to have a wolf to dog greeting take place that lasts over a minute, but for this kind of relationship to go on for six years is pretty incredible.
Interesting to note that the average lifespan for a wild wolf is only three years.
Jan documented the whole experience in a book he created titled, “A Wolf Called Romeo.”
Jan talked about the playful nature of the wolf and how it acted like a dog, even wanting to play fetch:
“For my friend Harry Robinson, who had an incredibly close relationship with the wolf, the wolf would bring out toys that he’d stashed. One was a Styrofoam float. Romeo would pick it up and bring it to Harry to throw. He clearly understood the same sort of behaviors that we see in dogs. Any highly intelligent animal, from killer whales to wolverines, will engage in play when they have leisure and aren’t engaged in survival.”
Jan also commented about the nature of the relationship between the three different animals involved in this situation. The wolf, the dog, and the human. How they all were working it out as they went along. All with the intention to get along as best possible, as well as finding ways to engage in play with one another. They definitely succeeded.