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Wolves at Our Door: The Extraordinary Story of the Couple Who Lived with Wolves Paperback


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Wolves at Our Door: The Extraordinary Story of the Couple Who Lived with Wolves + The Hidden Life of Wolves + Living with Wolves/Wolves at Our Door
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (February 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743400496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743400497
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #794,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Dutchers spent six years living with a pack of captive wolves in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, producing the Emmy Award-winning documentary of the same title. In this book, Jim (The Sawtooth Wolves, with Richard Ballantine) and Jamie elaborate on their experience, describing how they became involved with the project, sharing their most memorable moments in the pack, and revealing the logistical problems posed by wildlife filming. Supporting the premises of their movie, the book details many myth-dispelling, playful interactions among the wolves and between wolves and humans. (These wolves were raised largely by Jim in captivity but in a large wilderness area with minimal interference from humans.) The reader gets to know the various wolf "personalities" that beguiled and bedeviled the authors, including Kamots, the calm, regal alpha who once comforts Jim by placing a paw on his hand; Matsi, the gentle beta; and Lakota, the slump-shouldered, tail-dragging Omega who is also the joker of the pack. Episodes of tragedy and mourning (as when a wolf is killed by cougars) are countered by moments of exuberance and touching inter-species communication. The Dutchers describe how the wolves dance in delight at the snows of winter, compete viciously for status and entertain themselves with complex social role-playing. This accessible book will delight nature fans and general readers alike. Maps and color insert not seen by PW.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Intent on dispelling the misguided notion that wolves are dangerous, predatory creatures, the Dutchers went to great lengths to observe a wolf pack's natural, unguarded behavior: they created a 20-acre enclosure for the wolves in Idaho's remote Sawtooth Mountains and moved their own quarters inside of it. There, the couple spent six years living among and filming the wolf pack, and their resulting film won an Emmy Award and became the Discovery Channel's highest-rated natural history documentary. This written account of their film explains how the Dutchers set out to capture the intimate daily life and social structure of the wolf pack. They observed behavior of a complex nature, a complicated and rigid family orientation, unexpected playfulness, and unyielding social bonds and achieved their goal of revealing a more sensitive, gentle wolf. This reads like a novel about relationships, but the main characters are animals rather than humans. It will captivate readers who are drawn to the wilderness and the somewhat mystical social structure of wild animals. Jim is a filmmaker and author of The Sawtooth Wolves, and Jamie is a former National Zoo employee. Highly recommended for popular wildlife collections and for those studying the social structure of animal groups. (Photos not seen.) Deborah Emerson, Rochester Regional Lib. Council, Fairport, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book was easy and entertaining to read.
E. M. Tennessen
A value cannot be put on the information gained by Jim and Jamie Dutcher during the Sawtooth Project.
towerclockraven
Wolves are magnificent animals; they have so much to teach us - we should listen to this story.
S. Hatley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By T. Rainman on February 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me clear the air up front. I can't claim that this review is totally unbiased, seeing as how my kid brother assisted the Dutchers with this effort. Just ask him: I'm very hard to please. Well, he doesn't have to worry this time out.
Weighing in at a mere 300 pages, the lucid, evocative writing makes it seem half as long. I came home from work to find my copy waiting for me. I immediately took it to my... um, "private reading room", with the intention of looking at the glorious, full color photographs and rejoining my family. But then I decided to just read the introduction. Next thing I knew, I was 100 pages into it and didn't want to stop.
The book is at once a heartwarming story of two people, their relationship with each other, and their struggle to bring a dream of filming a pack of "wild" wolves to fruition, and a real life drama of the lives (and occasionally deaths) of the members of that pack.
I can't recommend this book enough. Dog lovers will gain insights into the behavior of their beloved companions; wolf and nature lovers will see a magnificent animal in all its glory; and everyone else will find an eye-opening study of a misunderstood and wrongfully persecuted creature. All wrapped with a perfect blend of humor and suffering.
Do yourself a favor and let the Dutchers and their beloved wolves into your life. It will be richer for the addition.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Matt Hetling on October 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
Wildlife documentarian Jim Dutcher and his wife Jamie Dutcher describe their six-year project designed to capture the natural interactions of a typical pack of wolves. While they couldn't fully replicate a natural wolf setting, they come as close as can be imagined by fencing off several square miles of varied terrain in the Sawtooth Mountains, and living within a small wired-off enclosure within the larger area. The wolves they raise from puppies so that they can interact with them safely, and observe them without interrupting their natural behavior. Over the course of six years, Dutcher describes the wolf behavior he observes in great detail, and he also highlights the more interesting technical aspects and logistical obstacles in filming a wildlife documentary. We get a more general, and less honest, view of his relationship with his wife Jamie, and his relationship with others involved in the project, others with whom he becomes increasingly contentious. There is almost no insight into the financial end of a project like this.

First, the bad. Dutcher falls into the common trap of inserting himself into the story when unnecessary; or, to be more precise, inserting his opinions into the story. On the one hand, the author should be able to express his ideas; he's the author, after all. But on the other hand, he's disparaging a group of colleagues who share responsibility for the wolves, and he's not making enough of an effort to give their side of things fair play, in my opinion. He does articulate their position on wolf welfare in general terms at times, but only to give him a vague idea to refute in detail. Also, every time he mentions his wife, I can practically hear her breathing as she reads over his shoulder.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By rebecca mowry on November 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
One other reviewer mentioned that some of Jim Dutcher's remarks in the book were extremely biased, and I would like to take this opportunity to agree with that remark and set some of the record straight.

First of all, there is a rift between WERC and Jim Dutcher. Each side has its own version of what has happened and what is happening, and, obviously, if you listen only to Jim, you're going to have a very one-sided piece of information. If you have never been to WERC, then don't criticize its care of the wolves.

I had the opportunity to work at WERC as a summer intern after my sophomore year of college. The relationships between the handlers and the wolves was unbelievable. These people care so much about the wolves there, and from what the current handlers have told me, so did the past caretakers. I can assure that there was no "abandonment" of the wolves by the caretakers. If they were being fed over the fence (and I have no idea whether or not this is true), then at least they were being fed. And the only thing I can think of that would result in a short period of severely limited socialization would be a policy change of the board of directors, which, I can assure you, would be backed with plenty of justification and probably very much disliked by the caretakers (believe me, they WANT to be with the wolves).

Jim, on the other hand, did abandon the wolves. I disagree with the whole notion of purchasing wolf pups, for whatever project, as this encourages the captive breeding of wolves for pets or hybridization or other purposes. He knew this project wasn't going to last forever, and surely he had to know the complexity of the relationships he was forming with the wolves, and yet he continued with the project anyway.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Joan Linscott on February 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a wonderful view on the lives inside a wild wolf pack. Even though the Dutchers raised all but two of the original pack from 10 day old pups, the wolves still behave as they would in the wild with the exception of allowing humans to glimpse their lives. These wolves were kept in an enclosed area near the Sawthooth Mountains for six years otherwise this book and the film by the same title would not have been possible if these were wolves born in the wild their fear of humans would never have given us the glimpse of compassion, love and loyalty that is the wolf. As you read this book you will come to understand that wolves are not born killers. Please read this book for the sake of the wolf and the wilderness they represent, it may help in restoring them to the wild, for knowledge and understanding go hand in hand with preservation.
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