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Part Wild: One Woman's Journey with a Creature Caught Between the Worlds of Wolves and Dogs Hardcover – October 11, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Seven Skeletons: The Evolution of the World's Most Famous Human Fossils by Lydia Pyne
"Seven Skeletons" by Lydia Pyne
An irresistible journey of discovery, science, history, and myth making, told through the lives and afterlives of seven famous human ancestors. Learn more
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ceiridwen Terrill will make you fully understand the differences between wild and domestic animals. Her riveting prose about her wolf hybrid is essential reading for everyone who is interested in animals." -Temple Grandin

About the Author

Ceiridwen Terrill is an associate professor of science writing and environmental journalism at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. Her essays have appeared in Oxford American and Isotope, as well as the anthology What Wildness Is This: Women Write About the Southwest. Her first book Unnatural Landscapes: Tracking Invasive Species was published in 2007. To see photos and video from Part Wild and to learn more about her work, visit MyUrbanWild.com. Follow her on Twitter@myurbanwild.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st Printing edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451634811
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451634815
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,459,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I came across a reference to this book in The Whole Dog Journal, where it talked about the way the book takes on the outmoded notion of "alphas" in canine behavior. I was intrigued, so I got the free sample, zoomed through it, and then bought the whole book, which I ended up reading straight through all night and into the early hours of the morning.

If it appears that I came to this book with an agenda, I did, but as far as I can tell from reading reviews here, so did many other reviewers who seem to judge the book on whether they agree with the writer's training methods or agree with her opinions on wolf hybrids. Certainly we all hold our opinions, but those opinions don't really tell much about the book itself, so I wanted to admit my agenda first, and then move on from it. I had to anyway: as it turns out, the book is not too much about dominance theories (though it does address them, including the ways in which such ideas have been disproven), but it is a lot about canine (and human!) behavior.

More than that, the book is a memoir, and it is a compelling story, well told. The writer does a good job of showing us what her life was like, years ago, when as a naive and frightened young woman, she got a wolf hybrid, hoping for protection from the abusive man in her life at the time. As a teacher of writing, I expect good memoir to do several things: it should be honest, and create a complex (not necessarily sympathetic) character out of the narrator, and it should include reflection--we expect to know that the writer knows more than they did at the time of action, and we expect to seem some reflection on these past actions. Terrill does all this beautifully.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a biologist specializing in canid behavior, and past owner of a 3/4 wolf hybrid who met a tragic end due to a mistake I made in his pen's security, I echo all of the previous reviewers' high praise for this remarkably personal story with universal relevance. The author is almost brutally honest, but never with any hint of self-pity or without empathy for all the humans and canids in her story. The science cleverly woven into the narrative is accurate and well presented, and the extensive footnotes and reference list lift this book well above the level of a mere personal story about one woman and one wolf hybrid. Today there is much more information readily available on keeping wolf hybrids than when the author adopted Inyo, naively accepting the completely inaccurate and inadequate guidance of the breeder. Her message is that good intentions, devotion, and "doing your best" to provide a proper life for these creatures ill-fitted to being either domestic or wild are often not enough to protect them from the consequences of what, by their natures, they have to be.

Janice Koler-Matznick, MS, ACAAB
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Format: Hardcover
This was a deeply moving story- I connected with the author on her love of the outdoors, her quest for a dog as a protector and companion, and her interest in connecting with a 'wild' animal. But I wish, I really wish, she had done her research on wolf hybrid and on dog breeds first. This was such a sad story for both Inyo and the author.

Whenever I hear of someone wanting a wolf hybrid- or thinking that a wolf hybrid is somehow superior to a domestic dog in intelligence, I remember my animal behavior classes back in graduate school, and also my friend who rescued wolf hybrids. If you only get this far in my review, wolf hybrids do not make good 'pets' anymore than a tiger or a cougar does!

The author is a gifted writer and tells her story without a trace of self-pity or excuse for her behavior or choices. I understand why she wanted a wolf- for protection, for enjoying the outdoors with, and as a wild companion. She makes mistakes on many levels. Wolves don't 'protect', they guard. They are just as likely to run off or turn on you in a physical altercation as they are to turn on the attacker. They are a great visual deterrant, but so are german shepherds. There are a few myths that wolf hybrid enthusiasts like to propogate. 1. Wolf-hybrids are much smarter than dogs. 2. Wolf-hybrids are more athletic, more protective, and more 'spiritual' than dogs. 3. Wolf-hybrids are good companion animals and can be kept like dogs as 'pets'.

First, domestic dogs, while varying in intelligence, are not 'dumber' than wolves. In fact, they are much smarter than wolves- and even than chimpazees when it comes to reading human body language, and in working with and living with humans.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author is boldly honest about the decisions she made in reference to her life and her life with her beloved wolfdog. She includes research at pertinent points, which might cause one to think that it would impede the flow of the story. It doesn't and, in fact, adds depth to her experiences. I wasn't sure that I would be able to read this book based on the summary; however, I found it difficult to put down even though it was emotionally hard to read at various points. If you are truly an animal lover, you will understand the harsh truths that this book contains.
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