You've heard this story before — it showed up in our yard one snowy evening, we thought it was a dog. The kids fell in love with it right away, and only when we took it in for shots did we find out it was a wolf. The vet looked grave. She said if I kept it I would regret it. But the kids cried, and my husband, too, had become attached. We got a dog bed for it, and kibble.
Things were good for about a year, and then the howling started. Two a.m., every night, sometimes for hours. She sounded like someone was turning her whole soul inside out. Sometimes I got up to try and comfort her, but she only looked at the ceiling with the wildest, hungry eyes.
I said we had to let her go free, but again, the kids cried. My husband said he would get up with her at night; I let him. Pretty soon he was sleeping every night on the couch next to her. One morning I noticed that hungry look in his eyes too.
"What can I do?" I asked.
We'd always gotten along so well together, but after that we stopped talking. A few nights later the police found him walking along the train tracks, headed God-knows-where.
Then it was the kids. They started feeding the wolf out of their hands at night, stroking her grey fur. Next thing I knew they were suspended from their school for bolting out of the classroom during algebra.
We went to family therapy, but it was no use. I locked the house but they broke windows, forced their way out into the night. At first they didn't go too far — I could drive to the outskirts of town and find them staring at the forest, their faces haunted, questing. Then one night they were gone for good.
The wolf and I are on our own now. You might think I'd resent her, but I don't. She's stopped her howling, and she's become a good companion. We watch TV together; I cook meatballs for us, and comb her hair. I'm looking forward to retirement in a few years — then the two of us will just stay inside all winter long.