Similarity Between the Warrior and the Wolf
The wolf, a coursing predator, has been responsible for keeping the balance in nature for thousands of years. As an apex predator, the wolf speaks up for all the other species in the ecosystem by making sure that the elk doesn’t eat all the bark off the tree and create a wasteland. The wolf even speaks up for the frog by moving the herd from one green lush valley to another so that the stream bed and the waterways can sustain the life of the frog. In these actions, the wolf’s true role is to protect the wilds of North America by maintaining a balance in nature.
The veteran, much like the wolf, acts like a coursing predator and travels around the globe to protect the indigent, the poor, and the downtrodden by moving them to a safe place. The veteran, much like the wolf, can kill if necessary to protect the good of the many. Herein lies the similarity. The wolf protects the environment and is slaughtered, the veteran protects his country and is called a murderer. Both the wolf and the Veteran serve to protect us all. At LARC we believe they should both be given a chance to heal.
There have been studies written on trauma in elephants, trauma in chimps, trauma in veterans. In all these mammals, trauma manifests itself in similar ways. Here at LARC we have seen over the years wolves who have suffered physical and emotional wounds just like our veteran. We’ve observed that when the wolf and the Veteran walk side-by-side, there is an unspoken, non-verbal communication that blossoms. This human-animal bond often serves as the catalyst in the veteran’s reunification with family and reintroduction into society.
The community impact of our project is felt throughout society. By offering the veterans employment and path to recovery, we are healing families, putting our young war heroes back to work, and saving animals at the same time. By aiding a Veteran in recovery, we impact his or her life and the lives of those that come in contact with him or her. Our program impacts, sons, daughters, wives, brother, fathers, sisters, employers, and the community by healing our heroes and getting them back to work, back to their families, and involved in their community.
The healing happens through peer support, animal-bonding and pack acceptance. Most Veterans served in a group (3-5 soldiers), and within that group each Veteran had a role. When one was lost the entire group suffered – so “pack” awareness was born through military service. We use a pack to heal at LARC, so that when one animal living in an enclosure with 3 other wolves accepts our fallen hero, then the whole pack begins approaching him/her and allows him/her in. This unilateral acceptance often leads to healing and family re-unification for the Veterans enrolled in the “Warriors and Wolves” program.