Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review: Part Wild, by Ceiridwen Terrill

The only reason I heard of Part Wild, by Cerirdwen Terrill, is that it was mentioned on Dogster a few months back, when it was about to be published.

It's one of those books that, while I can say that I'm glad that I read it, and it really gripped me while I was in the process, it made me feel sad and regretful, even though the situations that transpired were not my life.

The author, Ceiridwen Terrill, got out of a bad and horribly abusive relationship. So she wanted a dog. While at the animal shelter, she went into a back room, where there was what was labeled as a "wolf dog", and that's what planted the seed. Soon, a friend of hers who knew a wolf dog breeder hooked her up with that woman, and then she was present at the whelping of the litter that produced her wolf dog, Inyo.

This is one of those books that keeps me reading, and I feel bad for the situation, but I certainly questioned the initial motives for getting a wolf dog.  She was afraid of her ex, and wanted an animal who would bond with her and protect her. She felt very comfortable in the outdoors (in the wild) and didn't feel a dog could keep up with her on wilderness hikes. She also, unfortunately, seemed to have done all of her research after everything went down, and before she bought Inyo in the first place.

The narrative flow of the book was, for me, a little choppy, as Terrill interspersed her research trips and talk of visiting wolfdog breeders with the story of her time with Inyo. I take this research to have happened after the fact, but it was dissonant with the rest of it, as I wondered who was taking care of Inyo, for whom Terrill was very concerned, when she was jetting off to Siberia to visit the fox farm of the Belyaev study (and we may remember how very much I love hearing about the Belyaev study. Over and over again). 

That said, Terrill's writing is very good. Her storytelling is spot on, and her love for Inyo, and for the other dogs that she brought into her home as well, shines through desperately. Her mixed love, frustration, and disappointment with her subsequent husband is also a poignant note through the book. So really, I recommend it, with caution. The situation is hearbreaking and frustrating, and is a story about learning hard lessons, and also about hindsight and regret.


  1. Ya know, I don't think that's the book for me.

  2. My childhood dog was from a litter of a wolf/GSD (sire) and collie (dam). I loved him very much. But as an adult, I look back and wonder, "what were my parents thinking?"

    I'm curious about this book. But don't know if I'm in a place to read it right now.

  3. @rumpydog I was definitely fascinated (I totally read White Fang as a child and the notion of a wolf dog that only I could tame appealed, because that's one of those childish ideals that persists). But I can definitely see why not. Like I said, her writing was quite good, and her hindsight spot on, but reading the actual situations were heartbreaking.

    @Pamela What were your parents thinking?! Though judging from the comments of the book on Amazon, from people who purport themselves to have been REAL wolfdog owners (some people have even poked fun at the cover saying things like "lol, she thinks her malamute was a wolf") saying "I trained my wolfdog and he was fine!" And she did try to train...but what the book reflected was not the level of training I would have expected.

  4. It sounds like an interesting book, but may be one of those I cannot read as I would get completely caught up in it emotionally too-not that that is always bad. Sounds pretty heavy though!