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  • Thunder the Wolf spent the summer of his sixteenth year in Earthfire’s wildlife garden, resting his huge, ancient frame in the cool grass under the shade of his favorite tree. As August rolled into September, he could no longer stand or even roll over. But strong wolf that he was, his heart beat on when his organs failed. Seeing him linger, my partner and I felt compelled to help ease Thunder’s passing, so we called our vet, Don, a practical, no-nonsense fellow.

    On a sunny autumn afternoon, as I sat caressing Thunder in the garden, Don arrived. He took out his stethoscope, knelt down beside Thunder, gently gave him his final shot, and listened to his heart. The very instant when Thunder’s life left his body, all thirty of our wolves began a long, low, mournful howling. They had no way of seeing or hearing what was going on, yet somehow they knew. Don, still on his knees, turned pale and murmured, “That’s eerie.”

    He stood up, urgently looking around for some realistic explanation. He asked if the wolves were being fed or if someone was driving up and repeated, “That’s eerie . . . the timing.” The wolves’ howling was so unexpected and so clear that it reached the depths of him. The wolves were responding to Thunder’s passing, and Don will never be the same.

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