How We Use the Animals to Inspire Youth
“The power of co-evolutionary bonding”
The biggest challenge for any person or program working with young people is to be able to engage their attention in order to get the content across. Our animals achieve this very easily as event participants become mesmerized at the mere sight of them.
In addition, researchers Wolfgang Schleigdt and Michael Shalter, among others, date our first associations with wolves at 100 to 135,000 years ago making it the first recorded collaboration between men and animals. In their work, Co-evolution of Humans and Canids, an alternative view to domestication: Homo Homini Lupus, they suggest that humans and wolves have been not only collaborating, but also bonding and co-evolving from the time of our predecessors, the Neanderthals. They even go so far as to proposing that we have inherited some of the basic features and behaviors that make us humans not from the chimpanzees, but from the wolves. According to them, we owe them, among other things, the concept of a dwelling, the know-how and ability to herd, and the sense of loyalty and care of family.
This initial bonding with the wolves has evolved over the millennia until the wolf became venerated and regarded as a magical spiritual animal and a teacher by ancient cultures around the world. This veneration, widely lost over the last few centuries, reflects a sacred bond that, according to Robert McGhee, Curator of Archaeology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, is at our DNA level.
Volumes have been written on the many benefits of animal-assisted therapy. At Wolf Connection we go even further by tapping into this ancient bond between wolves and humans in order to reach and engage young men and women at a much deeper level.