A few years ago, my husband and I heard about a fine restaurant out in the country in a vineyard. The winery it supported was in Raleigh, but this vineyard restaurant was touted as having exotic meats such as bison and elk, as well as the best beef and wild salmon. We decided to give it a try.

After a beautiful drive through green farmland, we arrived at the log structure that was nestled among the vines, heavily laden with tight bunches of fruit. Across a long porch and through the two story entrance, we found ourselves looking up at two full body mounts of enormous wolves. They were so life like, it took us a moment to realize that they were not going to pounce upon us.

My husband, intrigued, asked our waitress where they were killed and who had been the hunter to snag these giant beasts. Her reaction- part shock, part nervous anxiety- cautioned us about saying anything else about hunting wolves.

These beautiful creatures were the beloved pets of the restaurant owner, after whom it was named after: The Wolf’s Lair!

Having lived long and healthy lives, he couldn’t bear not seeing them again and chose taxidermy to keep them forever present.

Oops!

The food was wonderful, the atmosphere delightful, and the wine was elegant. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to survive in the shrinking economy and had to close.

A recent article that I read, written by Ruth Rudner, caused me to remember this near faux pas. She had also found herself among those of an opposite mind set where wolves were concerned, and felt constrained in the cafe to talk about something besides wolf protection while dining among ranchers.

Just as she can see both sides of the wolf lair, so can I. Ranchers’ herds need protection from the wolves and the wolves from mankind. Surely we can all survive peacefully and try to refrain from making assumptions about other peoples pets.

The pair of wolves we saw, were more like gentle sheep to the people who lived among them. And they certainly didn’t reach an old age by terrorizing the neighborhood. Next time, we’ll ask questions first and leave assumptions to others.

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