October 9:  Yukon Cornelius takes a Werewolf to Pup Obedience Training

We are frightened to lean too far into wildness. Get embarrassed. Cause a scandal. Or, like tonight, become Leonard on top of a heifer, ripping it to pieces.

I waited for him on the other side of the electric fence. Afterwards, he held his face in his bloody werewolf hands and sat in the pasture. “You were supposed to be here to stop me!” I tried to comfort him. I told him, “I know some people who are exploring their animal sides in a safe space. You don’t have other people and you don’t have a safe space. I think those are crucial for you to live a happy balanced life as a werewolf.”  

“But I don’t want to be a werewolf at all,” he said. I told him it would be okay.

After he cleaned all the blood off, I drove this big guy to an old home bought by the local LGBT chapter and two leather groups, and there I introduced him to Pup Obedience Training. He was behind a door, so he didn’t shock anyone at first. In the room, about twelve human pups chased a ball, wrestled each other, or sat contentedly at their handler’s side. “These people are just playing like dogs.” No, I told him. They are forgetting that they are human for a moment. A pup is in “pupspace” for hours and they are free to leave behind human worries. He thought that sounded strange when all he wanted to do was be human now. “They explore a headspace so often that they can switch back and forth and control it better. You have to get a ‘wolfspace’ happening when you are human, so that when you are forced to be the wolf, you’re in control.” Think of it like a fire drill, I told him. You practice it enough and during the fire, you don’t have to be controlled by the fire. “Most of these pups just want the mental freedom to be a dog and play when they want to.” He nodded and agreed to try it for a month. “As a rancher, I can’t keep eating my own herd.”  

I encouraged him to meet everyone tonight. Very slowly, we opened the door and he inched into the light. Everyone turned and looked at Leonard, the giant werewolf, and….the pups bounded over to investigate, followed by appreciative handlers. He was surrounded by encouragement and admiration. They probably thought he was a furry in a very expensive fursuit, but you know, no one ran from him. “You’ll need a collar and a harness and a pup name,” I told him. He hugged me. “I’m sorry if I expected you to save me. I’m so needy,” he said. I told him being needy isn’t a bad thing; it lets someone know how to help. “It’s a positive thing?” he asked.  And that’s how a werewolf became a pup named Needy.

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