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caption: A drawing by the young wolf.
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A drawing by the young wolf.
Credit: KUOW PHOTO/Iz Ortiz

RadioActive: A young wolf shares their story

“A lot of people don’t know me as my wolf self. But that’s only because I like to keep it a secret.”

An 11-year-old shares their special connection to wolves in this creative audio piece.

[RadioActive Youth Media is KUOW's radio journalism and audio storytelling program for young people. This episode was entirely youth-produced, from the writing to the audio editing.]

Transcript

[Music]

YOUNG WOLF: Wolves usually have a partner for life unless they die, which is really sad for a wolf because they're usually connected by bond and heart and soul, so it makes me very sad when a wolf dies.

Wolves are actually afraid of humans.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, yeah?

YW: They're not vicious to humans — only when humans get in their territory. It's really sad. Hunters don’t care about that. Hunters don’t care about wolves. They just shoot 'em because they want rugs. They want everything. They want money most of all, and they just want to be known as “hunter,” which is… hunter feels like… you know, like, how some words make people uncomfortable? It makes me uncomfortable. It makes me sad. It makes me angry, too. It makes me feel like I should do something about it, and I should rise up to stop hunters.

Like, usually, I think… actually, when I’m asleep, I’m actually a wolf roaming around the house.

A lot of people don’t know me as my wolf self. But that’s only because I like to keep it a secret to close friends and stuff like that.

It just feels embarrassing saying it. I don’t know what people think of me, as like a weirdo or something like that.

I’ve known about wolves for like, four years or something like that, and then [after] three years, I decided I was a wolf.

I found out by having wolf dreams. I was a wolf. I saw this red wolf, like I saw myself in first person. Wait, is that when you see yourself?

When I saw myself, I was a red wolf — brown, a little bit — and I had green eyes. I had wolf ears, and a wolf tail and a wolf everything. I knew I was a wolf because I saw myself, and I had this weird noise I made. It was like a howl, but it was my voice.

INTERVIEWER: Can you try it?

[Young wolf howls]

YW: It was like that, and it made me feel so happy. And it made me feel like I was letting out all the stress in me. I was letting out everything.

When I howled, everything was... I don’t know how to explain. It was just… it was like, felt better. It felt like I was free.

I would fully transform into a wolf, and that would come in stages. Like stage one would be starting to have pain but not really feeling pain. Just, you know it's pain. You know what I mean? Like when you’re sad or something, you know that you feel pain, but you don’t really feel it? You feel in your heart, not physically.

Next comes legs getting shorter and me wanting to go on all fours a lot. And then the next stage is finally turning into a wolf and getting stronger jaws and teeth and paws. And then the last stage is fully wolf.

The only difference is that I like chocolate in my human form, and wolves are allergic to chocolate.

I actually eat dog treats sometimes. [Laughs] I just ate them a few times. They taste plain, but it's not terrible.

The Young Wolf’s fantasy was inspired by the animated movie Wolfwalkers, which is one of their favorites.

This RadioActive Youth Media podcast was produced in an advanced producers program for high school and college students. Production assistance and prepared for the web by Mary Heisey. Edited by Ann Kane.

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Support for KUOW's RadioActive comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center.

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