The Alpha Dog and the Lone Wolf: An Allegory

The Lone Wolf, while exploring the landscape, comes across the Alpha Dog who has recently been deeply wounded and is alone and howling for attention. The Lone Wolf, who instinctively runs alone, approaches the Alpha Dog with caution. There is the usual circling and sniffing and eventually the two begin to tentatively run together. The Lone Wolf goes away for brief stretches but the Alpha pursues him and draws him back in. The Lone Wolf’s natural instinct is to withdraw but as the two continue to run together, a kindred bond develops. The Alpha begins to get stronger and starts to regain his confidence and, with it, his sense of dominance. The Lone Wolf does not challenge the Alpha’s natural dominance. Nor does he succumb to it. The two run together as equals. Occasionally one or the other might bare his teeth, growl, and resist, but for the most part each finds a mutual trust and respect for the other.

As his strength returns, Alpha’s pack begins to slowly reassemble. The Lone Wolf cautiously comes into the edges of Alpha’s pack while still maintaining his distance and independence. The Wolf wants to run with the Alpha Dog but he doesn’t totally trust the pack mentality. The Alpha begins to more aggressively try to assert dominance over the Wolf to maintain his standing in the pack. Most of Alpha’s pack accept Wolf into the group but a few of the weaker ones begin to feel threatened by him. The Wolf runs alongside the Alpha without challenge but the Wolf is strong and Alpha begins to feel challenged nonetheless.

The Alpha and the Wolf continue to circle and sniff at each other. Occasionally they run in peace and freedom and occasionally the Alpha, feeling that his autonomy is threatened, snaps at the Wolf and drives him away. But their paths continue to cross and the chase continues. On occasion, the Wolf is wandering alone and he senses that the Alpha is observing him from the distance. Warily, he begins to ease back in the Alpha’s direction and the Alpha takes him in, only to bare his teeth and drive him away again. This pattern, established, continues. The bond that has been established is strong but the challenges to the natural tendencies of each of the animals always intrude, causing inevitable conflict. The connection is strong. The challenges, on occasion, are stronger.

The Wolf, confused, wanders. He climbs a steep mountain, reaches the peak, and tentatively begins to take steps to the other, less familiar, side. The urge to turn around for one last look is strong. But he doesn’t. He keeps walking down the mountain toward the clearing in the wilderness …

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