My AngelWolf in the Face of Loss

By Jay Stoeckl, Chief Assistant to the Assistant, Assistant Breeder, April 15, 2024
Jay and his Angel Wolf Yeti 2024.jpg
Jay and his Wolf Angel Yeti

On the morning of April 11th, I lost my mother.

She was 87 years young and succumbed to complications brought on from cancer. A terrible loss as she was among the best mothers to a family of seven.

I write this letter to you not to seek sympathies, but to express how Yeti was my Angelwolf when my grief overwhelmed me.

Many of you have heard it.

Yeti is very intuitive.

She knows how to be near me when I am down.

So, how was she on the trip?  And why do I refer to her as my Angelwolf?

A few of you may have read my fantasy book, Pursuit of the Keepers. I gave the dog heroine in the story the name Angelou intentionally. Angelou is only one letter short from the French Angeloup, which means angel wolf.

And I write this to express that Yeti is among MANY angelwolfs within the Dire Wolf Project. She is probably just as special to me as your angelwolf is to you.

If you own one of our dogs, you know what I’m talking about.

They know when you are sad. They know when you are having a bad day. A lick of a tongue. Nosing your hand. Leaning of their furry, warm body up against you.

Your dog is your angelwolf, a manifestation of a guardian angel who watches over you. They would throw themselves in front of a train if it meant saving your life. They would keep you safe should a criminal approach.

To your angelwolf, you are everything.

Before departing on this trip, I knew my mother’s health was declining.

I had a long phone conversation with my sister, Jeanne, before I left.

She and her husband Bill had been our mother’s primary caregivers during her six months of hospice care.

“If I depart on this trip,” I explained to Jeanne, “I might not be able to come home in time for her death.”

Jeanne understood.

We both felt it would be okay.

I had important puppies to deliver.  

Bringing tail-wagging joy to others is an important part of my life.

Jeanne and I both understood that there was a fair chance we would lose our mother while I was driving.

And, it was because of this that I took Yeti with me.

The news came while I was about to depart my night stop in northern Iowa. A few more days and I might have made it home in time.

During the whole trip, Yeti had two choices where to ride. She could remain on the sleeping cot that stretched behind the driver’s seat or she could occupy the seat next to me.

Most of the trip, Yeti took to the cot. That was her space day and night. That day, she rode on the front seat next to me.


With her snowy white coat, I refer to her as MY SNOW ANGELWOLF.

Just like Angelou in my Jacob Lake trilogy, Yeti is very intuitive. But she is no different than that amazing American Dirus dog you may have lying at your feet as I write this.

Yeti on her sleeping cot just before a day of travel.

She was my comfort during a very sad time.

I was awful glad she was with me.

Her snuggling up against my legs at night meant I would not be alone.

I love everything about this amazing girl!

She leaves nothing to be desired.

I hope that you will look into the eyes of your angelwolf today and tell them how much you love them.

Give them a special treat for me.

Pat their soft, furry head.

Take them for an extra long walk today.

And if you don’t have your angelwolf yet, perhaps the time is coming soon.

You can see five budding angelwolves from the Luck of the Irish litter as they begin to form their sweet personalities.

We present each one to you individually in our newest YouTube video.

Here’s the link to see them:

Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.