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Cheyenne's Story

by Zig Price

cheypic2.jpgWhat's so special about a wolf that so many people are attracted to her? What is the difference between this wolf and the thousands of other wolves that never have had any attention paid to them?

Before I tell you, you must know that all wolves are very skittish and shy away from us humans. They would rather run from us than confront us one on one. From the time she was a young puppy Cheyenne was raised by humans and lived in a tourist town where she was available to thousands of people. Just as the other thousands of wolves in the wild, she will shy away from you if she doesn't trust you.

If she takes a liking to you she will allow you to pet her or she will nuzzle you or she might even lick your face. If you get licked, in the world of the wolf you have just been paid a great honor and no matter if you spend a few minutes with her or stay with her all day, you will leave with a peaceful feeling in your heart.

kissn_chey When you hear the name " Wolf " the first thing you think of is the word "wild". Anything wild attracts us human beings and wolves have always been known as wild, even when in captivity. Indians from one generation to another have handed down fascinating tales of the mysterious powers of wolfs creating a mystique which adds to their attractiveness.

Since us humans are so attracted to things that are wild and mysterious it is no wonder that Cheyenne would draw so many people to her, since she is so available to the public.

Cheyenne has been featured in newspapers, magazines and on television shows. She has had poems and songs written about her and has been a model for a series of paintings called "The Four Seasons of Cheyenne". But Now! Cheyenne is lonely. She no longer lives in a big city but has moved to a small town deep in the Colorado Mountains. Away from the crowds of tourists, artists, and animal lovers, Cheyenne can only wonder why no one comes to see her any more. Why has everyone abandoned her? What did she do to deserve this loneliness? "Where have all the people gone"?

This beautiful animal of the wild has given pleasure to thousands of humans and now it's time for us to repay her. If you've met Cheyenne before, go see her again for you know the peaceful feeling you get in her presence. If you have never met her, pay her a visit and add your name to the thousands of others before you who have bonded with this beautiful but now lonely and forgotten creature of the wild.

Cheyenne's purpose in life is to be a greeter and share with you the force within the animals of our planet and only when you visit her will you understand what I mean.


This is not a story about when, how or where the picture was taken, but about the wolf herself, "Cheyenne!"

Cheyenne is a 98% hybrid wolf whose parents/owners are Mark Johnson and his late wife Cheryl, owners of an art gallery located in the mountains of Colorado. Although there are many beautiful photographs, paintings, sculptures, carvings and other hand made objects at the gallery the main attraction is Cheyenne.

Raised by the Johnson's since she was four and a half weeks old, Cheyenne, now 2½ , did much of her growing up at the gallery.

At last count over 8,000 people have visited the gallery and had some type of contact with Cheyenne. The visitors that first saw her viewed her the same as we would, a cute little puppy. But, with the added mystique of knowing she was a wolf.

As she grew older she became more mystical with the incredible sensation of just knowing you were allowed to touch this powerful she-wolf. Her large teeth and strong jaw mesmerize us mere mortals.

I say, "allowed to touch" because Cheyenne reads people very well and will only present herself to you on her own terms. If she really likes you she will lick your face. Out of the 8,000 people that have met her, only a few hundred have had their faces licked and if she dislikes or feels something bad about you, she will run from you.

Her greatest talent is her ability to feel the needs of certain individuals. Practically everyone who leaves her goes away with a warm peaceful feeling like being filled with love. But even beyond that she can sense when people have a great pain within themselves. Here is just one of the many stories Mark Johnson tells of Cheyenne's ability to comfort and heal a person's pain.

A diabetic from the East Coast lapsed into terrible self-pity following the loss of his toes to frostbite on a failed hiking attempt in the mountains. A year later, he met Cheyenne. After spending a large part of the day with her, he felt his self-pity evaporating in the wolf's presence. The man suddenly knew what he needed to do to heal his emotional wounds. He went back into the mountains and hiked that same trail that had cost him his toes the year before. He credits Cheyenne for giving him the courage to do it, Johnson says.

I'm proud to say that I'm one of the few people that have had their face kissed by Cheyenne. She has also laid up against me and playfully nipped at my clothes and hair.

Experiences like this have happened to me many times and I owe it all to being a photographer. For without photography as my catalyst, I would have missed a wonderful and fulfilling part of my life.

Cheyenne is very popular and I feel eventually she will become famous. She is heading in this direction because she's doing what she likes and does best - she makes people feel good!

If you're struggling with whatever it is you're trying to accomplish and it's what you truly enjoy doing and have a talent for, don't give up - DO IT! The important thing to remember is: You're doing what you enjoy and no matter what obstacles you encounter if you really love what you do, keep doing it and it will fulfill your life. Cheyenne's obstacle was the tendency to run from people she doesn't like, but she's always there for the ones that she loves.

As you're striving for perfection in whatever you're attempting to do but not quite reaching your goal don't give up, hang in there and keep trying. The experiences you encounter on the road to success are well worth it.

Cheyenne was featured in an issue of "Summit County Magazine".



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