Part Wild is the unforgettable story of Ceiridwen Terrill’s journey with a creature whose heart is divided between her bond to one woman and her need to roam free. When Terrill adopts a wolfdog— part husky, part gray wolf—named Inyo to be her protector and fellow traveler, she is drawn to Inyo’s spark of wildness; compelled by the great responsibility, even danger, that accompanies the allure of the wild; and transformed by the extraordinary love she shares with Inyo, who teaches Terrill how to carve out a place for herself in the world.
Over almost four years, Terrill and Inyo’s adventures veer between hilarious and heartbreaking. There are peaceful weekends spent hiking in snowy foothills, mirthful romps through dirty laundry, joyful adoptions of dog companions, and clashes brought on by the stress of caring for Inyo, insatiable without the stimulation of a life lived outdoors. Forced to move and accommodate the complaints of fearful neighbors and the desires of her space-craving wolfdog, Terrill must confront the reality of what she has done by trying to tame a part-wild animal.
Driven to understand the differences between dogs and wolves, Terrill spent five years interviewing genetics experts, wolf biologists, dog trainers, and wolf rescuers in the United States, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, and Russia. The fascinating results of her investigation make Part Wild as informative as it is moving.
A gifted writer able to capture the grace and power of the natural world, the complexity of scientific ideas, and the pulse of the human experience, Terrill has written a bittersweet memoir of the beauty and tragedy that come from living with a measure of wildness.
The natural world inspires, but attempts to contain its wildness can have dangerous implications. This is the lesson environmental journalist and self-admitted "control freak" Terrill (Unnatural Landscapes) learns in her candid memoir of the healing and strength she sought in a "wolfdog," a creature 12.5 % Siberian husky and 87.5% wolf. After escaping an abusive relationship, Terrill adopts Inyo, a wolfdog pup, hoping that the hybrid's fierce independence would rub off on her. At the same time, she finds a new sense of security in her climbing partner and new boyfriend, Ryan. However, neither relationship turns out to be as stable as she'd imagined: Inyo devotes her days to leaping over, chewing through, or unlatching any barrier Terrill puts in her way, destroying the apartment, terrorizing neighbors, and repeatedly ending up in the pound. Meanwhile, financial troubles and the strain of caring for a difficult animal wear on Terrill's marriage. As the author tries everything from obedience classes to electrified enclosures to restrain Inyo, she also makes an effort to understand her wild wolfdog, exploring the science behind the biology, psychology, and evolution of dogs and wolves. Although Terrill's bouts of self-deprecation can grow frustrating, her growth feels sincere and the power of her storytelling and commitment wins out.