By Amy J. Tyler, D.V.M.
Recently, I wrote a Foreword for a beautiful new book, Wild Dogs of the World (Amazon.com). The science writer, Barbara Cox, describes each of the eight species of wild dogs in the world in detail. The text is accompanied by many color photographs showing how the dogs live their lives—the coyotes of North America, dingo dogs of Australia, painted dogs and jackals of Africa, dholes of India, bush dogs and maned wolves of South America, raccoon dogs of Asia, and singing dogs of Papua New Guinea. Wild Dogs of the World describes the survival secrets of all these wild dogs.
Surrounded by houses, computers, and cell phones, we seldom realize that there’s a whole world of wild animals in which we coexist. All around us, these animals carry on their secret lives. If we’re lucky, we sometimes catch a glimpse of them. When I was a kid, I used to devour books like Wild Dogs of the World to learn about these diverse and complicated creatures.
Now I am a wildlife veterinarian, and I have the privilege of working with these animals on a regular basis. A few years ago, a wolf pup was brought to the wildlife rehab center where I work. I drove her across the Midwest to a sanctuary in Colorado. For the three days I had her, I was able to see first-hand how intelligent and precocious these wild dogs are at such a young age. Domestic puppies seem like just goofy cousins to the wolf.
Most of us have dogs as companions and family members. Imagine removing all those tens of thousands of years of domestication and scattering them across the world. Wild dogs have evolved and adapted to prairies, savannas, and forests. The collection of dogs ranges from the short stubby raccoon dog of Asia to the tall, slender and graceful maned wolf of South America. There is a diversity and beauty only nature can provide.
My favorite childhood books have remained with me all these years. I remember them vividly. Opening the pages still makes me feel as though I am going on my own personal safari to see and learn about the animals I will always love. I hope you enjoy your journey with these special dogs on the pages of Wild Dogs of the World.