By Mikayla Schramm (written when she was 11 years old)

     My name is Kayla and I'm eleven years old. I'm part Chiricahua Apache and this is my story about how I recaptured an adult male Canadian Timber Wolf and earned my Rite of Passage to become a woman. My Mom had never been to the wolf sanctuary in Texas since it had been moved, but I had. On the way there, I knew something big was going to happen that day. I didn't know what, but I knew it was going to be something big.

     When we got to the sanctuary, I wanted to walk a young wolf on a leash and I was watching the gate of the enclosure while a lady tried to get the young wolf out for me. All of a sudden and without warning, an adult male wolf jumped over my head, pushing the gate open and he leaped out of the enclosure. I tried my best to hold the gate closed but it all happened in a split second and he was out!

     I grabbed the loose wolf but I was unable to hold him. My fingers slipped from his neck down to his back. I tried my best to get a hold of his back but I lost my grip and I lunged for his tail but I missed it, too. I started running after him, but when I glanced back I saw the lady struggling with the gate to keep the other two wolves in the enclosure. So, I ran back thinking that one wolf loose was enough. When the gate was secure, I continued to chase after the loose wolf.

     He went behind a tall fence that wasn't completed and headed into the woods. Oh, God, I let a wolf out. How could I? I've got to catch him. I ran after him down a path in the woods and I thought I needed to pace myself if I'm going to catch him. Hopefully, he wouldn't pace himself and I would be able to put on an extra burst of speed and catch him. The wolf kept glancing back at me.

     I thought he was a wolf named Yukon so I yelled, "Yukon, come, Yukon!" I thought calling him might distract him and kind of slow him down. Then I realized that he couldn't be Yukon because he was in a different enclosure. I couldn't call him Wolf and I knew he had a name, I just didn't know it. But, I thought that hearing a different name might distract him but it really didn't distract him much at all.

He turned to the right and stood behind a log not paying any attention to me.

     He was sniffing around with his nose to the ground. I thought that was my chance and I was going to get him. I jumped on him and grabbed him and I got on top of him as best I could. I put as much of my body over him as I could so it would be easier to put the collar on him. I tried to get the collar on him but I only got it partly on his nose because he opened his mouth and was thrashing his head around. He definitely did not want the collar on. Then he jerked away from me and ran off the path into the woods. I ran after him and I saw him go back onto a path and he kept looking back at me. Then he went to the left back into the woods and I lost sight of him.

     I was breathing real hard at this point so I couldn't listen. Even when I held my breath, I could hear my heart pounding really loud. Then, I saw a white thing bobbing up and down and I realized it was his tail so I ran after him through the bushes and we came to a sort-of clearing. I could barely hear cars in the distance. Oh, this is all my fault.

     I yelled, "Yukon! Yukon, come!" The wolf ran out onto a sandy road. There was an RV and he ran to the side of it. I thought about going to the person in the RV for help but if they found out he was a wolf they would probably shoot him and I couldn't deal with that. I ran to block him off and I saw a dog out in the driveway. The wolf ran toward the dog in a hunkered down position and I yelled, "Yukon, No!" I didn't want him to hurt the dog but the dog ran to the front of the RV and stopped. And, the wolf stopped.

     I saw the door to the RV open and I thought, Oh, God. He's going to see the wolf, grab his gun and shoot him. Then the door just shut. The wolf went around and hiked his leg on some of the trees. I got around the trees and tried to get in front of him so I could catch him. Then the wolf trotted to the water and the dog followed closely behind him.

     I knew that some dogs would come to you when you cry so I thought maybe, the wolf would do the same. So, I acted like I was crying but then, I really started to cry. How could I have let him out? The wolf stopped and looked at me and I thought for a second it might work but then, he raced off to the little pond. Even though I know wolves, I was amazed how much ground he could cover so quickly.

     I raced after both of them and I got to the little pond just in time to see the wolf leap into the water. I ran straight through a ravine towards him. He swam around looking at me while I tried to run beside him on the bank. He was swimming away from me and trying to get out. I thought, If I get in front of him, maybe I can catch him when he gets out.

     I kept running around on the shore. I could have jumped in and swam after him but I couldn't catch him in the water. The water would have weighed my clothes down and it would have been much harder to follow him. I decided not to get in the water with him. I was going to get him when he tried to get out and maybe he would be weighed down with water. He found a place to get out and he lunged away from me. I grabbed hold of his back but he was so wet that my hands slipped off him and released their hold.

     He took off, and so did I, down a bigger sandy road and he went off to my right into the woods. I lost sight of him and I stopped dead in my tracks to listen for him. I heard a rustling in the bushes to my right and in front. Then, the dog and the wolf bounded out of there and trotted to the big pond and the wolf jumped in and started swimming around.

     While they were going to the big pond I stood still for a second and I felt Dakota and other Spirit Wolves come and comfort me. I said out loud, "Great Mystery, please help me catch this wolf. I need help. God, please help me catch this wolf. I need help. Help me."

     One part of the big pond had thick brambles so I ran behind them. I stopped. I was standing on the side of a ravine. I just stopped and went blank. I kind of drifted off. It was strange. I didn't know what to do so I just stood there. I was thinking, I should be chasing the wolf instead of drifting off like this. I stared down at the water and watched these little things floating in it. I just knew I had at least one cut on one of my legs and I thought there were diseases in the water. And finally, I realized what I was supposed to be doing and I ran through the water in the ravine and took out after the wolf. I started crying but I didn't know why. I thought, If crying would help it would be good to cry but crying is not going to help now. Why am I crying?

     Maybe I could catch the wolf when he got out of the big pond. It was deeper on one part of the pond because he was a few feet from the bank but his body was staying the same level in the water. He swam real close to me and I looked at him and he looked at me and I thought about jumping on him. Should I jump on him now? If I jumped on him, one of us might drown. Or, we both might drown.

     He ran out of the water and ran around a sand hill and went to the backside of the hill and vanished into the woods. When I reached the sand hill I said softly to myself, "I know I have a strong will but I need more physical strength." I ran on top of the sand hill and I slowly walked to the back of it. While I walked I thought, If I can't catch this wolf I'm never going to be able to go home. My Mom's going to hate me. I was about half way down the sand hill and the wolf ran over it, right behind me! He came within a couple of yards of me. Then he ran around the pond to the far side and went off towards the paved road. Oh, no.

     He ran to the edge of the paved road, which was a highway, and stopped. Oh, no, he's going to cross the highway. He looked like he was about to cross and a car came zooming by. It shook him up a bit because he jerked backwards. Oh, good. He doesn't like cars. He's not going to cross the road. 

     He ran back to the big pond, got in and swam towards me. When he got out, I stuck out the collar for his head to slip through. Maybe I can finally catch him this way. All he does is jets by me and hits my hand and he never even slowed down. When he hit my hand, I thought it might be broken and I'll never catch him with a broken hand but the pain went away. I started to cry because this is all my fault and I've got to catch the wolf. I've got to catch him.

     I walked behind some brambles and found a nice place where the bank was smooth. I dropped the leash and I cupped my hands, dipped them in the water and splashed the cool water on my hot face. I knew if I had a heatstroke, I definitely couldn't help the wolf. I picked up the leash and resumed the chase.

     The wolf ran off to the highway and went down the right side of the ditch until there were no cars coming. Then he trotted across to find a barking German Shepherd behind a fence and the dog was in hot pursuit of the wolf. At least two cars went by and then I followed them.

     The wolf and the dog trotted up to the fence and the German Shepherd ran to the house. I noticed that it looked like the gate to the fence was broken and I yelled, "Yukon, no, Yukon, come!" I didn't want him to go in the fence with the German Shepherd because I was afraid of what could happen. The wolf came over to me and sniffed the ground but he was across the ditch and I couldn't reach him. I was looking for a way to pounce on the wolf. Then, the wolf ran back across the highway and the dog almost got hit by a car when he crossed the road. I had to wait for one car to pass and then I crossed the road. The wolf ran back to the area of the RV and sniffed around, then I chased him to the big pond.

     He jumped in the big pond and swam around looking at me while I chased him on the bank. He leaped out of the water and came straight towards me. When he saw I had the leash he said, no way, and tried to run away. I lunged for him and succeeded in grabbing his neck. I hung on for dear life because I was not going to let him go. Then, I slipped the collar over his head and down his neck and I tightened it. YES! I got him! I GOT HIM! I GOT HIM! And this time, he was NOT getting away.

     The dog kept bothering the wolf but before he seemed to be helping me to get the wolf, and now I can't get rid of the dog. The dog is trying to dominate the wolf and the wolf didn't like it and I was running out of strength. I was hitting and hitting at the dog to get him away from the wolf. I accidentally hit the wolf on the nose with the leash and the wolf put his ears back and cowered down. Oh, I felt so bad for hitting him. I didn't know what his background was but I knew all of the wolves at the sanctuary have had hard times. I told the wolf, "I'm so sorry" in a sweet voice and then the dog would come back and I would yell at the dog, "No, bad dog!" in a mean voice and the wolf would cower. The wolf and the dog got my messages mixed up. The wolf thought I was talking bad to him and the dog thought I was talking nice to him!

     The wolf and I walked to a ditch with a silt kind of mud in it. It was very, very slippery. I started to slip in the silt and I went ahead and sat down. I knew I would have fewer scrapes if I were in a sitting position instead of face down in the mud so I prepared myself to be dragged like a sled. The wolf decided not to pull me and I was able to get up and walk. I didn't know what to do or which way to go. I wondered, Should I stay where I was? I'm lost in the woods and I don't even care. I HAVE THE WOLF!

     I heard someone call my name. I looked up and I saw my Mom and another lady! I yelled and swung my arms around, "I got him! I got him!" I walked with the wolf up to meet them. They were amazed that neither one of us had a single scratch or scrape. I handed the wolf over to the lady and they told me which wolf I had caught and his name was Micante. I was so glad it was over and that the wolf was safe. The lady walked away with the wolf and I walked with my Mom. I wondered, What is everyone going to think of me now? But, I knew my Mom was very proud of me.

     That was my test of courage and faith and it had made me stronger. It is my Rite of Passage and it had been earned by me. It didn't mean that I wasn't afraid or that I didn't experience fear. It means that instead of giving in to fear, I faced it and did what I had to do in spite of being afraid.

     When the Spirit Wolves came to me, they helped me remember that I wasn't alone and that I could catch that wolf by myself and I did it. I am truly blessed.

     I earned my rightful place as a Warrior Woman.

     I am now and forever more ... a Warrior Woman.

     August 19, 1999 Lived, Written, Edited and Copyrighted by Mikayla Schramm

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