17 February 2016 0 Comments

Raven, my Animal Totem

Leyla and Raven 2

Years ago around 2009, I was able to do a photo-shoot with wolves at the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in Ramah, New Mexico. Pretty much, I would have to say, there was one wolf in particular who in actuality, picked me as a friend from the moment I met him.

Raven, a pure black-phased timber wolf, came into my life a year earlier at the State Fairgrounds in Albuquerque. Leyton Cougar who is the director of the sanctuary was lecturing about wolves and Raven happened to be behind him in a circular enclosure. I walked up to get a better look at Raven and he jumped up and tried to give me a lick. Leyton said Raven chose me as a friend and from that moment on I felt an instant bond with a most magnificent animal.

I became friends with Leyton as time passed; eventually both Raven and Leyton came over to my home to visit. Raven loved to see what I was cooking up in the kitchen. I quickly found out anything left on the counter was fair game as far as Raven was concerned. A stick of butter was the first casualty of Raven’s appetite. After that, there were pieces of chicken found around the house, not eaten because Raven tried to bury them in the carpet but to no avail. The house smelt like chicken for quite awhile after Raven left.

Raven and Leyla 1

Months later, I asked Leyton if he would allow me to do a photo-shoot for my dance portfolio with Raven. Luck shined on me that day because Leyton said yes. I have wonderful photos of the memorable photo-shoot day. Even though Raven has now gone to the happy hunting ground, I will always remember him as my animal totem, my friend and connection to what’s really important, being in the present and enjoying the unexpected day’s adventures.

I also had photos taken with another wolf named Forest on the same day, who is now the Ambassador for the sanctuary, taking over the position from Raven. The gift of their companionship that day will always stay with me.
Think of your Animal Totem and the connection you have with them and mother earth. It’s the best way to feel one with nature and the earth.

Forest giveing Leyla a Kiss

Photography by Michael L. Miller


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