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Speaking of leading the pack, this, as all my others, is a true story. When I was about eight, my family took an extended vacation at a remote resort in the mountains of Russia. Since we were basically in the wild, we were warned about wild mountain dogs. Along with verbal warnings, there were ominous signs all over the resort serving as a reminder of the potential dangers of walking into the woods.
One day, while playing outside, my new friends and I caught a glimpse of the pack. They looked like a bunch of mutts, different half-breeds, different sizes, colors, ages, and definitely wild. There was even a puppy or two in the mix. I was mesmerized, completely enamored, and as the other kids quickly dispersed with fear, I stood there watching, wanting to get closer, but didn't.
That night, I couldn't sleep, my mind consumed by them. What did their fur feel like? Were they cold? Were they hungry? The next day my thoughts were still racing, and I could think of nothing else. Later, in the cafeteria, while I uninterestedly picked at my food, a brilliant idea washed over me. When my parents weren't looking, I wrapped all the leftover meat I could get my hands on in napkins, stuffed my pockets and marched back to the same spot.
It was empty, and I stood aimlessly for a while, hoping they would make an appearance. When nothing happened, I took extreme measures and began howling like a wolf. I couldn't believe it worked when I saw the pack make its way out of the woods and gallop straight toward me. I felt fear and perhaps regret for just a moment, but told myself to stay calm and still.
They soon surrounded me, sniffing me from every direction, concentrating on my pockets where I kept the napkin wrapped meat. I slowly placed the scraps on the grass and watched them all share the food while the biggest dog just observed. After their meal, the big one approached and licked my hand, then they all licked my hands and let me pet their rough, matted fur.
A spell was broken that day, and the barrier between the resort and the dogs was nonexistent from that point forward. First I brought the kids, and then the reluctant adult followed. By the time our vacation ended, the dogs had become a part of the resort and were regularly fed and welcomed on the property. The signs were taken down, and instead of talking about the dangerous dogs, the whispers around the halls were replaced by the story of the little girl who befriended a pack of wild dogs.
Sometimes, or perhaps always, it pays to follow your instincts, listen to your gut and be fearless.