A Belarusian family from the village of Zacherevye, 250 kilometers north of Minsk, is raising an entire pack of wolves as pets. It’s been five years since the Selekhs took in a group of young wild wolves, and they’ve got the beasts completely domesticated now. In fact, the pet wolves’ behavior is quite opposite to what people normally expect from them.
Wolves are supposed to be instinctively wild, and follow a strict code of hierarchy within the pack – they are led by an alpha couple. But the Selekh wolves display none of these characteristics. They are quite a joyful lot instead, playing games and entertaining 10-year-old Alisa Selekh. They even take turns giving the girl piggyback rides through the Selekhs’ front garden.
These wolves also do not display an appetite for human flesh – Alisa can roll around with them and share kisses with them without fear of getting bitten by their razor-sharp fangs. Their unique relationship began in 2009 when Alisa’s father Oleg, the local gamekeeper, brought the young wolves home.
Oleg was on one of his usual treks through the forest, when his dog, Silva, found four orphaned wolf cubs. Their parents had been shot by hunters, and the adorable balls of fur, couldn’t hope to survive the harsh winter on their own. So he took them all home, built a special enclosure and brought them up as pets.
Over the years, the Selekh wolves have become popular with the local villagers, who often gather to watch Alisa play with the pack.
The Selekh’s story is a heartwarming one, but animal experts warn that domesticated wolves can be even more dangerous than wild ones. That’s because wild wolves are naturally afraid of humans and tend to flee, but domesticated wolves lose this natural fear, making them the bigger threat.