Guests visiting Rami Al-Sarhan’s home in Al-Jouf are understandably concerned when he asks if they would like to stroke the family pets.
These “pets” are not Tiddles the cat and Fido the dog — they are seven fully grown adult wolves.
The normally ferocious creatures make ideal domestic companions, Rami, 30, assured Arab News. And he has no fears for the safety of his young children, aged 8, 6, 4 and 3.
“The wolves literally live with us in the same home,” he said. “They eat with us and follow us when we go to the farm, and even sit with us in the same room when we have guests over.
“They have grown accustomed to our life and do not attack anyone who sits with us, even if they are a stranger.”
His friendship with wolves started about 11 years ago when an uncle started taking them into his home. Rami began studying them and their behavior, which he can now predict with considerable accuracy. The wolves are friendly and pose no danger to humans if handled properly with the correct precautions, he said.
Although they are wild animals, wolves can adapt to a domestic environment and one of the best ways to gain their trust was to share food and eat with them, Rami said.
However, he is careful not to feed them raw meat, and he keeps his distance from the wolves during the winter mating season, which can last for two weeks.
Food should be given to wolves without getting too close or interacting directly with them, Rami said. “They are naturally ferocious but can be hostile and defensive if someone gets close to them. A wolf eats its prey but gets defensive if it gets attacked.”
Rami is also dismissive of the many superstitions that surround the animals, such as the one about wolves eating jinn. “What is funny is that many people come to me and ask me to give them strands of wolf hair so they can put it on the body of a ‘jinn-haunted’ person for healing” he said. “These are superstitions and do not make any sense.”
However tame a wolf might appear, Rami said, people should always remain cautious around them, study their every move, and avoid doing anything to scare them.
“Most importantly, show your respect to wolves and let them know that you recognize and respect them in order to be friends with you.”
Despite his assurances, if Rami ever invites you to his home “for dinner,” it might be as well to seek confirmation: “Am I eating … or am I the first course?”