Wolf Versus Pug: Encounters with a Juneau Legend As she trains for February's human-powered Iditarod, Jill Homer is encountering some interesting critters. Among the most impressive is a wolf named Romeo, a legendary loner of Juneau, Alaska. Romeo lives near a lake outside of town, and he likes to approach people and their dogs. He seems friendly — mostly.
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Wolf Versus Pug: Encounters with a Juneau Legend

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Wolf Versus Pug: Encounters with a Juneau Legend

Wolf Versus Pug: Encounters with a Juneau Legend

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Okay. So for the last few days, our Web editor guru mistress, mistress of the Web, Laura Conaway, has been showing this picture to people and they keep saying, whoa.

Okay. So, Laura, what's all this about? What's happening on the blog?

LAURA CONAWAY: Well, I have this picture, Rachel. Oh, there's the music.

MARTIN: I know.


MARTIN: I can't talk with you unless there's our theme music.

CONAWAY: Thank you.

Thank you. Yeah, I have this picture, and I'm going to get to that in just a second. But we have actually a piece of news today, which is that the Fed has just dropped the interest rate three quarters of a percent. And we're going to have a little bit more about that in the newscast.

But as part of our ongoing experiment with Twitter.com, we actually brought news today over Twitter.com.


CONAWAY: Yep, you can check us out. Our Twitter feed is twitter.com/bpp. Just go…

MARTIN: Okay. I'm going to check it out there, right, you know.

CONAWAY: And just see if you can - see if you can figure out…

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: (Unintelligible).

CONAWAY: It's a wonderful thing, actually. Today, on the blog, we think we have some more Sundance videos coming just as soon as those guys warm up and find some Wi-Fi. I think they're going to be sending us some all kinds of cool interviews. We've got a slideshow coming from Caitlin Kenney about that guys' political memorabilia, which is just totally amazing.

And meanwhile, the Twitter, I guess I'd - you know, about Twitter, I would just say that since we launched it and went publicly about a couple of weeks ago, we've been just having these cool conversations with people all over the country in a way that I never, as a journalist, have experienced before. It's completely new.

One of the cool things that's happening is people have been sending us these snow pictures from places like Virginia and Massachusetts and - I mean, I love it. But it's driving us crazy in New York because New York has turned in some kind of no-snow zone.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAWAY: It's just - it's freezing here or it's warm.

MARTIN: I know.

CONAWAY: But it's never snowy.

MARTIN: I know. I kind of like that. I prefer it. I'm over with the snow, frankly.

CONAWAY: Yeah. All right.

MARTIN: It's one of my 2008 resolutions over snow.

CONAWAY: Over snow.

MARTIN: I'm never going there again.

CONAWAY: Yeah. All right. Well, I miss big winter. I lived in Maine for many years and I missed the feeling of just being drunk with snow. So I've been…

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAWAY: I've been following this quite serious snow cyclist named Jill Homer. She's training to bike the human-powered Iditarod next month in Alaska. And one of the things about this kind of race, it's 350 miles, it's across the Alaska range and out onto the great frozen flats. The thing about this kind of race is that you could die doing it. You know, you're out there.

MARTIN: Wait. I know, I just don't - she is unbelievable. I don't understand what she keep - what keeps motivating her.

CONAWAY: Well, you know, one of the things that motivate these people is the chance to wrestle with fear. She dug up these clips from an old documentary about precursor to this race called the "Iditabike" in 1988. And I just want you to hear from one of the contestants, it's a little bit long. But listen to that swooshing sound. That's the sound of his bike tires going along in the night.

(Soundbite of documentary film "Iditabike")

Unidentified Man: You feel very, very mortal when you're out there because you realize you don't see anything. You know you're out in the Alaskan wilderness -this huge, huge, huge, vast expanse around you. You're at night so your imagination plays a lot of games with you, and you fear coming across moose or wolves. And all you see is this little spot of light that's coming off from your forehead, your lamp. You realize that you're a lot closer to death. So being close to death, you realize that you are alive.

CONAWAY: So this thing about the moose and the wolves in the dark, it's actually real. Jill Homer has been having her own encounters with wolves. There's this one wolf named Romeo, who's kind of an honorary resident of Juneau. I twitter his picture just before I came in here. If you guys want to look him at home, twitter.com/bpp, you'll see it.

And here's Jill, she keeps running into him outside Mendenhall Lake. She told me about that this week.

Ms. JILL HOMER (Snow Cyclist): The other day when I was out riding on the lake, he was out there trying to approach a group of - or a couple of skiers who had a dog. And I was just kind of right there beside them when he came out of the woods and started walking towards them. And that initial reaction is, oh, there's a big, black wolf approaching me and it definitely like raises your heart rate. You know, seeing him off in the distance near a golden retriever, he was definitely a lot bigger than a golden retriever. To me, he's a big, healthy wolf. I'd probably put him around, you know, maybe figure than a malamute. He's bigger than some of the bigger dogs I know of, but you know, he's not as big as a St. Bernard, obviously.

MARTIN: Okay. So I want to see.

CONAWAY: Can you see it? Hit that link there.

MARTIN: I'm going to open it now. Oh, my gosh.

CONAWAY: He's still pretty big, this Romeo thing. And the picture, it's up on Twitter now. He…

MARTIN: She saw this. She took this picture?

CONAWAY: No. Someone took this picture. This has been sort of making the rounds, in around Juneau, where all this is happening.


CONAWAY: Romeo took to grabbing small dogs, actually. He comes out in the ice and he plays with some dogs.

MARTIN: Is that what that is?

CONAWAY: That's pug. Yeah. He grabbed a peagle(ph), a beagle and a pug, and he dropped those ones. That's a pug you see here. He also grabbed a Pomeranian. Anyway, so we're going to put up the slideshow. It's an epic wildlife battle.


CONAWAY: Check it out.

MARTIN: …BPP Web editor Laura Conaway. Stay with us. This is THE BPP from NPR.

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