I was stationed in the picturesque desert mountains of Fort Huachuca, Arizona, during the late 1990s. A soldier in the United States Army, I had everything I needed – a loving wife, three adorable daughters, beautiful evening sunsets, and a pet wolf. As the only things constant in our existence upon this planet are changes, I now only have the three adorable daughters. They’re grown with boyfriends, careers, and children of their own. Life happens.
I had gotten the wolf as a yearling because my battle buddy couldn’t handle the stress. Abused as a pup, it was soon realized that the wolf’s learned hatred of humans was non-negotiable. I idiotically challenged him on all fours for dominance of my ‘pack’ at the instruction of a German Shephard breeder. But afterward – bleeding from multiple lacerations acquired during the fight – I became his Alpha, and he, in turn, became my best friend. I won’t burden you with the rest of the story. “Baron” remains a part of my spirit to this day, and I honor him with wolf tattoos, jewelry, wall paintings … you get the idea. Bottom line: I love wolves.
This week’s book review is on “The Hunter Chronicles: Life Lessons From Another Species” by Hunt County resident Rick Parent. The synopsis reads:
Everyone loves wolves. Always having a dog or two in the family, Rick never experienced “other animals” outside a zoo. In 1999 Rick married a true animal lover and owner of two more dogs for the family. That was the limit until synchronicity reared its head, putting Rick, his wife, and her children in a “drive-through” zoo on the first day they could sell the first of a recent wolf litter.
This book is a diary of sorts to chronicle this chance meeting. He reluctantly purchased a five-week-old baby wolf that he would name “Hunter” a week later.
These incredibly personal stories are a documentary of a rainbow of emotions as Rick and Hunter make their journey through life together. The life lessons that can be learned from this amazingly complex species are tools and a reference point for our position on the planet. The chronicles totally dispel the stereotypes about wolves and shed a humbling light on the most misunderstood species of all time. Everyone loves wolves, but Rick is blessed to have had a wolf love him.
This novel is a magnificent thrill-ride for the senses – for all ages, men and women alike! Regardless of how many books I’ve read throughout life, I don’t recall experiencing one that made me actually cry until now. Every page emits love and leaves your heart longing for more. Even if you’ve never had the pleasure of partnering with a wolf, the lessons in this book will touch you in a deep way.
Whether you’re taking a trip with Rick and Hunter as they adventure together on their ranch or you’re enduring a side-by-side health scare, every reader will learn something within its pages. The book is written in chronological journal format in order to accompany these dear friends from their fateful first meeting to the (almost) present day. Our world’s endless moments of joy and fear are experienced through the eyes of both man and wolf. As you read, you’ll eventually discover that life is interpreted similarly by the two species – regardless of our obvious differences.
I personally learned a hard truth about my own life through Rick and Hunter’s teachings – which prompted me to pause my reading, stare into nothingness for a while, and weep upon said realization; this is powerful writing.
I had the pleasure of being introduced to Rick at a local book signing event held at The Wind, The Willows Bookstore in Greenville’s Uptown Forum. Having similar interests (wolves and writing), we were both shocked by how we’d never met while only living 10 miles apart!
We continued our conversation later that evening during my monthly Hunt County Writers’ League meet-up at the Texan Theater. Rick Parent is more than a mere author. He’s a life coach in disguise. I was lucky enough to receive a chapter from Rick that is not contained in the book’s first edition but will be included in future printings. Upon reading, I cried again! (Stop judging me, seek out this man’s teachings, and read the book!)
Rick now resides outside of Commerce, where he is a rancher. He was born in Miami to a family of immigrants in 1949 but soon relocated to Washington, D.C. He spent over 40 years as a businessman in the music industry, but a heart attack forced him to “de-stress” his life. Rick now lives on a 100-acre ranch with horses, donkeys, llamas and goats. His transition from the big city life to east Texas is of little importance compared to finding his soul in the lessons learned from a wolf named Hunter, he says.
Rick is now the managing director of an arts school in Commerce, where he helps underprivileged youth learn songwriting and the fundamentals of photography. His book is available at most local bookstores or at online retailers; you can also find it at this direct link: https://amzn.to/2o8WfuJ.
Herald-Banner arts and entertainment columnist C. Derick Miller of Greenville is a dark fiction novelist, author, songwriter and poet currently on the Black Rose Writing publishing label. Visit his website (https://cderickmiller.com/) for info on his novels or to send him book review requests. His columns on local and regional authors can all be found at this direct link: http://bit.ly/2LpQhPo.