a film by Rob Whitehair | a Tree & Sky Media Arts production

True Wolf is available on DVD from Amazon.


When fate intervenes, a young Montana couple gives up everything for the love of an abandoned wolf pup named Koani. But could they even live with this beast? As wolves are wild creatures who cannot be domesticated, Bruce and Pat are forced to live by Koani’s ways, not vice-versa.

True Wolf tells the captivating story of an inseparable team – a wolf named Koani, a dog named Indy, and a married couple – who eat, breathe, sleep and work together, facing dangers, sharing adventures, and forming bonds that last a lifetime.

What is it like to live with a wolf? Where do you come up with 1,200 pounds of meat each year for her? How do you walk a wolf? Bruce and Pat love Koani so much that they do things no human should do, ultimately turning part of their living room into a wolf den.

Deciding to give Koani’s life purpose, they set out across the country to take her eye to eye with the public to force people to decide for themselves if this animal is as “big and bad” as the legends suggest.

What follows is a 16-year journey that takes this unusual pack to the brink of what it means to be wild.


“True Wolf, directed by Rob Whitehair, defies death and keeps Koani alive forever as a wonderful ambassador of her species. Hats off to Weide and Tucker for sharing their story of companionship and their spiritual practices of love, reverence and openness! Their witness is needed now more than ever.”– Spirituality & Practice, Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

“Documentaries about a heartwarming companion animal are something cynical smartypants avoid, but if the animal’s a wolf, that does make things more interesting”–The New York Post, Farran Smith Nehme

“Intriguing…a fascinating conundrum that doesn’t necessarily have any easy answers”This Week in New York, 3 out of 4 stars!

“…perhaps in getting to know one wolf we might be open to more investigation and dialogue about their place in the web of life and perhaps, as a human hand enters the frame, a relationship on life’s path.”– It’s Just Movies, Bev Questad

“Riveting…Thought-provoking, moving”– The Advocate, Diane Anderson-Minshall

“The segment toward film’s end…is among the more profound and moving that I’ve seen”– TrustMovies, James van Maanen

“You won’t soon forget the ending.”– Sally Mauk, NPR

“…intelligent and touchingly written…the film is at its best when discussing the general issue of overcoming the hatred of adversaries and the prejudices that the adversaries’ children have learned from their parents.”– Mark R. Leeper, Rotten Tomatoes

True Wolf – About the film…

Bruce Weide and Pat Tucker never saw it coming.

Fate had thrown them together with a wolf. Sure, it was captive, but it was still a wolf and it was now their responsibility. Should they euthanize her as their instincts told them to? Or could they somehow create a meaningful life with this beast? Living with a wolf would certainly not be easy, in fact, they shared the same fears as society at large; the wolf is a dangerous beast that has no place around humans.

But Koani changed everything. She allowed them to see the true nature of the wolf and it literally changed Bruce and Pat’s story. It was this revelation that set this unusual pack on a path to tell a new story about wolves and challenge the age old perception of the Big Bad Wolf as well as the New Age portrayal of the wolf as a noble savage.

True Wolf: The Story of Koani and Her Unusual Pack weaves the story of Bruce and Pat’s life with Koani into the larger issue of humanity’s relationship with the wolf and wildness. Through 16 years of archival footage, supplemented by provocative interviews, stylized re-creations and stunning wolf footage, this contemporary film explores the highly polarized and contentious period before, during, and after our nation made the historic decision to return wolves to the homelands from which they’d been exterminated in the Northern Rockies.

Koani became an ambassador for her species. She had changed Bruce and Pat’s story about wolves and they hoped that she could do the same for others. So they decided to take Koani into classrooms, museums and venues across America to give people a face-to-face experience with a wolf. It was a dangerous proposition. Many things could go wrong. She was a wolf after all. The stakes were high. The wolf issue was highly contentious and one false move by Koani and her unusual pack could potentially put a black eye on wolf recovery.

Against all odds, they set forth on a journey with Koani and Indy, Koani’s dog companion, and traveled across the continent on a quest to change people’s attitude and story about the wolf. It was an odyssey that challenged their conventions and beliefs. And while they were successful beyond their wildest imagination – they would present 1,400 programs to 200,000 people – to this day they are haunted by the question, “Did we do the right thing?”

The film explores a much more personal side to the story – Bruce and Pat’s relationship with Koani. Born in captivity, Koani could only be a captive wolf. She never roamed wild nor could she be allowed to run free. For Bruce and Pat, despite all their efforts to provide for Koani’s needs, they would have to face the painful truth that they could not provide for her greatest need – to be free – and as she would prove time and time again, she was a wolf – and wolves belong in the wild.

In the end, Koani taught Bruce and Pat an unexpected lesson in their own truth – the truth about being human.