Dr. McCleery Lobo Wolves Digital Archive

Interview with David Johnson


An interview with David Johnson who, during one of his visits to the wolf park in the late 1950s, helped an employee carry buckets of water for the wolves, and was given a silver dollar for his work.

The text in square brackets was added by the interviewer for clarity.


David Johnson


Kirsten Canfield


September 30, 2015


I did [get to watch the wolves being fed]. We lived near Bradford and my Dad took me to see the wolves in the late 50's. I was asked to carry a water bucket and allowed in the area by the cages. I remember my Dad helping me because the water bucket was heavy. I got a treasured silver dollar for that work. 
About how old were you at the time that you visited the wolf park?
I was between 9 and ten years old. We had moved from the Chicago area to Bradford, PA.  I believe that my Dad read the article that you provided [“He Made Friends with a Wolf Pack” from True: The Man’s Magazine, March 1958] and we were interested to go see the wolves.
How did you come to be asked to help carry a water bucket? 
On the day we visited (late summer as I recall) I was fascinated by the brochure detailing the Lobos and their individual history. An older man was opening the gate for a walkway between the cages. I remember being fascinated by this act - the wolves did not seem alarmed nor did they threaten. The man had a metal bucket and was pouring water through the cage into a container. I asked if I could help and he said sure - but not to come into the walkway past the gate. So I went to the spigot, filled the bucket, and brought the water to the man. I don't remember how many trips but I do remember the loaded buckets were a struggle.
Was it Dr. McCleery or another wolf park employee who asked you to carry a water bucket?
I don't remember if it was the Dr. or not - I don't think we were introduced. My Dad said it was him but I can't say for certain. I was given a silver dollar by the man (who, to a nine or ten year old, seemed very old) and his thanks.
What do you remember about Dr. McCleery?
On subsequent visits I recall him going inside the cages and being nuzzled by the big wolves.
Did you see any animals other than wolves at the park, and do you remember any of the wolves’ (or other animals’) names?

There were others but none held my interest.