Reporter Steve MacNaull pats wolf Scrappy Dave at Northern Lights Wolf Centre's Walking With Wolves hike near Golden.
This would be utterly mundane if Maya were a dog.
But she's 100 per cent grey wolf.
And wolf handler and trainer Shelley Black tells me how lucky I am to receive any affection from this regal creature.
"Maya has her quirks and is shy and aloof," explains Black.
"If she gives anyone the time of day, it's usually only two seconds."
Maya leans into my leg and I run my left hand through the long and luxurious fur from her shoulder blades to mid-back for a good 10 seconds.
Then, just as quickly and quietly as she appeared, Maya moves on.
I'm taking part in Northern Lights Wolf Centre's special Walking With Wolves program just outside of Golden, with five other tourists.
It's the only place in the world people can go on a hike with wolves.
We're not in a big enclosure and the wolves are not on leashes.
The wolves run free and we follow on a stretch of pristine, sunny and snowy Crown land in the Blaeberry Valley, bracketed by the Rocky and Purcell mountains.
When I first heard of Northern Lights' Walking With Wolves, I didn't believe such a bucket list opportunity existed.
So, of course, I immediately had to sign up and drive the four hours from Kelowna to Golden.
It is surreal to trek in the wild with these majestic animals.
I constantly have to pinch myself as a reminder that this is real.
I'm touching wolves, I'm taking pictures of wolves, wolves are showing off and running past me and they even playfully roll in the snow and good-naturedly yip and growl.
Maya is the black-grey-and-white distinguished veteran at 14 years of age.
We're also joined by 21-month-old Scrappy Dave, the equivalent of a rambunctious, lanky teenager.
And he's also a real looker with his white and buff colouring and piercing yellow eyes.
He showed off his speed by racing back and forth past us.
He'd dart off into the forest to emerge stealthy and snowy.
And when we reached the sunny clearing at the halfway point of our hike, Scrappy Dave frolicked and posed for pictures with each of us.
We started at Northern Lights' centre on a bright Monday morning and got a quick tour around the big enclosure where Shelly and her husband, Casey, keep their eight wolves.
We also get the low down on how our 90-minute hike with the wolves will work as well as information on how Northern Lights got into this unique business.
Originally, the Blacks bought a couple of wolves from zoos that were selling off pups to raise for photography and film work.
Northern Lights wolves have been the models for various photo shoots and appeared in numerous documentaries, including Wild Horses of the Canadian Rockies, which is airing currently on Animal Planet.
They decided to test their British Columbia licence to keep wolves and asked if they could offer a Walking With Wolves program for tourists.
The government said yes, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The key to allowing such human-wolf interaction is imprinting.
Northern Lights acquires only wolf pups born in captivity that will imprint on Shelley and Casey.
"We become the alpha male and female for all our wolves," said Shelley.
"We are the leaders of the pack and provide them with food (usually road kill deer and elk donated to the centre) so they will interact with humans. But they are still the same as their wild cousins. They won't wag their tail for you. They will approach you, but they are not like your pet dog."
However, wolves are genetically identical to our pet canines.
It's hard to believe my little frou-frou bichon frise, Benji, shares the same gene pool as these wolves.
While in Golden, we stayed at the well-located and well-appointed Prestige Inn, PrestigeHotels.com.
Northern Lights Wolf Centre has a $12 interpretive program to view the wolves in their enclosure and the Walking With Wolves program for $295 a couple.
Check out NorthernLightsWildlife.com.