Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sam and the Coyote





This is a picture of a coyote in a little zoo where we used to live in New Mexico.
It is kind of a sad picture because the coyote is fenced. I'm not posting this picture to make you sad, though.  I want to tell you something about this coyote. 
At least, I think it was this one.
If so, it is a story from this coyote's youth.
Ok, I really don't know that, but it IS the same enclosure for sure.

Sam was pretty young when I used to take him to this little zoo frequently.
He was never a loud or rambunctious child, at least not in public.
He was respectful and calm around the animals.
He liked to look at them all but this coyote was a favorite.

Why?

Because this coyote seemed to know Sam.
They had a special bond.
He anxiously waited for Sam's arrival.

OK, maybe that isn't true... but maybe it is.

I took this photo on a visit back to New Mexico, a few years after we'd moved away.
Sam wasn't with me this particular day; I'd gone to the zoo just to have a place to walk around while visiting with an old friend.
When we approached the coyote's enclosure, he just sat there like that.  He didn't do anything more than just throw a bored glance our way.

That wouldn't seem unusual except that when I used to bring Sam there the coyote would get all excited.  His body language was not aggressive but playful.  Then, Sam would start running, back and forth.  If anyone were watching I expect they'd be a little startled at what they saw because the coyote would actually play with Sam, chasing along beside the fence.  Sam loved that game and would run back and forth along the cement sidewalk over and over while the coyote mirrored his run on the other side of the fence.  Sometimes that would go on for quite awhile!
I always felt pretty mean when I announced we needed to move on.

On a side note I'd like to say that I know this little zoo was known to save injured animals and birds, creatures that would not have been able to live in the wild.  I don't know if that is the story behind Sam's coyote, but maybe it is.

Anyway, I like to think of Sam as the "Coyote Whisperer."