While most people may not enjoy sharing their community with the coyotes, we have always tried to appreciate them and have been fortunate to be able to watch a family of them grow over the years. There is a small one, probably a female, with three feet " one appears to have been chewed off, possibly to escape a trap. Occasionally, we have been able to see young ones run along the berm or through the field on the other side of the fence, but most of the time we only hear them on their hunting expeditions. In the 10 years we've been here, it has been quite by accident that we were able to see them since most of the time they blend quite well into surrounding landscape.
However, our neighbors' dog, Cooper, made "friends" with the coyotes. He could smell or hear them and would start barking, or calling, to them. It never was that vicious, protective barking but more of a "Hey, come play with me" type of bark. We quickly learned to grab the cameras if Cooper was barking because what we saw was both funny and surprising. Two of the coyotes would regularly come around and play with Cooper along the fence line, running back and forth like kids. Occasionally, they would just nap in the sagebrush after their romps while Cooper watched.
We figure these two must be from one of the litters of the three-footed mom since in one of their early play dates she came along as if she were checking out who her kids were playing with. Cooper's owner, Brie Walker, told me that she watched one of the coyotes jump the 6-foot chainlink fence with barbed wire across the top to come into the yard to play with Cooper. Luckily, Cooper did not follow him when he returned to the sagebrush side of the fence. We both wondered if they were secretly trying to coax Cooper to their side for less playful goals.
Brie and her husband Jason Walker, along with their two young daughters, Hazel and Ella, left last week on their way to England. Jason is leaving the Marine Corps to get a Master's degree in business administration. Cooper will stay with family in New York, and I'm sure he will miss his wild friends here in Nevada.
We will miss them and want to wish the family the very best. Fair winds and following seas from our family to yours.
Have a ramblin' good week!
n To reach Gail Davis, e-mail RuhenstrothRamblings@yahoo.com or call 265-1947.