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Published: January 18th 2010
That thing that the car mechanic in Buckeye, Arizona said must have stuck in Quito's brain. "The white coyote" is what he called her. It must have instantly resonated with her. "I'm the white coyote, how cool is that?" she must have thought. For no sooner had I begun preparing her dinner at our next stop in Anza Borrego Desert State Park in the Mojave Desert than Quito lit out across a dry lake bed in hot pursuit of her kin. One second she was licking her lips in preparation for the evening kibble and the next, after a sudden growl and bark, she was gone at a full gallop. Melisse reacted first. She tossed aside our meal preparation and like a hysterical mother bear, ran screaming at the top of her lungs after Quito who was closing in on the coyote. It took me half a second longer than Melisse to recognize the situation. Namely, that our cute, feisty domestic doggy was about to be this coyote's dinner. I took off just as fast yelling just as loudly. Quito did not heed our commands in the least. She had gone over to her wild side.
The whole thing was
like a bad dream or a car wreck where everything in the calamity is happening in slow motion. You have the complete comprehension of the possible outcome. The coyote turns on its pursuer, grabs her by the throat, gives one well practiced shake of its head, Quito goes limp and coyote trots off with its meal.
Fortunately, for all but the coyote, Quito suddenly stopped, turned and ran back to us. Coyote meanwhile, joined a friend watching us. The two coyote then jumped around playfully. Then they started yipping joined in by a third. It was clear that Quito was being led into a trap by the first coyote.
It was not until we got back to our campsite and the adrenaline wore off that we realized that Quito running to us when she was being reprimanded was highly unusual. She always stays put and makes us come to her with a put upon attitude. Not this time. Had she realized at the last second that she was headed for a trap? Did she just recognize the abject fear in both Melisse's and my voice? Did she realize that she is not a modern equivalent of London's Buck? We will never know but suffice it to say, she has been on a very short leash since that wake up call.
We went for a hike the following day and when we returned, all three coyote were hanging out about 50 or so meters from camp hoping to have another shot. They came even closer after dark. I cannot say that we are upset with the critters. In fact we are more impressed by their calculated intelligence. They are doing what needs to be done in order to survive, leading a coyote's life. Not to mention the fact that we are in their home. We're just thankful that we dodged this particular bullet. Since that evening, Quito and we has been vigilant of their every move as they have of ours.
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