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The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton
“I bent down and nuzzled Charlie’s neck. He rolled over playfully and I rubbed his belly, starting slow and soft and then with greater and greater friction and he wiggled and squirmed and smiled, then hopped up, ready for fun.” No, Shreve Stockton isn’t talking about her cuddly and playful puppy; she’s talking about her pet coyote pup.
Shreve Stockton lived temporarily in San Francisco, California. On her journey back to her home in New York, Stockton fell in love with Wyoming. After returning back to New York, she realized that she absolutely had to move to Wyoming. She found a rental home, packed up the belongings she needed and headed for the town, Ten Sleep, in the mountains.
In Ten Sleep, Stockton met a cowboy named Mike, whom she became friends with. Stockton and Mike’s friendship blossomed. Stockton learned that Mike’s job was to hunt and kill coyotes, because they feed on the livestock. Being that they lived in Wyoming, livestock was very crucial to farmers.
One day, Mike showed up outside Stockton’s house with a twinkle in his eye. She knew that something was up. She walked to his truck and peered inside and what else was there, but a baby coyote pup. Mike asked her if she wanted to raise it as a pet. He had killed the mother and when he went to kill the orphaned pups, something came over him and he just couldn’t kill him. He had been working this job for almost two decades and this was the first time he wasn’t able to finish off the job. Stockton agreed to raise the baby coyote.
Readers will enjoy learning about Stockton’s daily life with her pet coyote, Charlie, and her cat Eli. It is fascinating to learn about Charlie’s dog like mannerisms. He is so dog like; whether it was from a distance or close up; people were shocked to find out that it wasn’t a dog that Stockton was walking, but a wild coyote. Charlie wore a collar, walked on a leash and enjoyed receiving belly rubs from Mike. However, even though many of Charlie’s mannerisms were dog like, the coyote instinct in him would speak up whenever it could. If Stockton tried to help remove a cacti needle from his paw, he would snap at her, teeth bared.
Throughout the book, there are photographs Stockton took. They are scattered throughout; there are pictures of sunsets, orange dirt roads, but mostly there are pictures of Charlie. Stockton enjoyed photography and sent out daily pictures of Charlie to family and close friends. Receiving the pictures of Charlie started the day for many of Stockton’s acquaintances. But it never occurred to her that she could actually charge money for people to receive her pictures of Charlie. She set up a web page that allowed her to charge $5 a month for people to get her daily email. Her website is www.dailycoyote.net.
One morning, Charlie barked at Stockton while she was in bed. A period of aggression between her and Charlie arose. As hard as it was for Stockton to admit, she realized that she was actually scared of Charlie.
In a personal email interview with Shreve Stockton, I asked her if it was hard to write about the aggression period she went through with Charlie.
“It was really hard to write the month of January. That was the most difficult and heartbreaking month to live, and then to write it authentically, I had to relive it. Every moment and feeling and fear and hardship. And it was terrible! I was in an awful mood while writing that part of the book. It was helpful that I had my long hikes with Charlie every day, where I had to totally let go of the book and be present with him. That kept me sane!” said Stockton.
The Daily Coyote is more than a book about a woman in Wyoming who raises a coyote. It’s a story about dedication, real life and how animals can change lives forever. There is romance; there is sickness and periods of frustration and aggression. No tissues are needed when reading this entertaining and heartwarming page turner.
Fans of Marley and Me, and Homer’s Odyssey: How I Learned about Life and Love with a Blind Wonder Cat, and animal lovers everywhere will enjoy Stockton’s Daily Coyote book.
“ I didn't write the book with any particular ‘message’ in mind, but what I have learned through my time with Charlie is that honesty and determination can place you in the path of miracles. The tiny moments matter most. That we have a bigger impact, with everything we do, than we will ever truly comprehend. That it is essential to the survival of our spirit that we believe in possibility,” said Stockton.