As the title of this blog post suggests, I have never seen the coyote rumored to live in the woods behind my building. The first I heard about the coyote was late one night, in the freezing cold, when Cricket and her Goldendoodle friend Kevin were having a battle in the yard, and Ellie was trying to sneak back to our front door, and Kevin’s Mom said, so, did you see the white coyote?
And my first thought was, nah, probably just a new cat, with long legs. Humans have vivid imaginations. We get a lot of stray cats visiting around here. There’s the brown and black striped cat, and the black cat with two white feet, both way too fast for Ellie to catch them, though she always tries. Sometimes we see raccoons and possums and voles, and of course we are inundated with brazen grey squirrels, and then there are the mourning doves, and wrens and starlings and cardinals and robins and blue jays, etc, etc. But a coyote, that’s new.
I read an article that said urban or suburban coyotes rarely attack humans and can easily be scared away by hand waving and loud noises – which could explain why I’ve never seen the coyote; I’m always out there with Cricket, who makes a lot of noise, and Ellie, who runs like she’s ready to fly in three directions at once.
Also, coyotes are generally nocturnal and my dogs are easily spotted at night – being white and fluffy – so the coyote probably hides behind the huge downed tree at the edge of the yard and waits for us to go back inside before doing whatever it is that coyotes do.
Supposedly, when I hear what sounds like a goose being strangled by a cat late at night, it’s actually the coyote. I don’t know if this is a single coyote or a mated one, out searching for a light meal for two. I guess we’ll find out in a few months. Coyotes mate in February (for Valentine’s Day?) and give birth in April.
It’s possible that I did see the coyote once, actually because I saw what I thought was a really long-legged cat running up into the woods one night, and was surprised that Ellie didn’t try to chase it. Ellie seems to have given up on catching a squirrel, but she still believes she’ll be able to outrun a cat, one day.
I’ve made a point of holding onto Ellie’s leash after dark, ever since I heard about the coyote and was warned with horrific stories of pets being abducted never to be seen again (similar to the horror stories of small dogs being carried away by hawks), but given that some of my neighbors leave food out for the stray cats, and others leave food out for the birds, the coyote can probably live pretty well here without having to hunt for anything larger than a mouse.
So, I guess we’re okay for now. And it gives us something to talk about when the dog walkers meet up in the yard at night. I wonder, though, if while the humans are sharing scary stories about the dangerous white coyote who stalks the woods, the dogs are rolling their eyes at each other and saying, oy, humans are so silly. Bob’s harmless.
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Yeshiva Girl is about a Jewish teenager on Long Island, named Isabel, though her father calls her Jezebel. Her father has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with one of his students, which he denies, but Izzy implicitly believes it’s true. As a result of his problems, her father sends her to a co-ed Orthodox yeshiva for tenth grade, out of the blue, and Izzy and her mother can’t figure out how to prevent it. At Yeshiva, though, Izzy finds that religious people are much more complicated than she had expected. Some, like her father, may use religion as a place to hide, but others search for and find comfort, and community, and even enlightenment. The question is, what will Izzy find?