One Lucky Pup?

On Wednesday, a friend…wait a second, I’d better look up the definition of “friend”…

1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

2. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile: Who goes there? Friend or foe?

…ok, in that case, a person who I am on good terms with and who is not hostile lent me a book about a woman who raised a coyote pup. It turns out the pup was given to her by a suitor who works for the “wildlife services” killing coyotes. The minute I read how the pup was (unlawfully?) acquired, I decided to return the book to the lender, while wondered why he lent me this tome of such infuriating rot in the first place.

This was not a heartwarming story of a selfless wildlife rescue. Instead, Mike, the wildlife “services” assassin, had shot a pair of coyotes, then went on with his normal routine of locating the den and inserting a poisonous cartridge to gas the pups to death. But this time he decided to spare one of the pups, probably thinking he’d score some points with his new girlfriend by making a gift of the poor young animal (who had just seen his family killed by his captor).

The one piece of worthwhile information to be found in The Daily Coyote was this bit of insight into the barren mind of a coyote killer:

“Mike killed coyotes through a number of means–snares; foothold traps; from the ground with a rifle; and with a shotgun out of a small, low-flying airplane. I asked him what it felt like to make eye contact with a coyote and then raise his gun and fire, watch it fall, see it die. He…said he didn’t feel, didn’t think about it; he blocked that part out…felt nothing.”

Although no real champion of wilderness or wildlife, the author could not overlook the fact that “there is a war between humans and predators…most ranchers and hunters would prefer there be less or none of the wild predators, coyotes and mountain lions and wolves. People feel entitled to take the land, the resources and the wilderness as their own without giving up anything to the land they are running on…and so man becomes the ultimate predator with a singular goal…”

Wildlife Photos Copyright Jim Robertson

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8 thoughts on “One Lucky Pup?

  1. Thanks for another interesting post. Like the chapter in your book about the mind of the hunter it helps shed light on an interesting, if wretched, abyss. I too have thought long and hard about the seeming dichotomy of the human race into those who have empathy and compassion for non-human animals and feel guilt about our miserable treatment of them, and those who simply do not; and how to order my life within civil society in a way that takes note of this profound difference. My practical solution for day-to-day dealings with my conspecifics is to categorize humankind into three distinct species and treat them accordingly: Homo sapiens, Homo rapiens, and Homo imbeciliens. Homo sapiens, “wise man”, is the kind of person that reads and agrees with the sentiments expressed in your columns; unfortunately he/she collectively constitutes no more than 10% of the human race. Homo rapiens is decidely more numerous and consists of the sport hunters, trappers, wildlife managers, wilderness “developers”, etc. who are to wild animals what the Nazis were to the Jews. Homo imbeciliens, perhaps the majority, is made up of those benighted creatures who are uninformed or “just can’t make up their minds” on the animal question. In dealing with fellow Homo sapiens, each individual deserves utmost respect, understanding, support, honesty, kindness, and generosity in all things. The Homo rapiens cohort deserves nothing but scorn, shunning, and ironfisted efforts to circumscribe their stranglehold on our dying planet; they rate, in my opinion, somewhere on the tree of life between toxic algae and pathogenic fungi. Members of Homo imbecilens deserve some forbearence, the kind that one would extend to an especially slow-witted child, in the faint hope that someday they will see the light and join the Homo sapiens category.

  2. People whose lives are so damaged and empty that they spend valuable time out there making life hell for animals in nature, taking their lives, treating them like despicable things. It is so wrong on so many levels that it defies words. Thank you for this concise but poignant article. Wow, a coyote pup “gift” to impress a girl, after brutally wiping out the pup’s family, insanity doesn’t get much worse.

    • Yep, and I have to wonder about the sanity of a girl who accepts such a “gift” and goes on to have a long-term relationship with the coyote-killer, thereby validating and enabling his murderous behavior. It’s sometimes up to to the women to just say no and not hook up with men who spend thier time abusing animals. Maybe if their cruel behavior keeps them from being able to get a girl, (attract a mate), they will change their ways.

      • I found the Daily Coyote blog and was horrified to learn that the consort worked for Wildlife Services while his girlfriend raised the coyote whose family he had slaughtered. Really, who could love someone like that? I read that book and it tainted the entire story giving me a gnawing in the pit of my gut for its duration.
        For what it is worth however, shortly before the expose of the agency by the Sacramento Bee was released, he resigned his position. WS had gotten to be too corrupt and cavalier even for him.

      • I had the same reaction as you to the book: I couldn’t get past the fact that the family of the coyote pup had been slaughtered by the guy whom the author is hooked up with and whom we have to hear about throughout the story.

  3. Someone gave me the book, too, and I read it. It was horrifying to know the author really seemed to fall for this gift-giver employee of Wildlife Services. Still, i found the book fascinating for some reason. Perhaps because we never get to “see” what living up close and personal with a coyote is really like….which is as it should be. “Charlie” is what she named the coyote and I subscribed to her list for the purpose of getting the weekly “Charlie” photos. Charlie with her dog…Charlie with the cat…..great photos of Charlie with his toys. He’s magnificent in my opinion. Let’s see if I can express this: I believe that Charlie may have given many who are needlessly fearful of these animals an opportunity to see them from a different perspective, albeit a somewhat artificial one, even sightly anthropomorphic. Maybe in some strange way, Charlie may have opened the door for a lot of people to change attitudes and opinions about an animal they previously knew nothing about, or, only understood them to be pet-killing, child-stealing PREDATORS who were to be feared and slaughtered on site. Maybe I’m wrong. The author seems to have quite a following.
    BTW, I appreciate MK Ray’s update on “the boyfriend” resigning from Wildlife Services. Perhaps knowing Charlie was instrumental in converting him, too.

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