Coyote Story: A Burial

In the morning on October 3rd, I met Margaret walking with her son and her dog in one of the parks. So that she and her son would be sure not to miss it, I pointed out one of the coyotes resting on a hilltop. We noted how peaceful this wild animal was — but we knew it could and would defend itself if chased by a dog. We marveled at wildlife in the city, and then Margaret had a wonderful coyote story to tell me.

For a while she lived in Big Sur — coyote country. Yes, her cats all disappeared over time — this was not the habitat for domestic cats. But her dog, April, developed a mutual respect and fondness for her wild coyote relatives which lasted until her dying day.

April did die at the ripe old age of 14. The family wanted to give their pet a decent burial — they did not want the body devoured by coyotes — they felt they owed this to April. They decided that the grave they would dig would have to be a deep one. As the digging began, they noticed that the coyotes slowly did line up along the horizon to watch. This was confirmation to the family that, yes, the grave would have to be deep — 6 feet deep — no getting around this.

So deeper it got. The family pet was lowered into its final resting place and finally covered with dirt, and the earth was packed down. That was all they could do. The family said farewell and left, but watched.

Sure enough, the coyotes did come down from the horizon. They came to the site of the grave. But they did not dig. They sat on the grave looking around and inspecting, and finally they began howling. They had seen and understood what was happening as the grave was being dug. They had watched the entire event with understanding, and then they had come down themselves to howl their farewell and respects to their friend.

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