Monday, January 14, 2008


Yippee is a real coyote. I discovered her in a game farm when she was just a week old.

I had helped the owners of the game farm with several photography shoots. It was my job to keep the animals away from the photographers so they wouldn't get eaten. It was also my job to chase the animals around for the photographers so they could get the perfect shot. The owners wanted me to work for them. I was interested in the animals but didn't want a job there. They asked me several times to take baby animals home and raise them in the house. I turned down Snow Leopards, Cougars, Bobcats, Lynx, Tigers, Wolves, Raccoons, etc. I'm not a very good cat person and couldn't imagine raising such animals in the house. I had seen the owners do it. I was often attacked by a young Snow Leopard pouncing on me in play in their house. Not many people have a pair of jeans that have a Leopard bite in them.

I had handled him in the compounds. One compound was a steep hillside with cliffs around it. It was winter and it was my job to keep the playful young Snow Leopard on top of the hill. There was 3 feet of snow. He would take off and run to the bottom of the hill and my friend and I had to get him back up. We ended up dragging my his legs and tail. He was delighted with this process and thought it was a very fun game. As soon as we'd get him up, he'd leap around and head back down the hill waiting for us at the bottom. We were all exhausted by the end of that shoot.

One spring, I was in the nursery looking at the babies. I saw a litter of coyote pups under a heat lamp. It was cold in the nursery. One poor little puppy was pushed into the corner out from under the heat lamp. It was obviously the runt of the litter and pushed out. I reached in and picked her up. Her cold stiff body wasn't moving. I thought she was dead. I cupped her into my hand and blew warm air over her. One of her tiny paws moved. No one thought she'd make it through the night. Her tail was injured. Possibly caught in the cage door. The end was stripped of skin and flesh and all that showed was the bone in her tail. I gave her a warm bath when I got her home and dripped some warm formula into her mouth. I learned to massage her belly so that she could poop. Her natural mother would have licked her belly and then cleaned her. It takes this stimulation for these babies to function. I took her to the veterinary the first day I could get her there. She was developing a runny nose. He took care of her tail, amputating the very end of it. We put her on antibiotics. It took a lot to get any formula into her the first few weeks. She couldn't suck. I was afraid I was going to drown her. Finally she developed some strength and started nursing. It wasn't much at first just an ounce at a time. I tried every 2 hours day and night to feed her. She started growing stronger. I fed her every 2 hours, day and night until she was 6 weeks old. I could start feeding her less times after that but still had to wake up for night feedings.

At this point I wasn't sure if Yippee were mine or the game farms. I kept her thinking I'd have to return her. I didn't take her out in public so she wasn't socialized as much as she could have been. I thought the game farm might get in trouble for me having her. I checked it all out and found that I could legally have a coyote. The owners of the game farm finally told me that she was mine.

We had a Jack Russell Terrier named Bijou when Yippee arrived. Bijou was about 7 years old. Bijou hated Yippee. She didn't really like any other dogs either. Of course Yippee was this naive puppy who just wanted to play. Bijou would bear her teeth and growl. If I weren't looking she'd take a nip out of Yippee. Her growling and teeth bearing didn't seem to have any effect on Yippee. Yippee would just lay on the floor in front of her and reach out with her paw and stroke towards Bijou's face. Bijou's growl would get louder and louder, but she wouldn't move. Yippee would lay toys in front of Bijou and as soon as Bijou made a move for them Yippee would grab them and run. If Bijou got them she would lay with them in front of Yippee and taunt her. Yippee would lay down and take her little paw and reach towards the toy with Bijou growling loudly. Bijou would get extremely mad if Yippee got it away from her and would chase Yippee around the house growling and snapping at her heels.

As Yippee got a little older she discovered she could pick on me just as easily. If I were laying on the couch watching TV. Yippee would take a big jump and land in the middle of me. She got so she hopped right over me and run along the back of the couch. She loved to run as fast as she could, circling around so she could run over the top of me each circle. She never hurt me. For as fast as she was going, she missed scratching my face. She has always stayed away from my face. Each evening Yippee would play with me from 3 to 4 hours steadily. I would be laughing the whole time. My husband showed a lot of patience with both of us because we would be interrupting his concentration on other things. Yippee would engage him as much as she could too. This lasted a few years.

Yippees' favorite mealtime is breakfast. It was Bijou's too. They were fed from the table, shame on us. They loved the crust of the toast. Bijou was a real foodie. Yippee and I had a game we played on Bijou. I would hand Yippee the crust and she'd take off around the house, making laps around the dining room table and over the back of the couch. Bijou would be hot on her tail, snarling and snapping and trying to catch her. They would get out of breath and Yippee would stop at one end of the table and Bijou at the other. As soon as Bijou would make a move, Yippee would take off again for a few more laps. Yippee would stop as suddenly as she started and place the toast in front of Bijou. If she was tired enough, she'd just give it to her. Then we'd start all over again. I have videos of them chasing each other that I need to edit. When I do, I will add them to this blog.

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