A Wild-Call


As an eight year old girl (no, let me correct that---make that an eight year old Tom-Boy,)  I spent every manageable moment outside.  That was a feat unto itself in the hot, arid, Arizona heat.  You quickly learn to run barefoot from one shady spot to the other; if you can find a shady spot, that is.  Walking along a back road, I saw a culvert that ran beneath the road.  My curiosity piqued and that curiosity ALWAYS got me in trouble.

I was big enough that, if I bent down a little, I could walk through.  I was about half way and carefully picking my way through the debris so I wouldn't step on anything sharp, when I heard it!  I stood very still and held my breath.  Then I heard it again.  It was a faint whine.  I moved towards the sound. 

There, nestled down in some old paper and rag's was this little puppy.  I gently touched him with my finger and talked to him.

"It's OK," I cooed in soft, reassuring tones.

He was so tiny and he was crying and licking and sucking at my fingers, I could see that he was hungry.  His tummy was sunken.  I quickly looked around to see if I could see any more puppies and then I scooped him up.  Running all the way back home, and didn't bother to step only in the shady spots, yet I never even noticed my burning feet in the desert sand.

Luckily my father was home at the time.  He had a way with animals and was known around the region for breaking horses.  He always reminded me that animals were our best friends and they would always be there with love and devotion, even when humans were not.

The puppy's eyes were open and alert but his wobbly legs did not hold him up for long.  I watched with eager anticipation while my father checked the puppy.  Then he laughed.

"Girl, do you know what you have found here?" he asked.

I thought that a silly thing to ask.  I had simply found a little puppy in the culvert and he was hungry.

My father went on to explain that the puppy was probably a runt of the litter and the mother had abandoned it, as many do, because its chances of survival would be doubtful.  He also told me that this puppy was different from most because it was part coyote.  He showed me how one of its eyes was different.  It looked like a piece of pie when it is cut into wedges because they were different colors.  There was blue, a gray and a green wedge.

Of course that puppy was put into a box and kept next to me as my father showed me how to feed him and it was not long before the steadily growing creature was running beside me from one shady spot to the other.  I named him Cody.

Now, Cody had one fault that caused a lot of problems.  There was not one chicken in the neighborhood that was safe when he was around.    He would stalk them and then kill them.  He never ate them, for he had plenty of food in his bowl at home.  It was the "coyote part of him," that would surface and come alive at the sight of a chicken.

I watched one day, as my father tied a dead chicken around his neck in an attempt to break him of this habit.  He then tied up Cody so he could not get away from it.  Believe me---Cody and that chicken smelled pretty bad when Dad finally relieved the dog of his burden.

That "chicken killing lesson," lasted until the next chicken walked by.  Now mind you, this was a time when people let their chickens run loose in their yards, so poor Cody was tempted on a regular basis.  It wasn't long before our neighbors started putting their chickens in a wired chicken yard.  You might say---Cody changed the neighborhood in his own way.

One day I noticed that Cody was coughing and he wasn't eating much.  All he wanted to do was curl up in a cool place and sleep.  I told my father that I thought Cody was sick and after he examined him he agreed.  He told me that Cody had distemper and it was bad.  He also did not think the dog would live long.  We were very poor and option of taking the dog to the veterinarian was out of the question.

Of course, I was devastated and cried.  Too make it easier on me he convinced me that if he took Cody out to my uncle's ranch---that maybe he would feel better.  It was his way of keeping me from seeing the dog die.  A few days later, after he had taken Cody away, he presented me with a new puppy so my attention could be averted from my lost. 

Each summer I got to go out to my uncle's ranch and spend two weeks.  I looked forward to this special event.  It had been two years since Cody had gone and I still thought of him often.

One evening after supper, my uncle said he had something to show me.  We climbed into his old pick-up truck and bounced along up a deeply rutted road, then he suddenly turned and the beat-up old truck climbed up a dry wash.  There to my left and a little ways away, I could see a big wind mill and a water tank near it for the cattle to drink from.  I wondered why we parked back so far from it.

"Shush, be real quiet," he said in his no-nonsense voice. He quietly told me that we might be surprised at the animals that we could see when they came here for a drink. The sun had just set when I saw the first coyote casually make his way to the tank of water. Then soon after, several more followed--equally cautious of any danger that might be present.

"Don't move and just look back up that slope there," he whispered.

I couldn't believe it. There standing back from all the others was CODY! He was staring straight at me. I wanted to run to him but my uncle whispered for me to stay put until the other ones left. The pack moved on but Cody stayed behind. Finally my uncle and I slowly got out of the truck and slowly walked towards Cody.

"Now, call him very softly," my uncle said.

Cody stood there and intently watched as I approached. It was just a slight movement at first. Then his tail wagged even more as I talked to him. His nose sniffed the air and the tail wagged rapidly. He recognized me!

When I moved a bit closer he backed up, yet still wagging his tail. Then there was a coyote call in the distance and he turned. Looking towards the call, he paused and then, once more looked back to me.

We both stood there for several minutes before the stronger instinct took over. He then turned and followed the---call.

I watched until he disappeared far into the mesquite brush and I strained to catch one last glance of him. I could only smile and wave a silent goodbye.

At last, Cody had found his way back home!

Comments 24 comments

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

Oh man!  I LOVE this!  Go Cody! great story -- thank you.

goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

very cool.

Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

Teresa, thanks this is a true story and I can still see him stalking those chickens.

Goldentoad, strange my best friends have always been 4-legged?

Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

I'll be thinking about Cody just about every day now, as we watch the coyotes here on a daily basis. Our little beagle's eyes shine in worry every night when she hears them calling to each other -- she's sure she's on their diet we think. Terrific hub mom!

Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

Jeri, all animals can teach us important lessons as we both know.

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

What a lovely tale GN. You sure have a thing for animal stories, don't you? :)

Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

Feline I'm glad that you enjoyed it, for it is a true story. Animals have been a part of my life ---from day one. I will always have an animal in every story.

Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

great story -- thank you.

Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

Lgali thanks, I am glad you enjoyed it.

Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

What a wonderful story!

Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

Christa thank you, some of my best friends have been the ones with ---four legs.

Eternal Evolution profile image

Eternal Evolution 7 years ago from kentucky

This is a great story, very touching and heartwarming.

Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

Thank you Eternal, I am glad you enjoyed it.

DarleneMarie profile image

DarleneMarie 7 years ago from USA

I loved your story Ginn! Very touching.

Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

Darlene thanks, I loved sharing it.

john guilfoyle profile image

john guilfoyle 7 years ago

wow...as i gaze into the forest from my lofty perch atop a mountain halfway betwixt nyc and montreal i feel blessed to have beheld this tale...i have always had dogs...i was also raised in poverty...the main reason i am secluded is because i could never collar my friends...i thank u 4 sharing your wisdom...as i listen 2 the pack of coyotes call to one another at night here i will think of cody and wonder if perhaps his descendants dwell here abouts...and pray they live another day in prosperity...

Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

John thanks, your location sounds wonderful and it does have advantages for our 4 legged friends---freedom! I will always miss that call of the pack at night.

Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

I thought there is something wild about you Miss Ginn! Great storytelling, as usual!

Btw,, I've come up with a theme and a title, too. I'll holler when I'm done! LOL :D

Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

Cris, how did you know? I'm trying to cool it now at 77 years so don't tell anyone!!!!

Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Let's just say it takes one to know one! LOL Okay, I won't tell a soul! Promise :D

Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

Cris---I won't tell either---shhh!!!

john guilfoyle profile image

john guilfoyle 7 years ago

yup...freedom...i wish u continued freedom...much peace and love 4u and tu...let your spirit continue 2 soar...help us 2 c the beauty which surrounds us...

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Wow Ginn, I know this is a true story, but it couldn't have been crafted any better if you had all fiction to draw from--hooks, surprise, suspense, tension and a moral--bravo! =:)

Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 5 years ago Author

Thanks Winsome, It seems that every life is a true story with all its hooks and surprise's. My Cajun grandfather told me that no-human friend will ever be as loyal as some of our four-legged friends!

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