Coyotes Beware

White Desert Dogs

Recently, I met my neighbors to the west of the Earthship and got permission to hike on their land. I’ve been heading into unexplored territory on my daily hikes, and have been rewarded with all kinds of new desert treasures.

Yesterday, I took a bit of a somber hike with my neighbor Bruce, whose old dog Taka I found dead in an arroyo over the weekend. Taka disappeared on Thanksgiving. She was 16 years old and nearly blind, but somehow she made it over 10 miles of rugged terrain before she laid down and died in this quiet place. Dogs are amazing.

As I was leading Bruce to Taka, we were spotted by the six Great Pyrenees dogs that guard the neighborhood herd of goats from coyotes and three of them came over to check us out. What beautiful dogs!

Pyrenees are guard dogs, not attack dogs. They’re meant to see and be seen by coyotes. These barked at us ferociously from a distance, but were not threatening when they approached. I didn’t have any of my dogs with me, but they’ve met before. One of these days, I’m going to hike over a hill and find myself in the midst of that goat herd. That’ll be interesting. I can’t wait to take photos!

Correction: This being a small world, my post made it back to the daughter of the man who owns the goat herd and she informs me the big white dogs are not Great Pyrenees but rather Maremma sheepdogs. I thought I knew my dog breeds, but that’s a new one for me! Maremma sheepdogs are native to Italy, whereas the Pyrenees were bred by the Basque people. Both breeds are similar in size, appearance and traditional use: guarding flocks from predators. Learn something new everyday… Thanks Amanita! 🙂

The Goat Herd near the Galisteo Dam

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
This entry was posted in Bowie & D.O.G., Cowboys & Horses, Hiking!, New Mexico, Photography. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Coyotes Beware

  1. Pingback: Galisteo Love Letter « Travels with the Blonde Coyote

Comments are closed.