Sad news: Freckles, the original Blonde Coyote – the inspiration for the name of this blog – is gone. I don’t know details about what happened. She was found in abdominal distress and the emergency vet determined she needed to be put down. She was 10 years old and full of life on our last hike together in April. I don’t want to think about the desert without that magnificent coy-dog glowing in the Sun.
Freckles was a coyote hybrid, equal parts sweet and smart, shy and skittish. She wasn’t mine, but we hiked hundreds of miles together and she would have followed me to the ends of the Earth. Hiking with Freckles was an exercise in trust: she was stone cold deaf and entirely untrained. I couldn’t tell her what to do; she did what she did because she wanted to. Having her as an ally– being judged pack-leader worthy by a coyote – was one of the great honors of my life.
We never get enough time with our dogs, but I find some solace in knowing that every time Freckles ran like a wild thing across the desert, I stopped to watch and every time the sun hit her in that way that made her shine, I stopped to look. In the three winters we spent together, we explored the desert just about every day and every time I wiggled my fingers at her – my greeting to the deaf dog – she flattened her silent ears and smiled.
There’s a reason why I named this blog after Freckles. I would not be the traveler I am now if I hadn’t followed that beautiful blonde coyote through the desert for all those miles. She taught me to wander freely, to look at everything, and to trust in my own dogs as intelligent, capable creatures. Most of all she taught me to follow my own instincts all the way to the horizons. I think of Freckles often in my travels and in that way she’ll always be with me.
Take all your good dogs for a walk today in honor of Freckles. Here’s to the Blonde Coyote.