I returned to camp early today exhausted from chasing those goofy chickens out of my yard. They had pooped and scratched their way across the entire yard. They ate all of Mama’s figs in the backyard and boy was she mad about that! Those chickens are finally gone, thank goodness. A good rain and my backyard will be as good as new, washing that chicken poop away.
A lot happened at camp while I was gone for those few days. I learned that coyotes had been heard howling every night from across Inks Lake from the cabins. Poor little Coco, my youngest retriever cousin, was scared to death. She’s a city dog and hadn’t heard coyotes howl before this camp. The sun is setting and the kids are all about to go in for the night. My dog cousins and I are scouting for scraps around the back door of the kitchen. The camp chef has tossed out all sorts of incredible left overs tonight. Yum! A feast of pizza crusts, cheese bread and that delicious cinnamon sugar crust with butter. Hey Felix, I think you’ll love the pizza crusts best! Those crazy kids must be out of their minds to leave even one crumb of the cinnamon sugar crust! It’s my very favorite. Mercy sakes alive what was that piercing howl? Coco, come near to me and don’t leave my side. Radar, where are you? Felix and Bear, what did I just hear? Radar ran and gathered us into our den we had made for ourselves under the front porch of the main camp house. Radar told us not to move and for goodness sake, no barking or whimpering. Radar told us to stay put because he was pretty certain the howl we heard was a coyote. Radar went out to the edge of the lake very quietly. He listened and looked for a really long time. The howling began again along with more howls. There must have been 12 coyotes now all singing together in what sounded like a concert. Then quiet. We then heard Radar began his deepest, meanest growl that sounded very similar to the howls of the coyotes. I’m told that when coyotes howl they are marking their territory, basically saying, this is my spot and don’t come near. I suppose Radar was doing the same in his most stern voice by the way he was growling and howling. Whatever Radar was doing it sounded pretty impressive. Now old Radar has been coming to camp for years. He told us a story a few years back about an encounter he had with a young coyote across the lake. Radar had decided to swim across the lake that night and see if he might find some young rabbits for dinner. He came face to face with a pack of coyotes as he climbed onto the shore on the other side. The coyotes came up to him and surrounded him. Although he was terrified he never let on that he was scared. He stood his ground. Radar asked to see the coyote in charge. A big coyote known as Aztec pranced out and came up to Radar and said, “you asked to see me?” Radar answered with his bravest voice, “yes, I did”. “I have come in peace to find food for my friends across the lake.” As luck would have it rabbits had been extremely plentiful that season. The big coyote, Aztec, told Radar he could have what he needed this time but that he should never swim back across the lake to their side as that was coyote territory. Aztec and Radar growled a sound only the two of them understood that night. Radar returned across the lake with the rabbits and never returned. Tonight we all snuggled close to each other and listened for what seemed an eternity as we heard first Radar and then the big coyote on the other side of the lake. It was if they were talking to each other back and forth as they took turns howling. Was it old Aztec he was talking to that night? Soon Radar was back under the porch with all us terrified pups. “Radar, what was all that howling?” Radar, we’re scared! Are those coyotes gonna come and eat us for dinner? In his most calming voice ever, old Radar began telling us that he had promised old Aztec that night long ago that he would never return across the lake into coyote territory. All that howling tonight was just Radar and Aztec remembering old times and the promises they had made to stay out of each other’s territories. You see when you make a promise to someone you always keep your word. You always do the right thing. Friends forever, old Radar and Aztec.