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“For a long while I have believed – this is perhaps my version of Sir Darius Xerxes Cama’s belief in a fourth function of outsideness – that in every generation there are a few souls, call them lucky or cursed, who are simply born not belonging, who come into the world semi-detached, if you like, without strong affiliation to family or location or nation or race; that there may even be millions, billions of such souls, as many non-belongers as belongers, perhaps; that, in sum, the phenomenon may be as “natural” a manifestation of human nature as its opposite, but one that has been mostly frustrated, throughout human history, by lack of opportunity.  And not only by that: for those who value stability, who fear transience, uncertainly, change, have erected a powerful system of stigmas and taboos against rootlessness, that disruptive, anti-social force, so that we mostly conform, we pretend to be motivated by loyalties and solidarities we do not really feel, we hide our secret identities beneath the false skins of those identities which bear the belongers’ seal of approval.  But the truth leaks out in our dreams; alone in our beds (because we are all alone at night, even if we do not sleep by ourselves), we soar, we fly, we flee.  And in the waking dreams our societies permit, in our myths, our arts, our songs, we celebrate the non-belongers, the different ones, the outlaws, the freaks.  What we forbid ourselves we pay good money to watch, in a playhouse or a movie theatre, or to read about between the secret covers of a book.  Our libraries, our palaces of entertainment tell the truth.  The tramp, the assassin, the rebel, the thief, the mutant, the outcast, the delinquent, the devil, the sinner, the traveller, the gangster, the runner, the mask: if we did not recognize in them our least-fulfilled needs, we would not invent them over and over again, in every place, in every language, in every time.”  ~ Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet

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Eli is still King Kitten. I do think he was relieved when Chloe came along and became Charlie’s BFF…. he is a cat, you know, with more important secret things to do than play and play and play. However, like all cats, he does require worship.

If everyone is having too much fun without him, Eli will wake from his slumber on my bed and hop down into the midst of everything just so that the activity can center around him. Charlie and Chloe simply go nuts over Eli, whining and licking his chin and sniffing every inch of him and literally laying down before him. Once Eli’s ego has tired of their clumsy adoration, he swats the canines away and goes back to a high perch to nap where it is warmest.

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Yes.  It’s an on-purpose typo, an inside joke of sorts here on The Daily Coyote.  Long-time readers will remember when this began, but I realize it’s high time to fill in everyone else.

Back in January 2008 I received the following comment in the comment section from “Anonymous”:

“I give the coyote 2-3 months and he’s going to be found carrying that cat in his mouth like he has this elf leg. Mark my words.”

Ah, Anonymous. Immortal words….

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Chloe has been a remarkable influence on Charlie ~ she has such a carefree and fearless nature which has been a wonderful balance to Charlie’s neurotic coyote nature.  They speak the same language – fluent canine – yet come from completely opposite lineages: Charlie is hardwired for survival, with no one to count on but himself, while Chloe has thousands of years of domesticity in her blood and understands trust and teamwork with humans.

I believe Chloe has helped Charlie find the bridge between his innate coyote instincts and the reality of his life with the Farmily and with humans.  Since she arrived, Charlie has become more confident and more at peace than ever before.  He is still coyote – absolutely.  If an unfamiliar truck pulls in, Charlie dashes over the hill to hide while Chloe races to the front lines barking with a vengance.  He hasn’t really taken on any of her behaviours, but he has found the bridge thanks to her.

As for Chloe, she learned the coyote zig-zag run and became quite adept at it when she was younger.  But now she’s figured out that she’s more successful in the chase (and expends less energy) if she waits for Charlie to circle past her at top speed and then launches herself after him in a leap, chomping down on his tail to take him down.  The girl plays dirty.  But Charlie likes it.

She has altered herself in one major way because of Charlie, and it kind of makes me sad.  Charlie’s voice, especially when he’s yipping, is extraordinarily high pitched.  Chloe has the low hound voice, but she tries to bark and howl as high as she possibly can to match Charlie’s octave.  I miss her low hound howl.

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No…. Charlie has never been to the vet.  He would f-r-e-a-k out.  I have given him all his shots – one gets used to giving animals’ shots out here, with this lifestyle.  There are even some great stories from a generation ago of parents knowing the doses and types of various animal medicines they had on hand (for livestock) with which to treat their children.  Some of you can flip out here, I’ll wait.

So, I’ve given Charlie his vaccinations in his home environment with no stress or anxiety surrounding the events.  Charlie doesn’t have fleas or any other conditions so I don’t treat him with any other medication.  I have trained him to wear a muzzle in the event that serious veterinary care was ever necessary.  And I recommend to anyone with a skittish/fear-biter or aggressive dog that you take the time to do this!

I use a coated metal basket muzzle and Charlie thinks it’s his special treat pouch.  He dips his snout right in the basket and wears the muzzle without complaint.  I modified the straps – I took off the buckles and replaced them with a hook similar to this so that there’s no fussing around his head to put the muzzle on.  One fluid motion while he’s munching the treat in the basket and it’s on.  The open work of the basket allows me to feed him treats through the bars and Charlie can drink and vocalize while the muzzle is on.

We spent about a month, perhaps six weeks, working on this last winter.  Very, very slowly, every evening at exactly the same time.  It was a special, predictable one-on-one time with Charlie that he quickly began looking forward to.  First, the muzzle would just be in the room, and he could sniff it and get “brushed” with it.  Then, he discovered there were treats in the muzzle and he could dip his snout in the basket and get the treat.  Then, perhaps a week or ten days later, the back strap would be held around the back of his head but not attached while he ate the treat.  Then the muzzle went on for a very short time, like a minute, with treats after it came off.  And then the time he wore the muzzle was gradually lengthened.  The key is to go at the rate of the animal, so that the activity (or in this case, the muzzle) is never associated with stress.

This post has taken a tangent!  But, not really.  The work we’ve done with the muzzle and Charlie’s ease in wearing it provides me with massive peace of mind: if Charlie were wounded and needed a vet to come treat him (I’d pay the big bucks for a housecall rather than taking him to the vet), it’s now possible, and only because of the muzzle.