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  • Willow the coyote was on her back screaming bloody murder as Streak stood over her growling mightily, touching not a hair on her body. But she certainly was making him feel powerful! It wouldn’t matter where we were on the ranch, we could hear those screams and picture exactly what was happening.

    The drama started very early in their relationship. Willow had been rescued from a den at a golf course and we were taking care of her in our cabin. After a couple of weeks young Streak arrived. In spite of the fact that the cabin was already her territory and he was smaller and younger, when he approached her for the first time, she looked at him, paused a moment, flipped on her back and submitted. Male-female relations determined at that age? We only know what we observed.

    When they were old enough, we moved them outside together. As they matured Streak dominated her more and more. She responded with more and more drama, shrieking as if she were being ripped apart, legs waving piteously in the air, Streak on his tiptoes standing astride her snarling ferociously. It all looked so very real. Kind visitors would worry.

    One day I was standing there getting ready to feed them juicy green grapes. Willow was on her back waving and screaming. I was standing behind her head as she carried on. I accidently dropped a grape and it rolled past Willow’s left ear. Without missing a beat she turned her head, snapped up the grape and returned to her original position, continuing with her ear-piercing yelps. Streak, concentrating on his growling, never knew a thing.

    How did she do it? She couldn’t even see the grape until it became level with the corner of her left eye, and it was rolling pretty fast. There was a nanosecond of opportunity between when she could have seen the movement, recognize it as food, roll her head to the left, and grab it. But to be able to notice it in the midst of such drama, focus on it, realize what it was, act on it while carrying on for Streak . . . I don’t think the emotions were running very high, truly. I don’t think there was fear and trembling. And to have the presence of mind to snap back into position as if nothing had happened . . . I wish I could have seen the look in her eye but I wasn’t in the right position. I would bet it was satisfaction, on many levels, one a bit unflattering to females of a certain type. But after witnessing that event, whenever I heard the cries from anywhere on the ranch, I would have a little thrill of appreciation for the sheer acting skill of it. Talent should always be appreciated.
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