Coyote Jones

Repost: Coyote is not a dog

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Journal entry, Oct. 23rd, 2014.

Coyote is an enigma. Liesk has that right in an ancient essay on The Marsh.

Let me get this out of the way: I don't believe in going after anyone for what they wrote ages ago. In the words of the likely-mythical Don Juan from Journey To Ixtlan: "Your problem is that you have too much personal history." It's not right to pounce on writers for words they wrote a decade ago, but I do want to address just one line as a bounding point for my own thoughts. All due apologies to Liesk in their absence.

Coyote is general, and canines are particularly close between species. But as I feel I am a canine, I see that this can be reduced to "coyote," whereas it cannot be reduced to "wolf" or to any other canine species.

But how can you reduce yourself to an enigma, an iconoclast, an animalistic human non-being? Coyote might be a generalist, but coyote is not a general category, an animal to fall back on, certainly not any more than a wolf is, but that's another essay entirely.

Coyote is not a dog.

I volunteered with the SPCA as a dog walker for seven years straight. I have also raised coyotes from birth, before their eyes were open, trying to get a milk formula/turkey baby food mixture between those sharp little teeth while those sharp little paws raked and raked at me dexterously like a cat's forelegs.

The difference between a coyote and a dog couldn't be sharper.

Maybe it gets easier as you learn more about Coyote as trickster and you come to infer the real qualities in the animal itself. Maybe it's easier if you've worked with coyotes.

I've only ever confused coyotes (as people) with jackals, and occasionally as wolves.

If you're expecting an insightful and coherent essay on human animals, wait until I update with links to blogs outside of Dreamwidth. I'm writing the way I'd speak this out loud to someone, stream of consciousness. I'm way too sober for this shit.

When I joined the Werelist recently, I couldn't answer their questions at all:
What name[s] do you go by:
How old are you:
Your General Location:
Do you have any Hobbies or Interests:
Are you a Therian:
How did you find out about Therianthropy:
If you are a therian, what is your theriotype and why:
If you are not a therian, what made you interested in Therianthropy
Do you experience Shifts, such as a mental shift, phantom shift, etc:
Any other therianthropic experiences:
What would you like to gain from these forums:

Because I feel like making shit up. Those questions are painful. There is no possible way to answer those questions with a straight face and be true to myself. There has to be a better way to get to know someone, human or human animal, and that's by talking to them. You can offer someone a glimpse of your nature as I did, with fancy prose, but you can't offer them an all-encompassing neat rhetorical package based on a methodology that feels like psychoanalysis for the insane.

With Coyote, the devil is in the details. I knew the persona before I knew the name, and before I knew the animal.

I grew up on desert stories. I lived near the Six Nations reservation in Hamilton. (I'm not Native.)

I grew up without an interest in coyotes. I grew up without a proper family. In my formative years I gravitated to shadowy male figures who started to seem like a type over the years. The intimidating, faceless gambler in "Pup" by Wolvaurynomir (a young writer and a cougar person). Warren Ellis and his character "Trix" in Crooked Little Vein. Tom Waits. Todd A. of Cop Shoot Cop and later Firewater. The person named "extrastout" on LiveJournal. They're all Coyote Clan to me.

The accumulation of almost three decades of personality impressions in fiction and in real life that somehow amalgamate to a formative mental image of Coyote.

My own life experiences on the Coyote Road.

Once you recognize Coyote, you can't mistake him for any canine. Raven, likewise, isn't a fallback position for "birds in general".

It's true, though, that everyone has Coyote moments, or moments Coyote pays attention to and notices for what they are.

Coyote is all caught up in paradox, which is very interesting to a synaesthete like me. Canis lupus familiaris does no such thing to my brain. No fractals or spirals. Dogs in general don't have a synaesthetic signature, really.

There are songs and literature that tickle the psychology of Canis latrans as interpreted by an animal with a human brain. House of Leaves is one. Hacksaw. John Dies At The End. This Book Is Full of Spiders. The Psychology of Dexter. The Wiley Guide To Chemical Incompatibilities. Human Animals. On Killing. Hell, half of my bookshelf. You won't find this thesis in responsible literature, but there is a feeling of familiarity that you pick up on after a life with a coyote brain. It's not that every author or text has to pique my coyote sensibilities; far from it. Sometimes, though, that sense of familiarity is very welcome.

I want to keep developing this. I can give you incidences and stories and patterns, but what I can't give you is an essay that links everything in a linear fashion. I'll share what I know and remember piece by piece, because that's how I roll. You get to know people bit by bit over time, occasional glimpses into their nature, but you can't know everyone fully and immediately, nor should you.


  1. Wilhelm's Avatar
    Ah, you're a synaesthete, too. Very interesting. It definitely adds an interesting (and often amusing) perspective to perception...
    The stuff you write about those questions makes sense, as well. I sometimes try to organize my different 'coyote experiences' into certain categories but that doesn't even come close to the 'whole picture'. I could talk for hours about many different aspects of it but I think I would ultimately fail to convey what being coyote and Coyote 'really means' to me.
    Updated August 17th, 2015 at 09:04 AM by Wilhelm