Book Review: “The Daily Coyote” by Shreve Stockton

dailycoyote

The Daily Coyote – A Story of Love, Survival and Turst in the Wilds of Wyoming is the story of a young city woman who trades the busy streets of New York City for the wilds of Wyoming, where she raises a ten-day-old coyote pup whose parents had been shot for killing sheep.

When writer and photographer Shreve Stockton moves back to New York City from San Francisco, she makes the trip across the country on her Vespa.  Along the way, she stops in the hamlet of Ten Sleep, Wyoming, population 300, and the wide-open spaces of the land and the beauty of the Bighorn Mountains capture her spirit.  After a few weeks of trying to settle back into her old city life, she listens to her heart, packs up her belongings and moves to Wyoming.

She develops a friendship that eventually turns to romance with a Wildlife Services employee whose job it is to protect lifestock by killing coyotes.  When he finds an orphaned coyote pup, he brings it to Stockton, who now has to make a decision.  She can either have the death of this pup on her conscience, since he is too young to survive on his own, or she can raise this wild animal in her twelve foot by twelve foot cabin, were she lives with her cat Eli.  With no experience raising and training a domestic dog, this fiercely independent city woman and the coyote she names Charlie forge an incredible bond, which is tested by Charlie’s sometimes unpredictable and even frightening behavior and his inherent wildness.  Despite some setbacks, the relationship between Shreve and Charlie deepens and evolves through mutual respect and becomes a testament to the strength of the bond between human and animal.

The author turned her diary of the daily challenges of raising Charlie, along with her breathtaking photographs illustrating the account of Charlie’s first year, into a successful blog, which became the basis for this book.  The book is a combination frontier adventure, love story, and a unique celebration of the bond between human and animal.  It is also a reflection on the nature of wildness versus domestication, as the author teaches the coyote to live with humans (and a cat) while Charlie settles Shreve’s wandering spirit.

And if you can’t get enough of Shreve and Charlie after reading this wonderful book, you can find daily photos of Charlie on the author’s wildly popular blog at http://www.dailycoyote.net .

6 Comments on Book Review: “The Daily Coyote” by Shreve Stockton

  1. Deborah E-P
    March 29, 2010 at 2:15 pm (9 years ago)

    When one’s very life is so deeply involved in the land & the responsibilities of caring for animals (especially “undomesticated creatures”) their perspective is different from people living disconnected from the realities that are faced by someone living a more “frontier style” life.

    People who chose this lifestyle are generally very grounded in their world, and must make practical decisions to accomplish their goals. This requires a dedication & commitment that is very different from the 9 to 5 lives so many people lead.

    As Ingrid said, I very much connected with Shreve’s spiritual side which came through so clearly in her way of relating her story.

    When one operates in the world on a intuitive level, versus a straight-forward mental approach, it allows for one to access instinctual responses to life and what is occurring in it to place us on the road less traveled.

    While Shreve certainly chose a path that is far different from many others, she has done it with a foot firmly planted in both worlds. One of practical hard labor, caring for her animals & the land while holding a deep connection to how the ripple effect impacts on the environment & the people whose lives have been touched by hers, through her writing. She has done all that while living alongside a 4-legged creature who has been many things to her, but has become above of all become a friend, guide & teacher in her life.

    I feel blessed to have read this book & come to know something of Shreve & Charlie’s life together & to know that the journey continues.

    Reply
  2. Ingrid
    March 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks for your beautiful comment, Deborah. It sounds like you, too, resonated with the spiritual undercurrent of the book. It’s subtle, but for me, it was a big part of what made the book so appealing to me.

    Reply
  3. Deborah E-P
    March 29, 2010 at 11:44 am (9 years ago)

    One can only tell a story of their own life from one’s own perspective – judgments & all. In this case it shows who Shreve was & is as an individual. She freely discusses how her own attitudes came from the way in which she was raised and I believe that the issues raised by Michelle are a part of what makes Shreve the strong independent person she so obviously is.

    As to the book, I loved it – wishing at times that my life included both the adventure & challenges that she faced in traveling across the country on a Vespa, only to discover the destination in my life wasn’t where I thought it was going to be. That was just a part of the story on Shreve’s travels which took her to Wyoming to meet her “cowboy”, who then brought Charlie into her life.

    Shreve Stockton shares her life, her heart & her soul in the journey undertaken with raising a young coyote. Through the wonder & joy, tears & sorrows, comes learning, awareness, discovery & enlightenment.

    Would that others will become awakened & allow themselves to fully embrace life’s challenges with the depth of this woman’s experience. Her strength of intelligence, compassion, wisdom, spiritual truth, along with a untamed heart, and spirit shine.

    Her writing style takes you along with her as she struggles to gain insight into herself, and the mindset of this young coyote, who’s wild instincts demand her full attention to the subtle nuances of his kind. At the same time it takes you into her relationship to herself, the man with whom she shares a relationship and a deep love for the wide-open range of Wyoming.

    This book came about through the pictures of Charlie, the coyote pup, which Shreve sent out everyday to family and friends, after he was brought to her at 10 days old. These photos were sent out under the heading of “The Daily Coyote”. She began blogging about her experiences, and as others shared them via the internet, offers for a book deal came her way. Reading her words gives us all an opportunity to learn along with her about choices made with a depth of courage, and hard won triumphs that many people would shy away from. Living on the range without all the usual amenities of central heat & air, depending on a woodstove for warmth in a tiny cabin, with no running water in the freezing cold winter months, meant that connecting deeply with her own insights was often crucial to her survival. Through it all was also a love story not only with Charlie, the coyote, but also with the man who brought him to her. His own journey of healing from the pain and the loss of his daughter are woven throughout the story, as Shreve’s presence in his life forces him face his grief and to find peace and understanding along the way.

    **********
    10 stars out of 10!

    I hope that everyone reading this will not only read her book but also read her blogs & check out her amazing photographs too!

    Reply
  4. Ingrid
    December 16, 2009 at 1:20 pm (10 years ago)

    Thanks for your comment, Michelle. I actually quite enjoyed getting to know Shreve through this book. Her independent spirit and willingness to so completely change her life really resonated with me. I like reading books with different points of views about situations and people, and while the choices she made were not necessarily choices I would be making, I enjoyed reading about a life so very different from mine. I felt that the book was as much Shreve’s story as it was Charlie’s. It would have been a different book if the focus had only been on Charlie.

    Reply
  5. Michelle
    December 16, 2009 at 12:38 pm (10 years ago)

    I read this book and though I did enjoy the theme of the unusual human-animal relationship, I was frequently distracted by the authors overwhelming opinions on how to live life. I felt the author was extremely hypocritical throughout the book, insisting that those leaving negative comments regarding her Charlie(the coyote) had no right to judge because they didn’t know her or Charlie and there for had no basis for comment. However, she had no quams about judging Mike(her boyfriend) and pointing out how he has wrongly handled the death of his daughter. Throughout the book there are many strong opinions on how Shreve feels people should act, not act, think, not think, etc and by the end of the book I was actually a little irritated with her. Her strong beliefs were honestly overbearing and really took away from what the story was actually supposed to be focused on, Charlie and Her. Though, Shreve may have moved from the city to a country lifestyle in Wyoming, she did not leave her narcissistic urban attitude behind. I guess you can take the girl out of the city, but not the city out of the girl. She’d tell you that I have no right to have an opinion on that though.

    Reply
    • Deb
      January 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm (7 years ago)

      Hi Michelle,
      I hadn’t thought of seeing Shreve’s comments and opinions as you’ve outlined them in your reply. I saw them as her viewpoint and she made no apologies for that. My experience even of direct contact with Shreve is that she is as accepting of others viewpoints as her own, as long as they aren’t harming anyone.
      In addition, those I know who live in the country can be just as judgemental as those who live in the city – often more so, in my experience. They may be more polite about discussing their opinions, but they hold them quite strongly and are not open to the opinions of others.
      That’s just my experience, though. It may be very different in different places.
      Deb

      Reply

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