Jackie Coyote's 15-Year Anniversary at PAWS
Animal Stories from All-Creatures.org


PAWS Performing Animal Welfare Society
May 2017

jackie coyote

It was in 2002 that a small, human-dependent coyote (pictured above) first arrived at PAWS. We named her Jackie. She had been found by the side of a road by a well-meaning person who, instead of leaving her alone or taking her to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, took Jackie home and fed her with a bottle as if she were a young domestic dog. In a home setting, with intensive human contact, Jackie quickly became very attached to the person who found her, losing her natural fear of people. This made her a poor candidate for successful return to a life in the wild.

It is critically important for young coyotes to learn from their own mothers how to survive. Wild mothers often leave their small pups alone and hidden for extended periods of time while they look for food. When people come across these pups they may mistakenly think they have been abandoned or orphaned, and attempt to intervene. Unfortunately, once a young coyote becomes habituated to people it is extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to completely "re-wild" them. They will always remember that people are a source of food and shelter. If a hand-raised coyote is released into the wild there is always a chance the animal will seek human attention and may end up being killed because coyotes are often seen as a danger to humans and pets.

jackie coyote

Jackie's enclosure at our Galt sanctuary is filled with tall grasses to hide in and soft soil for digging. She likes to curl up and watch the world from hiding spots she has created among tufts of grass. Although she remains rather aloof with most of her keepers, she seems to enjoy visits from PAWS' co-founder Ed Stewart and veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai. Jackie was also especially fond of PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, who often "sang" with Jackie, resulting in a joyous display of tail wagging and howling from this sweet coyote.

One November morning just over a year and half ago, Jackie suffered a stroke. It was a sudden and devastating event that rendered her partially paralyzed and disoriented. Because of her trust and affection for Dr. Gai, whom she literally leaned on for support while re-learning to stand and walk, she gradually regained her strength and mobility over a period of several weeks. (Read more about Jackie's stroke and her journey back to health -  Jackie Coyote: A Story of Hope and Resilience).

Thanks to her strength and determination, as well as supportive medications and nutritional supplements, Jackie recovered well from this setback and was soon back to her playful, curious self. In terms of coyote lifespan, Jackie is considered elderly and although she has a hitch in her gait due to neurologic damage from the stroke, she is content and active and still enjoys visits with her favorite people.

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