This isn’t the post I had planned on writing next, but I still can’t figure out how I want to write that one and I need to get back to writing.
When I was little, my family frequented a local natural history museum. That museum had an exhibit on fauna native to the area. That exhibit featured many animals, some stuffed and some live. One of the live animals was a coyote. She was kept in a small enclosure with one glass wall at the end of the exhibit. The enclosure wasn’t big enough for her to get up to full speed if she wanted to. She used to pace the length of her enclosure next to the glass and I could feel the frustration radiating from her as she walked.
I was too young to understand why she was frustrated and how horrible it must have been for her to be trapped in that tiny room all day, but I did understand the feeling. I was also frustrated and trapped in a life full of beatings that I didn’t know how to stop. I wanted to help her, so I did the only thing I knew how to do. I walked with her. I kept pace with her and stayed by her side for as long as my parents allowed me to stay in the exhibit; which was usually a good length of time because they and my brother enjoyed watching the river otters playing in the artificial river under the floor. I like to think my coyote friend took some comfort from my company; I know hers helped me.
This wasn’t the first time I’d tried to help animals who were hurting, physically or emotionally. And it wasn’t the last. But it was the most memorable and the longest lasting such relationship. Even now, when I know she must have been dead for years, I miss her.