The True Story of Smoky, the tame coyote

Good Morning (or afternoon or evening)!

How I love the American West and how I love the stories that came out of that long ago West.  This is one that I thought I’d share today — the story of a tame coyote, Smoky.

This story comes to us from James Willard Schultz (Apikuni), who wrote the book BLACKFEET AND BUFFALO.  It’s a true story of himself and his son who found a coyote pup and regardless of how others kept telling him that the animal couldn’t be tamed, he decided to keep the pup and try to tame it.

There was a saying in the old buffalo days, and both whites and Indians agreed that wolves could sometimes be tamed, but not a coyote…never.  An old man named Bill Weaver once said, “plumb wild an’ trech’r’us no matter how careful you was in tryin’ to gentle ’em.”  Now, this all happened in the White Mountains in Arizona.  Schultz’s son, Hart, found the pup…a male, who had been separated from its mother and was on the verge of starving.  Taking pity on it, he fed the animal, making its first meal a big stack of pancakes and bacon.

At last, Smoky had found a home.  The first thing Schultz and his son did was make a shed for him and tie him to a thirty foot chain.  The chain was to keep him from running away.

Luckily they had a dog — a female — Zora, and so Smoky at least had company.  Now here begins some things I didn’t know about coyotes.  They eat more than dogs and they are extremely fast.  (I guess they have to be.)  Darting here and there, Schultz often described him a a streak of grey.  He was also a joy, according to Schultz.  He loved being petted, he greeted his “family” with happiness, and he often licked their faces, showing them his love.

Eventually Schultz determined to set Smoky free, afraid he would leave.  But Smoky didn’t stray.  He kept with his friend, Zora, and they roamed the forest together.  But unfortunately some things can’t be helped and when Schultz’s neighbor bought some chickens, and when Smoky caught five of them, including a prize rooster, Smoky found himself again chained.  But oh, how he enjoyed his outings.

He was swifter than Zora, Schultz’s dog and when they took him hunting, Schultz again describes him as a gray flash — he was everywhere at once, exploring everything.  Once he caught himself a skunk and promptly ate him, then went about trying to get rid of the stinch.  He never again caught a skunk.

Smoky soon became the best hunter and retriever that Schultz ever had.  He would corner prey, then wait for Schultz to come and make the kill.  He loved the crack of the gun, rushing to seize the prey and bringing it to plop at Schultz’s feet.  No one starved while Smoky was on duty.

Interestingly, Smoky got along well with women — he loved them all.  But he took an instant dislike to many of Schultz’s men friends and he would not let any man except for Schultz and his son near him and certainly not one of  those men would think of petting him.

Now here’s the part I really didn’t know and found very interesting.  Did you know that coyotes (and wolves too) only mate in the month of February and the early part of March?  That’s it.  Any other time, forget it.  Schultz tried to mate Smoky with their dog Zora, but it was summer time and Smoky wouldn’t have anything to do with her.  Can you imagine if humans were that way?  Thank goodness we are not.

What happened to Smoky?  One day while Schultz and his son were out hunting, they happened upon 3 other coyotes.  Smokey took after them and didn’t return for minutes, then hours. Schultz and his son were worried.  Were they going to lose him?  Had he deserted them to return to his own kind?  Filled with loss, Schultz and son stopped hunting and turned back for home.  But then, they hadn’t gone too far when suddenly in a flash of gray fur Smoky dashed upon them and commensed to licking their faces, whining and whining and running around them in joy.  Then suddenly, he went off a distance, looking back at them as though to say, “Well are we going to hunt or what?”  It was a beautiful moment.  Schultz writes that he realized that Smoky loved them even more than his own kind.  Or perhaps Schultz and his son had become his own kind.

So in this same vein, I thought it would be fun to talk about our pets.  I absolutely love my animals.  I have cats and dogs and when my kids were young we had a parakeet.  And to me, these animals are family.  How about you?  Do you have a pet?  Someone you love very dearly?

Come on in and let’s talk. Leave a post.  I’ll be giving away a free book once again to some lucky blogger.  And I’d love to trade stories about our “babies.”  Maybe I’ll tell you the story of how one of my sister-in-law’s cats saved her life…  True story.  So come on in.  Leave a post.  Oh, off to the right here is a copy of the cover of THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF.  Hero’s name:  Gray Coyote.

Website | + posts

KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
Please refer to for all contest rules.

34 thoughts on “The True Story of Smoky, the tame coyote”

  1. Enjoyed reading the coyote story.
    I live in Arizona and now I am feeling very sorry for the animals in the forests that are burning in Northeastern Arizona. That area has a lot of elk, deer and bears. Wonder where they will escape to if they do?
    I have had dogs in my life forever it seems, and they have proven to be true friends.

  2. Mornin’ Joye!

    My life seems to be filled with cats and dogs — we did have a parakeet for a while — who talked up a storm — but parakeets are fragile it seems and he wasn’t with us for long.

    Sure do love my cats and dogs, however. Good friends.

  3. I very much enjoyed this story. I don’t have any pets of my own, but my oldest brother has a dog and so does a few of my other relatives and friends.. My niece has cats…
    I call them my furry “neices and nephews”…as when I get cards for different occasions, thier names alwlays appear on the card too… Animals I think feel what humans are going through… dogs, I think are specially intuative to human feelings. Iknow that recently, when my mom passed away, my brother’s dog could feel our grief and was especially attentive to us. Always coming over and laying his head on our laps as if to say,’I know..I miss her too”…

  4. We don’t have any pets right now other then fish in the house and in a pond in the back yard. We have kept birds before and also cats. Birds are my favorite. They make such neat pets but are very fragile. We had a dog when I was growing up that my brother found in a land field, his name was Mutt. He was with us for many years and I will never forget him, great pet.

  5. Morning Kathleen,

    I couldn’t agree more. I forget when I discovered that dogs and cats seemed to sympathize with you. I was quite small. In fact, many of the pictures of me when very small show me with some cat in my arms. 🙂 I recall having as many as 13 or more Johnny Junior cats (gray & black cats).

  6. Hi Quilt Lady!

    Yes, they are great friends. I remember when I was very small — about 2 or 3 years old — I overheard my mother and father talking about taking the newborn kittens out and drowning them.

    So I hid the kittens. All day long my brother and sister and mom and dad looked for those kittens until finally someone noticed that I was cool and composed. Someone followed me and I had put the kittens in a drawer, checking up on them ever so often.

    I have always loved to have animals around me as friends. 🙂

  7. Used to see coyotes all of the time where I live until they built up alot of the farmland…
    Love animals, always had pets since I was born. My fav and best friend when I was younger was my parrot Oscar. I received Oscar as a gift when I was around 11. Was told he was a boy and his name was Oscar… found out years later he was a she when there were eggs in the bottom of the cage. I loved that bird and it broke my heart when he became sick and passed away.
    So many other pets through the years each with their own personalities and quirks… We even have regulars (wild animals) that visit our yard everyday… right now watching little quail visiting with their parents… 😀

  8. Afternoon, Karen,
    Spent a hot morning picking raspberries and pruning dead cane. It is just too hot this year to do much outside. First we complained about the rain and now we haven’t had any to count for almost 2 weeks. Add two weeks of 90+ weather and things are burning up. The ground is like rock and I can’t even weed or plant.

    Pets: We have always had them. Made two cross country moves with cat, dog, and rabbit. We were up to 8 rabbits, 2 cats, and 4 dogs at one time. We have had gerbils, rats, mice, hamsters and guinea pigs. At the moment we have 3 dogs, 2 cats, one python, and 6 peacocks with 5 eggs being mothered. We really need to get rid of some peacocks. The pen isn’t big enough and there are too many males. The dogs are my favorites. Our lab is 15 years old and slowing down. I know we will loose her in the not too distant future and it is going to break our hearts. She is such a sweetheart. She was from the first litter of dogs we fostered for the local animal shelter. Our little terrier mix is from the last litter we fostered. She is 10 or so and a typical yappy nut. She is a good dog if you can ignore the noise. Our third dog is a 2 year old pit bull that is our son’s. She was hit by a car when she was about 7 months old and had her back broken above the hips. After a week or so she could just flip her tail. Right now she can run so fast, no one can keep up with her. The vet can’t believe it. She is protective but not aggressive, a nice dog. Anyone comes into our yard gets a chorus of barks and then the peacocks join in. Best alarm system you could ask for. The cats are just that, cats. They go their own way and only want to be petted or snuggle when I have black clothes on and they can shed all over them. The snake is the easiest of them all. She stays in her big terrarium and lets us know when she is hungry. She is great for use in classrooms.

    If we want more variety, we go down the road to our daughter’s house. There we have dogs(5), cats (20+-), 7 llamas, 1 pig, 1 horse, 2 frogs, 1 rabbit, ducks, chickens, 1 emu, 2 meat sheep, 4 goats. I think that is all. The cost of feed, necessary even when there is pasture, has gotten so high. It is almost twice what it was a year or so ago. Our other daughter has one cat. That is enough. It is well loved and taken care of. She is the smart one.

    They make good, sympathetic, non-judgmental friends. What more could you ask in return for taking good care of them and giving them attention. It just gets a bit crowded with a 70 pound lab or 65 pound pit bull on your lap. And of course, the terrier thinks she can squeeze in with them.

    Have a great week, everyone.

  9. What a fun, wonderful post, Kay. I loved reading about that little guy!

    We had three beautiful Lab retrievers, all who now live with God. Our two black Labs passed on quite close together, so we’re still healing from the loss. I “immortalized” them, kind of, with the black Lab in my novella Redeeming Daisy.

    Since then I’ve “adopted” (meaning: support by $) a wolf in the wild, a polar bear, a sea turtle (she is tagged and I get reports; we got to name her.) and three donkeys at a sanctuary in the Holy Land.

    I so love animals. Sometimes more than people LOL.

  10. Hi Kay, Have to add my two bits.
    Right now I have 2 of my own cats, a neighbor cat who stays with us, the cat, who belongs to the house owner, has adopted me, but my own cats beat the crap out of her, when she is out and about. (Oh, the jealous ones). Then we have two dogs. One is about 12 or so. He’s a Chow mix with a purple tongue (that’s how we know), and all black, long hair. The other is a Pug/Italian Greyhound mix, short hair and an indoor/outdoor dog. They all love me. Is it because I feed them?

    In the past we have had Dingo/Queensland mix, Corgie, Australian cattle dogs, as many as 5 horses that were team roping horses.
    Now, the same children who team roped, have around 80 horses and mules they use to pack. They still have their team roping horses, only better ones.

    We’ve always had dogs, cats, horses and mules around us. Dogs in the back of pickups is our usual scene, pulling a loaded horse trailer. To me that is a beautiful sight.

  11. I very much enjoyed reading this story. I love animals. I always had cats and dogs. Since being married, I have had only dogs. I have 3 right now. My dogs are like children to my husband and I.

  12. I was so afraid the story wasn’t going to have a HEA! Goodness, I could talk all day about my animals. I’ve had two wonderful dogs – a beagle and a rescue. The rescue was the sweetest dog ever and I had her for 17 yrs. 16 yrs. ago a stray mama cat and 3 kittens were in my back porch eating bread and popcorn that had fallen from my bird feeder. That started my life with rescues/ferals. I’ve cared for, fixed, found homes for more than I can count. I’ve had 7 indoor cats at one time and at least 3 permanent females outside with male strays that come and go. My dearest cat was rescued in the middle of the night – the mother left him for me covered in motor oil. Oh, the noise that little kitten made. After a bath in Dawn and a trip to the vet I fed him with a babydoll bottle. He use to stay on my shoulder under my long hair. I had him for only 13 years before a sickness took him last year(his mother had the same illness outside and I blame the oil). It’s so painful to lose them but I couldn’t live without them now!

  13. All of my cats passed away of old age. I agreed to cat sit for three month while our neighbor was in rehab.
    That was 10 months ago–so guess I have a cat again.

  14. Hi Colleen!

    Had friends once who had a parrot who had an entire conversation with a UPS guy while they were gone. They met the frustrated guy in the drive as they pulled into their house. Hilarious story — true story. We get wild animals here, too, although mostly possums or racoons. 🙂

  15. Pat, I so enjoyed reading about all your animals. Some of those, I must admit, I haven’t had as pets. Our dogs (2 of them) are from the Blackfeet rez (they run wild there) and they are big and adorable. But they stay outside because we have cats that are inside.

    When I was in Florida, I had a cat that became my best friend. Still is. 🙂

  16. Hi Tanya!

    We have had other dogs, that are now with God, also, and of course I grew up with a dog. Like you, I adore these creatures, but I also love people, too (unless they are the sort of person who wants to kill off humanity — and there are such people). Thanks for the post.

  17. Ah, Mary J. Horses! How I would love to have a horse. I must admit that horses usually find that I’m a “sucker” and try to buck me or go under low branches to brush me off, but I love them nonetheless — despite being thrown many times. Sigh… Loved your post.

  18. Hi Becky!

    I so understand. Our cats and dogs are like children, too. In fact I call myself their mom and my husband their father. 🙂

    Thanks for the post.

  19. Hi Catslady!

    It was quite a nice story, huh? Like you we will rescue cats and dogs that come our way. Only one of our cats was gotten because we wanted one. The rest were rescues. Even my “baby” was rescued when I was attending classes in Florida. And one of our cats was rescued when I was touring with a book.

    I love them all. I must admit that the cats have us wrapped around the tiniest of their little claws. 🙂

    Loved your post!

  20. Karen,what a great post,loved it! I have a anti social cat named”Bugg”he doesnt like humans,an doesnt like to be held or petted,,,an we have a little dog named”Prissy”who is a great companion an buddy,

  21. Kay,

    I loved this post….Had never heard of it before…I have a cat named Feather…She is a diluted tort and I love him dearly. She sleeps with me at night, just my big baby

    Walk in harmony,

  22. Enjoyed reading about the pet coyote…Growing up in AZ. I’ve been to the White Mtns several times and have seen many animals there. As far as pets I am saddened to say that I had to put my Snoodle dog Sandy to sleep on Memorial Day..he was 19 years 8 months vet was always happy to see him and thought that he might make it to age 20…he was my friend and companion for 24/7/365… I miss him terribly. It is very hard when your pet has to go ….don’t think I could go thru that again.

  23. Hi Vickie!

    We had a cat like that — still have her — she was a rescue and ferel (did I spell that right)? Over time she thawed toward us — still doesn’t like being held, but boy does she love petting now and being close to us. 🙂 Maybe it will get better…or not. Either way, sure do love those guys.

  24. Hi Melinda!

    My husband and I often tease each other because our cats usually take up more room on the bed than we do. And often refuse to move… 🙂

  25. Oh, Jackie, my heart goes out to you. What a terrible thing to have to go through on Memorial Day. Sometimes (when you’re ready) a new addition helps.

    Thanks for your post. 🙂

  26. Hi Kay,
    I loved this story of Smoky! Thanks so much for sharing it with us today! You know, growing up, I was never allowed to have a dog because my 2 older sisters had had 2 dogs that had gotten killed. I always thought I was a “cat person”–and I do love cats, but I love all animals. However, my daughter got a dog 2 years ago that is part Great Pyrenees and part Anatolean Shepherd. He is my “GRAND DOG”–seriously! I don’t have any grand kids yet, and so he is like my baby now. He was very sick the first year of his life, and no one could figure out what was wrong with him. We ended up having to rush him to the veterinarian teaching hospital at Oklahoma STate University where they actually had a doctor who had seen this condition. It was what they call STEROID RESPONSIVE MENENGITIS. They put him on massive steroid doses and kept him for about 4 days, and here we are a year later, still on steroids (a very reduced amount) but he is nearly back to his old self again. He has the most expressive face and is so smart–he understands a lot of what we are saying. Now he is so much a part of our family, I don’t know what we’d do without him. He is staying with us right now while Jessica is selling her house in case they need to show it when she’s at work. I totally get people being dog crazy now. I am one of them! LOL
    Cheryl P.

  27. We have had so many animal babies in our house. Pigs, calves, kittens, chickens, pheasants, puppies, and a ground squirrel. My children were always bringinng me babies I needed to save. The ground squirrel lived to a ripe old age of 8 which is way longer than expected. Our latest cat and dog I have told about before but alas they are no longer with us and I miss them.

  28. Oh, Cheryl, me, too. What a wonderful story. Hopefully he will soon be off those steroids and as good as new. You don’t look old enough to have a fully grown daughter, you know. 🙂

  29. Good evening, Connie!

    Wow, so many pets. Our dogs lived to a ripe old age as did most of our cats — although we don’t know the exact age of some of our cats, since they were rescues.

    Thanks for the post!

  30. YOU MADE MY DAY! LOL I will be 54 next month. Some times I feel like I’m 154 instead. My kids are 21 and 24, and both will have birthdays in September. I enjoy my granddog, for now. Plenty of time for the grand kids to come along. LOL I don’t know if Embry (the granddog) will ever be totally recovered, but we are so thankful to have him for as long as the Creator sees fit and so thankful that he has made the recovery that he’s made. He is one of the most loving animals I have ever seen, to be so ferocious with strangers. he’s a fantastic watchdog, which is what Jessica needs. Actually that breed of dogs (the Great Pyrenees) is a herd dog, so we are now his herd. LOL
    Cheryl P.

  31. Oh Mary, I forgot to say, I read Jubal Sackett, and I had forgotten that about the buffalo until you mentioned it. I need to re-read those Sackett books. Those were just darn good.
    Cheryl P.

Comments are closed.