I received a phone call shortly after three o’clock in the morning. – No, it was not Senator Clinton. – It was a male friend to whom I had lent a new book. I had read an early galley of a book about a coyote and I wanted some male opinions. I thought that the book was wonderful but I was biased. I am a ‘dog person’.

One of the first of the ‘guys’ that I made read the book had absolutely no interest in reading a book about a coyote. He’s a computer engineer. If the book was about some new computer thing, he was all for it. If it was a sports related book, then it was ‘no problem’. For a book about someone raising a coyote, it took much persuading, with the promise of cold draft beer and pizza in the future.

When I answered the phone, my friend delivered this pithy commentary: “I just finished reading. The book is great. You owe me two pizzas because it made me tear up.” *Click*

The book is that good.

The book centres on Charlie, an orphaned coyote. Fate connects an orphaned coyote with a city girl, Shreve Stockton. This story unfolds in the cattle country of Wyoming. In this book, a central character is Eli, a cat. Eli is integral to Shreve raising this coyote pup.

It is the most improbable trio – a city girl, a cat and an orphaned coyote. It is a story of growth. The young coyote forces Shreve to make important personal decisions. Raising an orphaned coyote is not a Disney adventure. Sometimes it is just plain tough, without the promise of a happy ending. Sometimes, it is scary. This is a ‘learn-as-you-go’ process.

For some internet people, this adds to their attachment to Charlie, Eli and Shreve. Through text and beautiful exquisite photography, Shreve has been documenting this story on her website, The Daily Coyote. This is an ongoing saga. Recently, a new member of the family has been added with Chloe, a young pup. At this point, you might think of this book as an animal story. In part, it is. However, there is more – much more. It is a chronicle of personal growth for Shreve Stockton. It is also a story of loyalty – and yes, it is a ‘love story’.

Perhaps my friend who called in the early morning hours inadvertently paid Shreve Stockton the highest compliment. When he returned the book and checked to see when the promised pizza was forthcoming, he asked if I knew when Ms Stockton would be “publishing her next Charlie book“. That is high praise indeed.

Catherine Forsythe

Recommended Buy: Shreve Stockton’s Book about Charlie (The Daily Coyote)