Where the Wild Things Were

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The Riders were joking around on our e-mail loop the other day about critters that creep us out after Cindy reported that her cats had brought a snake into the kitchen through the doggie door.  Yikes!  Of all the creepy critters, snakes seem the creepiest.  Boys learn early on that the surest way to get a satisfying shriek out of a girl is to surprise her with a snake.  I know, I know.  Talk about boys playing with snakes and all sorts of imagery springs to mind, which is why I have no doubt that somewhere along the line story tellers reversed roles between Adam and Eve.  Most girls don’t like snakes.

Spiders, lizards, mice, bees, bats—I’ve seen them all send girls shrieking.  I haven’t always appreciated the creepy-crawlies of the world the way I do now, but close encounters have taught me to keep my cool, and I’ve tried to pass that attitude on to all the kids in my life—especially the girls.  In a state of calm we can behave rationally.  Be calm, stand still, back off.  Unless it’s bent on destruction for some reason, let the critter go on its way.  No, don’t bring it in the house.  It’s a wild thing.  It needs its space.  “In wildness is the preservation of the world.”  I believe that.

I’ve been a supporter of the wildcat sanctuary in Minnesota, and I’ve learned that there are fewer restrictions on owning exotic wildcats than domestic dogs.  The sanctuary takes in big cats that people thought would cool pets.  The cubs are so cute, and won’t their friends be impressed.  Hey, “the most interesting man in the world” has one in his kitchen.  Well, you know where this tale leads. 

In part it led me to my Double D Wild Horse Sanctuary series with Special Edition.  I remember the first time I saw the movie “The Misfits” with Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift.  Broke my heart.  I’ve always loved horses, and I know them to be particularly sensitive animals.  (Did you know that most horse owners are women?)  When I first moved to the Dakotas I enjoyed going to horse auctions until—dude that I was—I learned that many of the horses were being sold for meat.  Domestic horses can still be sold as “killers,” but the Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act of 1971 ended the kind of roundup we saw in “The Misfits.”  Trouble is, these days there’s less space for free-roaming animals.  People aren’t satisfied to visit where the wild things are and then go back home.  They want to live there.  Like those cute wild cat cubs, the wild things are a novelty until they aren’t, and then where are they to go?  Sanctuaries.  Reserves.  Land set aside, like the Double D, which was inspired by South Dakota’s Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

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Hot off the press in paperback and now available for your e-reader, Cowboy, Take Me Away is the story of bronc rider Trace Wolf Track, Logan Wolf Track’s (Once a Father) older son and Skyler Quinn, a young widow left her with a pile of debt and a stepson who refuses to grow up.  Take a look at the first chapter

One randomly chosen commenter will receive a signed copy of one of the earlier books in the series, so let’s talk about wild things.  Tell us about your close encounters.  What critters scare you?  Which ones enchant you?  Do you think the world will have any wild places left in, say, 50 years?  Do we need them?  If so, what should we do to preserve them?

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About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in books, Cowboy, Take Me Away, giveaway, horses, rodeo, wild horses and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Where the Wild Things Were

  1. Kathleen says:

    I once came in contact with a racoon in our backyard. I let out a squeel that would have woken the dead, but my brother, who’s bedroom was faces that backyard never even woke up.. The racoon went one way and I went the other.. I waited to a few minuets, peaked around the corner to the backyard. He was gone and I made a dash for the back door.. I will never forget that day.

    • I think it’s the surprise that gets us. Gets the critter, too. They’re just as glad to get away from us as we are to part company with them.

      My memories of close encounters go way back, too. When we lived on Guam I ran into a shrew (actually, he ran into me, bounced off my leg) and an iguana, and both encounters are photographic memories. Another one is the caged bat a neighbor kept in her yard. It made no sense to me, and I remember asking what they did with it. “We just look at it.” It made no sense to me.

  2. cindy gerard says:

    I try hard, too, Kathy to instill appreciation for your wild critters in my grandchildren. but I do draw the line at snakes in the kitchen :o(

    I read the first chapter of your Cowboy Take Me Away. OMG. It was so amazing. You are amazing. I can’t wait to go out and buy this book! Thanks for always delivering a quality, entertaining, intelligent read. I know I can always count on you. And cowboys? Swoon…..

  3. Quilt Lady says:

    I don’t like snakes at all. The problem I have around here is groundhogs. They eat my tomatoes every year. I am afraid of them also because they seem to be mean. We caught one onece in a trap and it seem very mean. Your new book sound fab and I can’t wait to read it.

    • We have a groundhog hanging around here, too. Or maybe two. Maybe ten. They all look alike to me. Drives my dog nuts when he waddles past the door. But you know who really teases the dog? Mr. Fox. Sits down in the ravine yapping, “Nah, nah, catch me if you can.”

  4. kylie brant says:

    We used to get woodchucks in our back yard (we’re just a half a block off the river) and they are MEAN! I wouldn’t let me kids go outside when they were around. But the thing that creeps me out the most are bats. I mean flesh crawling, scream trapped in my throat bone chilling creeped out! I have a story (who doesn’t) but the entire species is out to get me and have proven it on numerous occasions!

    Good luck with the books!

    • Oh. Maybe that guy living in my yard is a woodchuck. We’re close to water, too. Must study up on this.

      Kylie, I loooove bats. I may let them move into my belfry soon.

  5. Barbara Elness says:

    When I lived in California, all I ever saw were birds and the occasional opossum, now that I live in Florida, my yard is teeming with squirrels, frogs, lizards, snakes, bugs and birds. I leave the snakes alone, except the couple that have fallen in the pool that I’ve rescued, and I was feeding the squirrels and birds until I had so much trouble with rats getting into my attic that the wildlife tech I hired to get rid of them told me to stop providing food for the rats – so no more feeding the cute squirrels and birds. I fish out other creatures from the pool (even though I have a screened enclosure), especially bugs, and if they’re still alive, I usually throw them back out into the yard in the hope that they’ll stay out there and not come back into the pool area.

  6. Hear that, Cindy? Barbara RESCUES snakes from her pool.

    I had to give up on feeding the birds because of the squirrels. They were cleaning out the feeders before the birds had a chance. I might try again, though. I have some new ideas.

    The climate in FL invites all comers. Unfortunately, the pythons left all their enemies back in Burma. And I gotta say, those walking catfish really creep me out.

  7. Michele says:

    The only critters that really scare me are dogs. Big dogs that come lumbering toward me, and I have no idea if they are friendly or not. I know, I’m a freak, but better safe (and turn and walk away from the dog) than sorry.

  8. Minna says:

    How about a bear? Haven’t seen him leave any paw prints on the road now, but he did at autumn, several times. He liked walking along our road a bit too much. To this day, I’m not sure if I saw him or not, but I could swear I saw him in the forest when I was driving along the road by bike. I didn’t excatly go back to check it out, though.

    • This sounds like my cougar sighting, Minna. I know I saw a creature in the back yard that looked like one and moved like one. Later I heard that a cougar had been sighted sort of in our area. Can I make the claim?

  9. catslady says:

    I just don’t like spiders and bugs that have a lot of legs – they move to fast lol. I tend to ferals and strays and that means I’m also feeding possums, raccoons, and once a skunk lol. I actually have a mouse or mole that lives under my house and have seen it feeding at the same dish as my outside cats so you know they’re all well fed lol. If I wasn’t so lazy, I would be a vegetarian. If it were up to me to kill anything for food, I couldn’t do it. And there’s not much worse than hearing about any animals that were tortured or starved.

  10. Helen Brenna says:

    Scorpions. Never met one. Never wanna meet one.
    And yes we desperately need wild spaces. I’m so glad we have so many national parks. Wish there was some way to encourage other countries to save their unique wilderness spots. With any luck the lure of tourist dollars will be enough incentive.

  11. Keri Ford says:

    Snakes. I have no use for snakes.

    Last year I started getting bees, which were freaking me out. Then grandpa told me to leave the bees alone. They would keep the horseflies away. Never shrieked at another bee. i have no horseflies OR wasps! I’ve learned to ignore them and taught son the same. They fly around our heads for about a minute, check us out, and then leave us alone for the rest of the day.

    • My grandson stopped getting all panicky after he tried standing still and it worked. The next day he did it again and proudly reported, “It worked again!” When we lived out in the country a honey farmer put some bees in our alfalfa. They’re busy little guys. No time for stinging people. They’re amazing creatures, and we’re in trouble if we don’t figure out what’s happening to them.

  12. I just happened across your blog while tag-surfing on wordpress, but I do have to admit I’m a bit of a sucker for a romance novel. 😀 I actually used to work at a wild horse rescue and sanctuary in southern California, which is where I adopted my mustang mare from. The lessons I’ve learned from working with wild horses have changed my life… and I wish everyone could have the experience, because it really helps you to find things in yourself that you didn’t know were there, and to improve yourself so you can be better for the horses. I’ve worked with probably a hundred wild horses by now… each one is different, but each one also deserves a chance, if not on the range then among humans.

    Regrettably, when I worked in rescue there were no Traces anywhere to be found. Mostly cowgirls and dogs and a lot of desert dust. ;D

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