Cheney Free Press -

By John McCallum
Managing Editor 

Coyotes not only ones howling on Malloy Prairie


Last updated 4/23/2020 at 6:39pm

CHENEY – Trivia question for you. The Malloy Prairie Howlers are which of the following:

A) A one-time attempt at a West Plains football team,

B) An a cappella singing group,

C) A now defunct automobile club,

D) People expressing themselves for a cause.

If you answered D, you're pretty much in the know about all things related to COVID-19. While not an official name, residents along Malloy Prairie Road around Mary Ann Cooley - including Cooley herself - have been stepping outside each night at 8 p.m. for the past 18 days and howling in support of health care workers who are on the front lines in battling the pandemic.

How, when and where the practice started isn't exactly traceable. An April 1 (no fooling) story in The Hill noted the practice taking place the night before across the nation, adding it was loosely organized through Facebook and NextDoor website groups.

The article noted one Facebook group started in Denver, Colo. generated 64,200 followers within four days, and the story itself garnered 56,484 shares. The howling has been heard from coast to coast and across the waters, with people in Switzerland, Italy and Brazil reportedly taking part.

Out on Malloy Prairie, Cooley said she first heard about it on Facebook, and then from a niece in California who said four of the ranches in her area were doing it. Various reasons for getting out and howling have been cited, but Cooley said the reason folks are engaged in the practice on Malloy Prairie is it's something people can do to support health care works while at the same time reminding people trapped in their homes due to social distancing requirements enacted to fight the disease that they are still a community.

"It's something we can all do together as a group," she said. "We can't get together with our neighbors, but this is something we can do. We can howl for two minutes."

Cooley said she has set her alarm for 7:59 p.m. each night for the past nearly three weeks to remind her to go outside and get ready to voice her support. Some of her neighbors are over a quarter mile away, yet heard perfectly in the still night air. At times, participants have included those of the four-legged variety as animals have gotten into the act.

"The minute it hits eight, you hear the howling," she said.

Cooley said she's had friends come from as far away as the Five Mile neighborhood in North Spokane to listen and take part. While it might be one of the odder practices to come out of the pandemic, Cooley said it generally creates the same reaction on most people who take part.

"I have a neighbor who told me, 'Every time I howl, I smile,'" she said, adding she has the same reaction.

John McCallum can be reached at


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