Cryptozoology is the study of mysterious animals, particularly ones such as Bigfoot and the Lock Ness Monster, who may or may not exist. I've always been a doubter where Nessie is concerned, although I think there is a small possibility that something like a bigfoot exists. Certainly, some weird animals are still being discovered in our modern age. Witness the Coelacanth, a very large fish that was thought to be extinct for something like 70 million years until a living specimen was caught in the 1930s.
The Ozark Mountains, where I grew up, carry their share of stories of strange creatures. I've written a few stories about them, and my novel, Cold in the Light, plays with that theme.
Recently, my niece Sarah sent me and some other folks a few pictures of a strange canine-type of animal that had been shot in the Ozarks. These pictures eventually wound up in the hands of Loren Coleman, who studies stories of cryptic creatures. He posted the pictures and some information about the animal on a website called Cryptomundo.com. And for reasons I'm not quite clear on, he mentions my name and talks about Cold in the Light. Thanks, Loren. I appreciate the mention.
By the way, my guess for what the thing is? I think it's a coy-dog, a hybrid between a coyote and a dog.