Thursday, September 22, 2016

Invaded

Everyone needs a jolt of adrenaline every once in a while, right?  I've had a lot of stress and drama surrounding me lately, and since it all insists on happening simultaneously rather then waiting patiently in line for its turn, my way of dealing with the mass influx of unwanted excitement is to ignore it and hope it goes away.  It's amazing how many problems resolve themselves if I don't put any energy into them.

Anyway, I've been doing mindless activities to keep myself distracted from the bombardment of issues.  I was half asleep when I heard Scrappy run for the back door with a sense of urgency.  He's been sick a lot lately, vomiting and struggling to control his bladder and bowels.  It's about what I expect from an 18 year old dog.  We'll all be that way some day.

On a side note, I had been shutting Scrappy away in a bathroom while he ate his wet food so that the other dogs wouldn't try to steal it from him.  The other dogs are on dry dog food diets and Midge has a strict diabetic diet.  I heard crashing around in the bathroom and opened the door to find that Scrappy had knocked over the trash can and was eating trash out of it.  It's no wonder he's sick.  You'd think the wet dog food would be enough to satiate his appetite.  Now I have to keep all the trash cans up high.

Anyway, with him doing a tap dance at the back door, I knew there was no time to zip up and button my fly, which I undo in the evening to make room for bloating, so I ran for the door without my pants being properly attached to my waist and put leashes on Scrappy and Stewie.  We were standing next to the driveway in the dark while each dog peed, but then Scrappy kept trying to drag me deeper into the dark.  I let go of his leash so that he could find a location that satisfied him.  Turned out that he had a case of the runs.

Stewie and I stood on the driveway waiting for the symphony of squirting sounds to cease when we heard coyotes calling out way across the desert, followed by a different pack of coyotes howling on the other side of the neighborhood.  I was thinking about what a pleasant evening it was being cool with a gentle breeze when all of the sudden I heard several coyotes wail right next to me.  I jumped out of my skin!  My ears were ringing because their screams were so close and so loud.  I whipped around, but couldn't see anything beyond five feet in front of me.  Then I heard them running toward us.

I had no time to bend over and pick up each dog.  I had to just run, grab Scrappy's leash up off the ground where he was squatting, and drag both dogs by their collars while my pants fell down a little bit more with each stride.  Poor Scrappy wasn't even done relieving himself.  As I was running through the garage, I could still hear multiple coyotes hot on our trail.  Their paws were now off the rock part of our driveway and on the concrete part, which is the last part before they enter the garage.

Scrappy can't run because of his arthritis, so I was literally dragging him across the slick garage floor.  He was trying to wiggle out of his collar and I was praying that he would not be able to do so, because once he slipped loose, he'd fall behind and get pounced on.  As soon as I reached the garage door button, I pushed it to close it, opened the door to the house, hauled both dogs in and locked it behind us.

That was the scariest close call I've ever had with coyotes and my dogs.  Coyotes aren't scary during the day, because I can see them and they can see me, and all it usually takes is a little eye contact to scare them off, but at night they travel in packs and are on the hunt for food.  They can sneak up on me in the dark and snatch one of my dogs in the blink of an eye, especially if they become aware that I can't see them.

Technically, you're not supposed to run from a pack of coyotes.  You are supposed to make yourself big and make a lot of noise, however, I didn't have that option with two dogs in tow.  I seriously doubted I could have stopped them from snatching Stewie or Scrappy, because it was apparent that they were already zoned in on them.  Coyotes are like horses.  When they are hungry, everything around them disappears except for the food.

They haven't been around much during the summer, but now that fall is upon us, I'll have to take one dog out at a time in the dark and take a flashlight and some kind of noise maker or long stick with me.  We have several outdoor lights and floodlights, but they don't extend far enough out beyond the driveway for me to see what is out there.  We have bunnies-a-plenty at our place, and they are attracting the bobcats and coyotes.  I'm pretty sure the snakes are out now too, because I heard a bird making a distress call in my neighbor's back yard yesterday.  Whenever I've heard that particular noise, which kind of sounds like an angry duck quacking non-stop, I've always found the bird trying to chase a snake off.

This morning I found lots of coyote scat and pieces of beaver tail cacti littered all over the driveway and street, almost as if the coyotes were so hungry and thirsty that they were willing to chew on cactus.  I also found some spit up cacti in the horse arena, and they tried to drag one of my orange traffic cones out of the round pen.  I put those away in the tack room to avoid future theft.  Sadly, I also found a cottontail -- not the whole bunny -- just the tail in the round pen, and only four of the five regular rabbits showed up at the horse's feeding time.   The coyotes always bite off the tails and leave them behind.  I suspect that they've learned from experience that they choke on them.

Fortunately, "my bunny", the one who lets me pet it, was waiting for me by the tack room door, but I have no illusions in understanding that her days are numbered.  Every summer we collect a crowd of rabbits only to have them eradicated by predators throughout the fall.

6 comments:

Kathryn Little said...

Ahw. That's sad, even if your understanding is very pragmatic. Scary encounter with the coyotes!

Cheryl Ann said...

You are wise not to take the chance of coyotes grabbing your dogs. Several years ago, people walking their dogs had them snatched off their leashes by coyotes.

Hubby and I were out taking photos yesterday afternoon and a pack of them started howling right across from where we were taking photos. I used to walk there in the mornings. At first, one coyote would be out. Then, two. One morning I looked up and there were.. 4! ACK!

Yes, you did the right thing. They are much bolder now looking for food...please protect yourself, too. Two women here in our desert were bitten by coyotes.

Take care! My ankle is healing, but it is taking time...
Cheryl Ann

TeresaA said...

yikes. When we first built our barn and Irish was in there by himself I was in the barn with him and the dogs. I had the doors shut because it was january. All of a sudden there were coyotes howling right outside the door. It was very eery. And scary- a young girl was killed by coyotes here. Our coyotes are the size of large dogs because of inbreeding with dogs and/or wolves.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Well, that's pretty scary! I've never had them get that close or on the attack. They just trot through the pastures and pay no attention to us. We will hear them howling when they make a kill and drag it to the woods bordering the farm some nights. There was one who was checking out my daughters dog Gunnar when he was a puppy on a rope outside but he didn't make a move and Gunnar is gigantic now so he's safe. The coyotes around here are huge because they bred with larger dogs or wolves too. Be careful!

ellie k said...

Coyotes are showing up here more and more lately, usually here in Florida we don't see more then a couple every few months. The gators are every where. Dogs cannot be trusted out around ponds and lakes now, some of the gators are really long. They are still on the endangered list but do sell tags once a year for a hunt. My son in law has cattle in a field with a pond for there water and the gators are coming right out of the water and taking new calves as the cows drop them. Since they are protested he is not "suppose" to shot them, the field is way off the road so you know he "never" shoots one.

Linda said...

The coyotes have gotten out of hand, it would seem. They kill my cats. I've had them challenge our lab, but since we got Irish Wolfhounds, they leave the dogs alone.