Cassie the Corgi is not quite as large as a grown jackrabbit in a good foraging year. In the eyes of some, she is small, tender, fuzzy, and juicy-looking.
This evening we had a close encounter with a pair of those eyes. We were ambling up the backside of our block, taking in the balmy evening air, when who should come flying across the perpendicular street but a fine, muscular young coyote!
What (from any point of view other than a rabbit’s) an amazing and fantastic animal! It moved like a shadow, soundless and illusory. To come up to that pace, a German shepherd would have to launch into a gallop, but this wild dog’s gait was a smooth, even trot.
Coyotes inhabit our neighborhood. Unknown to most urbanites, they dwell in most districts of the city, and these days they’ve moved into most parts of the United States. A couple of years ago, neighbors were up in arms because we had a denning pair with a litter of pups, making them marginally dangerous. Coyotes who are in the business of raising young do not like to be interfered with by, say, your dog, and so they will ghost over a six-foot fence (easily!) and come after even a large dog.
As for the likes of Cassie the Corgi: dinnertime! Given enough hungry cubs to feed, a coyote will try to grab Fifi right off the end of your leash. Some reports have claimed coyotes have actually tried to snatch little dogs out of the arms of their doting owners. They also, on occasion, will go after small children, but those occasions are extremely rare.
The coyote was so focused on whatever it was chasing (cat?) or whatever it was running from (human?) that I don’t think it noticed us. Nevertheless, I picked up the Corgi and carried her the half-block back to our house. Tomorrow: remember to bring the pit-bull shilelagh! Gotta quit leaving that thing at home.
Photo: Coyote by Arizona Roadside, Marya