In February it rains and rains and rains while unhappy pets sit at windows wishing they weren’t stuck inside. Yards are muddy and sludgy and spotted with pools of standing water. An especially large pool developed in the back corner of our yard. Pepper sat by the window, patiently at first and less patiently as the day dragged on. She sat, then she paced, she sat, then she paced – then she ran to the back door.
“MUST! GO! OUT!” she cried, jumping up and lunging into the door to make sure I understood.
Oh what the heck, I thought. It’s been a long day cooped up. “Go on and chase a squirrel,” I said to her, opening the door. “Just try to stay out of that big pool of muddy water – the – one – you’re – heading – right – towards – ”
Then I saw what she’d seen: a beautiful muddy-hued coyote trotting along the edge of the pooled water. The coyote looked smallish but strong – about Pepper’s size – with a coat of brownish grey.
Pep gave furious chase through the water while the coyote sprinted back and forth at the edge of the yard – a blur of water, fur, and mud. The neighbor’s Great Silver Fence prevented the coyote’s escape out the back of the yard, the escape she clearly wanted to make.
For all the alleged wily skills of its kind, the coyote seemed trapped in a bad mindset. She ran back and forth along the length of the fence as the rain came down and her pursuer nipped at her heels. I feared she would turn and make a stand.
“Peppy!” I screamed. “Peppy, come back!!”
Finally the coyote made a strategically sound decision. Hemmed in by the Great Silver Fence, she sprinted into the Bamboo Forest just ahead and slipped away. Pepper came to a hard stop. The Bamboo Forest is one place Pepper will not go, as it lies beyond the Invisible Line.
Pepper stared a while then returned to the house. I had several towels ready for the wet, muddy-hued creature at my back door.
“Oh Peppy,” I said, giving her a marginally effective clean-up and rub-down in the kitchen. “Didn’t you hear me calling?”
“Wow, what a dog,” she non-answered. “A dog but not a dog. Strong and fast and fierce – I could tell she was fierce, even though she ran from me.”
“Yes, that was a coyote – a wild thing,” I explained. “You surprised her and she ran. But maybe another time she wouldn’t have, especially with spring on the way – and pup season. There is no need to chase a coyote, ever, Pep! Just back away from it, slowly.”
“Hmmm,” Pep replied.
“Seriously!” I said. “You should not be chasing a possibly dangerous coyote, and especially not in the mucky mud!”
“I didn’t mind the mucky mud one bit,” she replied. “And you did a great job cleaning me up! Also I think I learned something important. You shouldn’t run so hard and fast that you can’t see the way out.”
I snuggled the still slightly muddy Pep close. “You’re a smart pup,” I whispered in her ear.
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Top image of bronze dog, hat and umbrella in Torun, Poland, copyright here.
Second image of dog in boots, copyright here.
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