For some reason, I've never been scared of coyotes. Wolves, yes. Coyotes? No. I mean, it's not like I would want to come across a rabid coyote while all alone on a pleasant evening walk... and it's not like I've forgotten my first experience with nightswimming where there was very little swimming by Emily and very much twining myself tightly around my companion when random howls began from the nearby vacant country field... but ever since becoming more familiar with dogs, learning their body language and reading about coyotes, I would say I'm more respectful of them than I am scared.
Which is why I didn't have a total panic meltdown last Friday when Casey and I were playing fetch in the woodsy area of Crown Hill near my home and Casey suddenly went tearing off towards the woods. Vaguely confused, I looked at the ball in my hand which had not yet been thrown, then back at the rear end of my rapidly retreating dog. Suddenly my gaze was caught by a flash of movement slightly ahead of Casey. Another couple of seconds identified it as a coyote. A coyote on which Casey was rapidly gaining as she chased it into the woods.
Initially I freaked out and called her name repeatedly. Each time I said her name it was more high pitched and frantic. Casey paid me about as much attention as the boy does when playing Peggle. So I took off in a dead sprint in the direction she was running. Reason (and the fact that I'm out of shape) reasserted itself in about 20 steps, and I stopped and realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do. So I waited and listened for any noise coming from the woods in which Casey had disappeared.
Three minutes later, Casey came bounding out of the woods towards me with a big silly grin on her face and immediately demanded that I throw the ball for her. I checked her over while she wiggled impatiently and tried to snatch the ball out of my pocket (bad dog!) She was fine. Not a scratch on her.
So I was somewhat amused yesterday as Casey and I headed home after another round of fetch and the neighbor across the street came out to warn me away from that particular grassy field.
"You'll wanna be careful, young lady. We've seen a coyote in that field almost every night."
I want to know what went through his mind when I said, "Thanks for telling me. We saw the coyote last week and my dog chased it off, but we'll be careful."
He cast a glance at Casey panting happily beside me and didn't say anything else as he headed back inside.
And I wonder where Casey gets her reputation...