Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Heart-stopping moment!

This morning, I took the dogs out in the pasture as always. Just as I passed the creek (about 1/4 of the way down the 5 acre field), a coyote awoke from where he had been sleeping in Martin’s old hole under a tree a hundred feet or so further on. The dogs were busy at the creek and didn’t notice, and I was able to distract them long enough for the coyote to make it up the hill and through the fence into the woods at the back of my property.

I thought it was safe to continue our walk, so I did....but as soon as we neared the hole, Sadie caught the scent and TORE off up the pasture....AND RIGHT THROUGH THE FENCE INTO THE TREES BEYOND!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I could hear her bark getting fainter and fainter as she got further away, and my heart sank. I would have to take all the others back to the house (time consuming with slow poke Belle and Oliver), get the car, and go around to the next rural road where she might exit the woods, and hope I could find her. This, of course, happened on a morning when I had to leave extra early to give my university students their final exam. Not an option to call in sick - though sick is what I felt.

I had been calling her from the moment she took off.....and tried one last call from the fence, just as I was about to head for the car. Miraculously, I suddenly heard thrashing around in the trees and – voila – one furry bad-dog-for-taking-off, good-dog-for-coming-back Sadie pops up out of the trees, big grin on her face.

“See, mom, I protect our property real good, don’t I? That coyote ain’t nevah comin back!!!”

Of course, she couldn’t get back in through the wire fence the way she got out (coyote is slimmer than she, and the broken wires point away from our pasture), so it took a bit of finagling to find a place to lift up the fence and haul her 70 pound ass through without her taking off again.

Blood pressure back to normal. Tomorrow morning (when I also have to leave extra early to give another class their final) I shall have her on the long lead for the pasture walk. I don’t want to block the hole in the fence because the coyotes come in by the creek and could get cornered (and subsequently will attack) if they ran up the hill and found themselves blocked.

Scary, scary, scary. Hmmmm.....I could fatten Sadie up so she can't get through there any more (she would like to be fattened up!); I could keep her on leash at all times (she wouldn't like that); I could make her a "daisy collar" as I once did for another perpetual slip-through-the-fence dog (she'd probably be fine with that, but it takes a lot of work, time and materials which I don't have right now); or I could put an end to the pasture walks (NONE of them would like that!). So we'll take some basic precautions and just continue to work really hard on her recall, since next time she takes to the chase it could be on a hike on an unfamiliar island trail.

I think this dog should have joined search and rescue in her younger years - she picks up a scent and there's no stopping her! Must have been a hound dog in the woodshed when that one was conceived!

(Oh, and for those who are wondering: I haven't forgotten about the pics and stories of the piggies' moving day - just haven't had time to download and sort through the 60 or 70 pics I took! Soon...I promise....soon. Fifteen term papers to go, and a hundred and something final exams)


Anonymous said...

WOW how scarry for you Jean. BAD SADIE. Don't do that again and get your Mom's blood pressure up.

PS one good thing about your move. There are no coyotes on VI.

Black Jack's Carol said...

The same day you posted this, I saw a coyote cross over a busy street, not far from a trail we were entering with Black Jack. Lots around, I think. Very glad Sadie came back safely!