Sunday, May 27, 2007

HAPPY NOT REAL HAPPY

I took the dogs out for a bit of exercise on Thursday to the Ruins, as I affectionately call them. Happy, Douglas, Old Sigh and a new young pup named Mario. We walked our usual brisk walk down the wide path that leads to the old ruins of the mansion and beyond the ruins to the lake shore. I knew they would enjoy a dip in the water. Douglas performed as expected by immediately plunging in the cool water and swimming along the shore line as we walked the trail. At the waters edge, Sigh went in for a swim and to my surprise, Happy plunged in and swam out to link up with Douglas. This is out of character for her. She was swimming perfectly. She returned and I tossed a piece of wood out far into the water and told her "get it". She did so and returned the wood to me. Amazing! This is a terrier not a water dog. All gathered about me on shore and played and ran. Douglas and Happy suddenly glanced up a steep bank to our left and instantly ripped up the side of it and dissappeared over the top. About thirty seconds later I heard Happy emitting agonizing wails. Her crys were continuous and at varied pitches. I raced up the bank but couldn't find purchase on it's steep elevated slope. Happy all the while screaming. I could hear leaves rustle and I imagined her impailed on a sharp stick when she went over the top. The rustling came closer and I pictured her rolling in agony somewhere on top the bank close to the edge. Just a second later she raced through the edge of the foilage and weeds lining the edge of the cliff top and like a bullet, raced past me at blinding speed, toward the lake edge and ran out of site up the side of the lake. I was at the bottom of the cliff at this point. Within a split second, my eyes still on the top of the cliff where Happy exited, an incredible face appeared through the weeds and limbs. It was a coyote with long muzzle and teeth knashing. I could hear the "slapping" as his mouth opened and closed. He and yet another coyote plunged down the cliff side past me and were hot on the heels of Happy. And yet one more coyote came through the grass and down the hill, not seeing me, and actually brushed my pant leg. I yelled loudly and all stopped instantly and, seeing me, stretched out at full run to the woods. To my left I saw Douglas far away trotting toward me. He must have seen the danger in the woods and eluded the confrontation. Happy probably ran directly into the coyotes when she topped the cliff. She is curious by nature and may have seen the coyotes and approached them. Its hard to say. But I called her and she came to me from whence she ran. I collected all four dogs and turned back along the path to the truck. However, it's not over. As we walked up the trail, the coyotes followed. They stayed to our right, on top of the cliff and back in the woods. But I could hear them. They would emit gutteral sounds and ocassionally a howel. But they followed. After two hundred yards we came to the open ground at the ruins and the coyotes stayed in the woods. They would not come into view. Absolutely amazing!

Happy's wailing and screaming was pure terror! I can envision her trying to evade her pursuers. She, running figure eights and performing quick stops and direction changes constantly while looking for her out. Her pursuers tightning and closing the circle that coyotes make when hunting prey. She found her exit and blasted through it at top speed to safety. Now, I don't think there is a dog alive that can catch Happy when she gets her feet going. She is fast. I mean REAL fast! She twists and turns at blinding speed. Certainly no coyote can catch her. But in the woods under their expertise she is at a disadvantage. Fortunately, no harm was done and I hope Happy learned a lesson. But, for sure, Happy wasn't very happy.

This is the bank where Happy came down with the coyotes on her tail. The picture is a little fuzzy because one coyote thrust his head through the foilage and I took a snap shot at it and the camera would not react quick enough. Immediately after this picture, they burst through after Happy.