The Scariest Day of my Life
I had the scare of my life last week. Now, I realize I am lucky. The scare of my life could have been so much worse. But just thinking about it again is making my heart race and my brain go numb.
Cinder our 1 year old dog got loose at the river and disappeared for 8 hours. And the last time we saw her she was being chased by 2 coyotes.
We were on a bluff overlooking the river below with oak woods to the right. It was a bright autumn day where everything looks golden and shimmery in the rising sun and I had just spotted a hawk. We had been walking for an hour already. We were just around the bend when we go down to the river bed, go back up through the wood, cross the river and arrive back at the car. Cinder got something stuck in her foot and I needed her to lie down in order to take it out. She does not like to do that outside at all. She got tangled in her leash and that was making her even more nervous. So I told my husband to unhook the leash and just keep a hand on her collar. Even though we were on a ridge the spot on the trail where we stopped had quite a dip in it. And we were at the bottom. I took the seed pod that was bothering her and just at that time a coyote appeared just above us looking as surprised to see us than we were to see him (they don't get THAT close usually… he was maybe 6 feet away at most). Cinder freaked out completely and tore herself loose. She ran and kept running. I was so sure she was just going to circle back to us but unbelievably the coyote was in a playful mood and they just started to run together. In a few seconds they were out of sight. I started running too. Got a glimpse of them being joined by another coyote and that is when I got really scared. One coyote is ok for a dog Cinder's size. 2 or more is not a good scenario.
By then it was maybe 8 am at the most. My husband and I split up and started running, calling her. And we never stopped for the next 8 hours. Neither did Cinder who apparently ran at full speed the entire time. We talked to everybody we crossed. Have you seen our dog? And a lot of people did. She actually ran back all the way to the car with the coyotes in tow. When people spotted them at the parking lot they chased the coyotes away and tried to catch her but she is very skittish, got scared and ran again.
2 hours later an entire army of people were looking for her including the maintenance crew at the River parkway.
I know I can get pretty cynical where people are concerned but oh my goodness. There are a lot of wonderful people out there. The sheer amount of people that took time out of their day to go look for her that day (including many total strangers) is astonishing to think about (they also brought us food and water). We got dozens of phone calls ( we had plastered posters everywhere along the parkway) of people telling us : she is right here! But it took 8 hours for us to finally find her. She was so exhausted that she finally had to stop and we were able to catch up to her.
She was ecstatic and so were we. It could have been so much worse.
Funnily enough one of the first thing that people say to me when I tell that story is: I bet you don't like coyotes so much anymore!
But of course I do. Coyotes do what coyotes do. Even if they had harmed her I'd not love them any less. It is our responsibility to look after our animals. Not the coyotes'
So I will keep enjoying watching them (with a dog firmly attached to her leash) and painting them. I hope you'll join me in painting their spirit in my new class Animal Spirits
Keep it wild and talk to you soon my friend,