Not Moose, but a lookalikeThe reason that thought crossed my mind: A sad and terrible thing happened here over Memorial Weekend when Roger and I were over at the coast. Our neighbor's dog was killed by a coyote. Moose was a small dog, probably a Bichon Frise. He was the cutest little squiggly exuberant thing, the kind of dog that hops on your lap when you're sitting on the couch, or pees in excitement because he's happy to see you. His family doesn't live full time in the cabin up the hill from us, but they come often enough that we've gotten to know them pretty well and consider them dear friends. When they do arrive, like for long holiday weekends, Moose always comes to our door to announce their arrival. He was just that kind of dog, delighted to be out in the country, running around and sniffing everything in sight.
I had emailed photos of the bobcats and coyotes to Moose's parents (M & C). All the pics were taken at the base of their driveway. When we hear the coyotes, they are often up around that side of the property. This is coyote country. The last email I sent M about coyotes, he wrote: That coyote makes me a bit nervous for Moose. He'd make a handy little treat for a den of new pups.
How horribly and eerily prescient that comment turned out to be.
When M & C headed out to take a walk on the Saturday of the long weekend, they took Moose. M suggested that they put him on a leash. C, who doted on that pup sun up to sun down, thought it would be okay to let him run up ahead and enjoy that little taste of freedom that he gets in the country. He'd taken this walk and made these rounds many many times over the years. Why should this time be any different?
Except that it was.
Moose ran out of sight, and M & C never saw or heard him again.
They looked for him for two days. They knocked on our door, found my twin brother and sister-in-law housesitting for us, asked if they had seen a small white dog. The answer was no. They knocked on all the neighbors' doors. No one had seen or heard anything. It's an interesting thing in retrospect to take solace in the fact that no one heard anything. That's good. It means that Moose was killed very quickly. Not a sound was made.
On Monday, M spotted Moose's body in a place he had already looked. Maybe the pups had dragged it out from wherever they had been eating him. So, M took him and buried under a tree in the yard. There are flowers and stones marking his grave. Last weekend, other visiting relatives told us that in all the 48 years the family has had this cabin in the hills, this is the saddest thing that's ever happened there.
So, I was bending over, crouched down pulling weeds when I suddenly thought of Moose, and it occurred to me that it wouldn't take much to kill me. A hungry pair of coyotes with pups to feed could do it pretty fast. It's a dog eat dog world, some say, and damn if that's not the truth.
On a related note: We've been seeing this momma skunk out during the day, and with her kits at sunset. Everyone says that a skunk out during the day is a sign of rabies. Well, it's also a sign of an overworked momma who has to protect her den at night from the very same predators that killed Moose. She's doing her job, and she's doing it well. We're glad to see her being smart. Her kits are adorable.
It's late spring. Things are blooming. Pups are hungry. Don't be afraid, but be alert, everyone.