Night of the Coyotes
Last Friday was the night of the coyotes.
I took a nap between getting home from work and running SuperCorgi, so it was a bit later when we finally went. I woke up from my nap to a) my alarm going off and b) SuperCorgi suddenly in my bed licking my face. He knew we were going out because I'd put my running shoes by the door earlier.
Before we set out, I set the lamb to marinating for dinner, and remarked to my dog after washing my hands three times: "Great, the marinade smell won't wash off. I'm going to smell like coyote bait out there."
I was soon to learn how right I was. There is a river running parallel to our apartments, and I start the run by taking us along the paved path beside it. The area's not well-lit, which usually isn't a problem with moonlight, but that night it was cloudy. We got halfway down the path when all of a sudden, SuperCorgi started barking. At first I thought he'd seen a rabbit, but then I realized he NEVER barks when we run. This was a first. I slowed down a bit, and he planted himself on the pavement, actually snarling. He is a sweet boy and NEVER snarls or growls. Well, because his behavior was so unusual, I came to a dead halt and pulled out my ear buds. He kept snarling, the fur bristled on his back. I looked ahead of us and finally saw them--a pack of four coyotes. They were big--about German Shepherd size. I hadn't seen them because they blended in with the shadows. If SuperCorgi hadn't become so noisily defensive, we would have run straight into their midst.
We had stopped just fifteen feet away from them. Two of them started coming toward us. I knew that if I turned and ran immediately, they would be incited to chase us. So I did my best Godzilla impression, which involves stomping like a crazy woman and roaring at the top of my lungs with my arms up over my head. The coyotes, perhaps feeling that I was unstable, backed off. Then I turned and SuperCorgi and I sprinted back the way we'd come.
I was shaken, but d@mmit, I wanted to get in a full run. I took us on an alternate route, grumbling to myself that now I couldn't take him along the river any more because of possible coyote packs. I liked that route. Stupid coyotes.
We ran another 60 minutes unmolested. Then we came to a portion of the run I'd just recently added to our route. We got halfway up the hill there and then I heard, even through my ear buds, dogs barking. They sounded upset, which is unusual for a quiet suburban area. I slowed to a halt, frowning, and pulled out my ear buds. Sure enough, there were coyotes yammering in the valley to my right, which was why the dogs were barking. I thought, "Well, they sound far away so whatever," and kept running. ...and of course, not 30 feet ahead of us a coyote head pops out of the bushes. It looked at me. I looked at it. Then I shouted "Oh COME ON! REALLY?" The coyote didn't come toward us, but slunk across the street and ran right into the housing tract I was going to run SuperCorgi through next. With a sigh of disgust, I turned and we ran back down the hill to our normal 80-min route.
I now carry a "coyote rape whistle" with me. And I am now stuck re-running loops in my 80-min route because I can't expand my territory. I hate repeating loops in my runs. Effing coyotes. I am tempted to ask my dad to borrow his slingshot, and go to a safe vantage-point where I can take aim at the river path. Normally I like coyotes but now they have gone too far.