Coyote vs Ivan

Exciting night. Zuzu (ratjack terrier) was barking a crazy bark out in the dogyard–definitely an alarm–and I heard what sounded like that excited yipping of coyotes. Ran out of the house with huge floodlamp, and there’s Ivan (Great Pyrenees) standing out on the ridge (must’ve jumped the dog fence recently), looking regally off to the North (do Pyrenees ever NOT look regal when they’re looking off to the horizon?).

Then this loud, sharp bark from down below in the north pasture, and I swing the light around to see 1 pair of golden eyes looking up at us, and before I can get to Ivan, he’s off–charging down the hill. The golden eyes make a loud yelping bark. Coyote! Following the white of Ivan with the lamp, he quickly closes in on the eyes, who it appears, just watch him coming. There’s another excited yelp from the coyote and Ivan who has his nose to the ground, racing, following the scent, quickly closes in on the eyes. The eyes disappear and Ivan continues charging to the north, close behind in pursuit of the coyote and they both disappear over the hill. Then only barking and yipping–from both canines. I continue yelling for Ivan (he “can’t” hear when he’s in pursuit), but no response. Then silence. Finally, there, a glow of eyes belonging to a faint white blob appear at the crest of the hill. Waiting, listening, looking behind him making sure his intruder stays on it’s side of the fence (off our property), Ivan starts back down into the valley and he begins trotting home. I can hear the train-chugging of his breath clearly across the valley in the night stillness.

When Ivan has descended into the valley, less than 50ft from where he had appeared, a 2nd pair of eyes suddenly flash in that same spot atop the ridge, where Ivan had just been. And a sharp, piercing bark cuts through the night, again. Ivan stops and looks behind him, and the coyote barks and yips, but doesn’t move, just watches Ivan. Ivan hesitates, but then, sure that the coyote isn’t returning to “his” property, he continues home. The coyote is literally yelling at him the whole way back. I know it’s barking, but it sounds like yelling–just mouthing off like a son of a gun. Is the coyote establishing his border? Yelling insults or threats at him? Simply stating it’s presence? Communicating with his pack? Ivan pays no heed (an occasional glance backwards to be sure the coyote isn’t following him), but steadily trots back to us, train-chugging breath practically drowning out the crazy, incessant barking from across the valley.

He reaches me, and I fall in beside him, trotting back to the house together, me mumbling about how he’s a good dog for coming home, and how I hate it when he does his job ’cause doesn’t he know coyotes can gang up on dogs like him and kill him?…but you’re a good dog for coming home…let’s go in for the night….

And now, as I’m about to head back out to studio, the night is completely quiet, still. No animals can be heard. Ivan has conquered the night beasts once again.

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