Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Rude Reminders

Over the last 12 hours, I got a double dose of "rude reminder" that we're living in the country again.

First, about 10:30 p.m. last night, as we were getting ready for bed, a coyote pack started to yodel and yip quite nearby, setting the neighborhood dogs into a frenzy. When Prairiewolf went down to check on Lefty, our old and very unhousebroken English setter, he was out in the yard with his hackles raised. (This, in and of itself, is amazing, since the only sensory organ that seems to work on Lefty anymore is his nose. He certainly cannot hear at all, and his eyesight is abysmal.) Prairiewolf brought Lefty inside, in his kennel, to keep him safe, but Lefty would have none of it. After several trips up and down the stairs to let him back out because he was complaining so vociferously, Prairiewolf finally just let Lefty stay outside after all. All of the activity, though, must have scared the coyotes off, because Lefty was fine this morning, thank goodness. However, it makes me a little nervous about regularly leaving him out as the weather warms up.

Second, this morning as I watched the sunrise from our closet window after Prairiewolf left, I noticed a black and white beast gallumphing across our driveway down near the road. It made an unwelcome turn into our yard and followed our driveway back in, before disappearing from my sight under the redcedar hedge to the south. This wasn't a cat. I went down to the kitchen to call Prairiewolf with the news that I'd seen a skunk in the yard, when I saw the beastie again, this time right outside the back door beside the deck, which it skirted before running across the yard and under the gate into the lagoon area. I lost sight of it again as it tried to get under the lagoon fence on the far side, next to the draw.

Now I'm wondering if the skunk comes through every morning and evening on its way to and from feeding in the barns next door and down the street. I've been trying to be careful not leave any dogfood out at night - now I need to be twice as vigilant.

Skunks and coyotes. Ah, the pleasures of country life. How long, now, before our young, gallant, naive German shepherd learns about skunk defenses the hard way? Not long, I'm guessing. (Is tomato juice actually the best remedy if he does have a mishap?)

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