12 September 2015
Recently deceased and very much alive.
Me and Otterpop found this fox. She was recently deceased, I know this for a fact because I had to pet her soft fur.
People always say Banksy and Gustavo look like foxes. Not really.
She was somewhat near a fast driving road, I suppose she got hit and crawled down here to die. Me and Otterpop were crawling up a hill on our adventure walk. We've been doing some exploration in puma territory and during pot growing and mountain lion season, I'd like just one reliable dog only to help me look for new trails. Although it's always pot growing and mountain lion season here. Adventure walks are an area in which Otterpop shines. Her bad back and legs mean that these days I have to sometimes stick her in my backpack, but that's ok with me.
We always need new places to walk.
We were down at the pond the day before, Banksy swimming for her ball and Otterpop barking and Gustavo kind of faux swimming but not really and Ruby digging a hole. A guy climbed down the bank to where we were, clad in half camo and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. There's a lot of characters in the evenings at the pond, we're used to this, we all like to share.
"I'm looking for a deceased turtle in a tree." No shit, that's what he says to me. Also when he says it he has that great skill of not dropping out his smoke from the corner of his mouth.
I give him a good look. Really, really look at him, so he can see my eyes and I can see his. Otterpop, being Otterpop, starts to go after him. I grabbed her and said, "Huh?" I'm considering are there any good sticks in reach that could be a weapon, but I figure Otterpop's closest thing I've got.
"Have you seen it?" He kept climbing down, I considered letting loose the Otterpop. I looked around. No turtles in the trees there that I could see. Just in case that's actually a thing.
"Nope," I said, still hanging onto a very uncool Otterpop that was having none of this turtle business or camo guy down on our tiny pond beach.
"I just left it in one of these trees here," he says, poking around in the willows that surround the pond and sometimes trap lost tennis balls. He makes it down to our patch of mud and shuffles around in one tree and produces a giant, dead turtle.
"Wow!" This is me. I'm pretty excited. How often do you get a giant dead turtle from a tree? At our pond! Instantly I wished it was mine.
He tells me how he was paddling around in his boat doing a little fishing and found it on one of the old piers out there. Mummified or whatever, standing balanced on a pier. Who knows how long it had been out there. So he grabbed it, beached the boat, and put it in the tree. I'm not sure why, I guess so someone like me didn't steal it.
"I can't believe I never even noticed it," I tell him. "I would have wanted it too."
We examined the turtle. Wondered how it died. Was the size of a shoebox that would hold big sized shoes. He was pretty stoked at this find. I would have been too. Put it under his arm and climbed back up the hill.
Me and the dogs were done with our walk yesterday, very early in the morning because of the heat. Even in the forest, very early, it's been hot. Nobody had done anything bad, no run-ins with deer or creepers, and Ruby didn't over heat and start breathing weird. That's a summer thing for her now. We were walking back through the meadow to the car, and I put everybody on leashes. Because there's any number of things in meadows that cause problems for dogs.
Remember in Bambi? Always get out of the meadow and into the thicket. I hate meadows. That's where the problems always happen.
We're almost to the turn back to the road, and here comes the trouble. Two fast moving coyotes heading right at us. I feel like barfing right there on my shoes. I figure we are so completely screwed and don't know to drop the leashes and pick up Ruby and let everyone else fend for themselves or just stand my ground and keep my dogs contained and go down with the ship or what. The dogs go apeshit. Banksy is usually good about coyotes but so far in her life she's only seen very still coyotes or ones that are moving further away. Not ones running straight at us. Otterpop goes ballistic, Gustavo starts being Gustavo and Ruby has no idea what's going on, except she's stuck on her leash in the middle of mayhem all of a sudden.
They stop in front of us, pretty close but not so close that I'm sure they're considering taking a little dog. This seems like a good thing. They are considering the options. They look at us for a few very long seconds, and turn the opposite way down the path. I am thrilled. My dogs are still ballistic.
Then their two friends are just behind them, they come running in after them, and do the same thing.
So now we have four, just in front of us on the path. I have four, they have four. They're walking now, walk, turn, watch us, turn back and walk. Then stop. I like the walking better. Me and the dogs are still standing there, Banksy and Otterpop are still carrying on. I'm holding tight to the leashes, still not sure what to do. Four is a lot of coyotes. They're not the giant werewolf size, just the regular kind, but it's four between us and the road. Thank god it wasn't those werewolf ones. I'm not sure what those things are. These are plain old coyotes at least, the only upside to a sticky situation.
They put a little space between us them, but then stand their ground and face us.
I yelled at them, they started to move off a little more. Yelling isn't the best option with dogs losing their shit on leashes, but seemed like the most useful thing to try. This worked good so we moved forward. There wasn't anything near me to throw. I suppose Banksy and Otterpop's freakout helped a little bit to back them off, so I figured we keep pushing forward, an inch at a time. I very much wanted to get to my car and put 4 dogs back inside.
I know the coyotes over closer to town don't back off. I think they see a lot more people over there, scrounging around homeless camps, and don't see much of a threat in humans. A lady recently told me she beat one off her dog with a stick when a whole pack came down the hill where she was walking. I haven't been walking over there in a long time. One coyote is one thing. A whole pack is entirely different, and I figure four traveling together is a pack.
I walked slow and got Banksy to do nose touches in heel position. Works with coyotes! Gustavo was making funny noises, Otterpop came to her senses because I was hissing at her to knock it off, and I just drug Ruby along. My four watching those four. Us creeping forward, them creeping back.
And then poof. Off they run. Away from us, into the trees.
We go fast, hustle to the road. Four dogs thrown fast in the car.
And everybody's cool. Another day, another dogwalk.
by team small dog at 8:01 AM