Sauntering Along, Minding His Own Business

2015-07-19 (1)Down the path — the same path I was on — came a coyote, sauntering along with a purposeful gait, looking as though he had a specific destination in mind. Three other people, each with a leashed dog, were on that path in front of him, and one woman without a dog was behind him at some distance. The people were all walking towards a social and dog play area.

2015-07-19 (2)The coyote kept walking on the path, knowing that he would get through undisturbed if he kept his distance. He looked so secure and self-assured, even though he was a small wild animal and there were people and dogs around. We were all “obstacles” — not unfriendly obstacles, to be sure — and he would have to get around us. He was able to maintain a safe distance from everyone because we all were walking in the same direction.

Then, an unleashed dog with a reputation for chasing coyotes appeared with its owner coming in the opposite direction — walking towards everyone else. Everyone, including the coyote, knew this dog and its coyote-chasing behavior well. The coyote took stock of the situation and quickly veered off the path and behind some trees. He was still visible, but not so obviously now. One of the dog walkers told me that he did not want to see the coyote being chased which inevitably led to human/human confrontations — he decided to leave.

Everyone else stopped walking and watched. Someone mentioned to this dog owner that a coyote was behind the trees, but, oddly, her dog seemed oblivious to its presence this time. Still, she leashed her dog and continued walking on as if everything was normal, and her dog, none the wiser, never even saw or sensed the presence of the coyote!

2015-07-19 (3)As she disappeared around a bend, the coyote again jumped out onto the trail and continued on his way, still purposefully directed. Another of the dog walkers told me he felt the coyote, who was coming in his direction, might be “following” him as he walked away, but the coyote veered off the path and distanced himself over a scrubby hill. He was obviously just on his way somewhere: just passing through, and everyone there was on his side, knowing his passing through would be uneventful if we kept the dogs away from him, and it was!

2015-07-19 (4)

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