Lately I’ve been riding on the bike path with my ten-month old yellow lab, Opal, trotting along beside me. It’s a better work-out for her than our usual walk, but it took awhile to get the mechanics right. I now hold the leash loosely across the handlebars, prepared to release it if she darts off, which she’ll do it if she sees a chipmunk, a bird, or another dog. She’ll also stop for any human in order to get the requisite attention and petting. I’ve learned to keep a sharp eye out and anticipate these potential hazards. Stopping the bike and getting a firm hold on the leash is the best way. We also go in the early morning when it isn’t crowded.
Once we get to the huge soccer fields behind the middle school, I let her off-leash to sniff around and do her thing, but she pretty much keeps up with me on my bike. This day, however, she rushed ahead to the treeline next to the path. I heard her barking and when I got closer, I caught a glimpse of another animal in the undergrowth. I thought it must be a hedgehog or something. Then it emerged from the trees and I saw it was a large dog, possibly a German Shepherd, about ten yards from my little Opal. I pedaled closer to fetch her. That’s when I saw this:
It wasn’t a German Shepherd. It was a COYOTE!!!
And he was coming toward us!!! I didn’t have time to get Opal on the leash. I yelled at her to follow me, and amazingly (and uncharacteristically) she did, but she was still distracted by the coyote. It was almost like she wanted to stay and play with him. As for the coyote, he continued to follow us on the bike path for about 25 yards, with me pedaling furiously to get away and Opal struggling to keep up.
We finally got clear of the area, and I put Opal back on the leash. I was so terrified, my hands were shaking. That was close! When I got home, I called the police to report the incident.
“There IS a rabid coyote on the loose,” the officer said. “We’ve been looking for him.”
I found him. I haven’t been back to those soccer fields since.
marna at household baggage dot com