This is a long and fairly scary entry. You’ve been warned.
Saturday night our pack of wiener dogs was descended upon by two coyotes. About 10pm, we were getting ready for bed, where the usual procedure is to let the dogs out into the backyard to take care of business before going to bed. I was downstairs turning off lights and the TV when I heard Beth yelling NO, STOP, NO! from the backdoor. We’ve had some cold temperatures around here lately, and there’s a thin layer of frozen snow covering the grass, so I stopped on the landing to pull on my loafers before sprinting out the back door. As I got to the edge of our yard, saw both Kirby and Coco barking after something in the common ground, and Beth was over to the right with another one of the dogs. The dog she was with was making this horrible hoarse whine of pain. In the dark I couldn’t tell who it was. “Is it Jake?”Â “No, it’s Booker!”Â
I ushered Kirby and Coco as Beth cradled Booker in her arms back to the house. He was whining loudly and there was something wrong with his voice. As we got to the door, Beth asked, “Are the other dogs OK?” To this point, I hadn’t even seen Jake. We had a horrible moment as we both started calling Jake’s name. He had turned tail and run inside well before any of the other dogs. Jake had learned his lesson before.
So finally inside, with Beth cradling Booker, we were able to assess the damage. He had about 6 tooth punctures around his head, shoulder, cheek and throat. The worst was the large wound in the throat, thankfully though, none were bleeding all that badly. After getting inside, he stopped whining, and actually got a little too quiet for our liking. I got out the paper towels and we started applying pressure to the worst of the wounds.
As we tried to calm down, Beth told me what happened. She was at the door, and the dogs went out as usual, and there were just two coyotes there, as if laying in wait. It all happened so fast, but she just took off out the door after them. Bookerdog was fighting off two attackers, who just kept snapping at him as he wheeled and turned. The coyotes didn’t take off and run until Beth got within 5 or 10 feet of them. I should point out it was about 20 degrees outside and Beth was barefoot. Yes that’s right, my pregnant wife went charging out into the frozen snow barefoot to chase off two coyotes and save Booker’s life. Doesn’t exactly win me the husband of the year award now does it?
We were both pretty riled up, but now we had to figure out what to do. Auggie was totally asleep in his bed, and we had to get Bookerdog to the vet. I suppose one good thing about Jake’s previous attack was that we actually knew where the nearest emergency animal hospital was. (20 minutes away unfortunately). Without much thought, I called our great neighbors’ and S., immediately picking up on the panic on my voice, said she’d be over with very little explanation from me. So, with someone here to stay with Auggie, we were off to the vet.
Initially, the vet looked Booker over, and it looked like all of the punctures were relatively superficial. So they took him back to shave the hair around the wounds and clean them up. While doing that, the vet noticed that there seemed to be air getting under his skin, which meant that the throat wound had actually slightly perforated his trachea. He put a single stitch in the wound and asked to keep him overnight. He was confident that he’d heal up, but just in case, they wanted him near immediate care. So our poor scared Booker spend the night at the hospital.
We got home, and Jake and Kirby were glad to see us back. But it was strange because when Kirby ran into Jake, he yelped. Oh No! We’d looked over Kirby and Coco pretty well, but Jake had been hiding from us while we took care of Booker. Now we looked closer at Jake and there on his cheek was single puncture wound. Not big, and not deep, but still, Jake had been hit too. No wonder he had made a beeline straight inside. We called the vet for advice, and he said to just clean it up and administer some of the antibiotics we had on hand.
Next day, we got the report from the attendant that he’d done fine through the night, but they wanted the vet that had taken care of him that night to see him before releasing him. Since the vet was on nights, that meant that he wouldn’t get there until 4pm. The vet was so nice, and he called us as soon as he came on duty. He was satisfied with how Booker was doing and would let him come home! One warning though, they hadn’t been able to clean him up, because Booker was really, really grumpy with them and started thrashing around whenever they tried.
So we went and picked him up, and he was pretty messy, but very glad to see us. We unfortunately learned the drill of taking care of these messy wounds with Jake a little over a year ago. Booker has been a pretty good patient for us though, and watched the Super Bowl on mom’s lap. Our biggest problem has been that he has no desire to spend time on crate rest. Our hopes now are that he makes as good a recovery as Jake did.
So now what? Well, we’re back to the routine of going outside with the dogs after dark. Armed with a heavy walking stick to strike a death blow should the opportunity arise. S. suggested a gun, but that’s not a possibility as you have a much better chance of hurting one of our own dogs if the situation happens again. S. also offered her husband’s help in erecting a fence, which I’ll probably take her up on in the spring.
Grandpa reminded Beth that he’d once killed a coyote in their front yard with a blow from an axe handle right between the eyes. Yeah, Auggie’s grandpa’s a bad ass, but that’s what living in the country will do to you. I’ll tell you what though. Given the chance, Auggie’s dad will make a similar impression in the heart of the suburbs.