|Posted by Jean McCord on April 24, 2010 at 7:56 PM|
I took three of my dogs out for a run this evening - Chipmunk, 8 1/2, and her children Revel and Tess, 3. They were pretty pumped because I hadn't taken them out yesterday; Revel, especially, loses all sense of decorum if he doesn't get to race through the woods and field at 35 mph every day.
So we headed down the driveway and into the woods onto the old road. When we got to the field, they immediately began grazing - the grass is tall and vibrant and sweet, and they go to with gusto. About half way across the field there's a deer leg from a kill last fall. The buck it belonged to had been felled a little ways away in a piney part of the woods just to the southwest, but bits get carried around and this leg had been here in the field for a couple of months. The upper part, bare bone, was getting pretty bleached by the sun but the lower part still had hair and tissue covering it and it must smell just right because Tess thinks it's just THE BEST thing to roll on.
Well, I decided it was time to relocate the leg, if its ripeness engendered reliable rolling behavior, so I leaned over and picked it up to toss into the trees. When I straightened up, I saw that a coyote had magically appeared about 60 feet in front of us and it was loping casually across the field in a northerly direction. The dogs saw it a split second after I did, and they were off like they'd been shot from three cannons.
I don't think this coyote had had any previous experience with whippets, because it didn't seem to be terribly concerned and it did not speed its pace one iota. As it crossed over the stone wall into the neighboring horse pasture, Revel looked like he was right on top of it, with his sister and mother flanking him not far behind.
I disencumbered myself of the deer leg and grabbed a whistle. There are five items that accompany me on every dog walk - my walking stick, a set of leashes, a toy, a pocket full of very tasty treats, and a lanyard with two whistles (one higher pitch and one lower pitch) and a clicker. So I commenced blowing on one of the whistles and calling the dogs. I had barely started when Chipmunk hopped back over the wall and ran back to me. She got a piece of hot dog for that, and I kept whistling and calling. Several seconds later, Tess tore back into the field, coming from the little woodland path down by the brook. While I kept whistling and calling for Revel, she zoomed around with her nose to the ground searching for coyote scent, and occasionally running back toward the stone wall. She was very good about returning when I called, and earned quite a few hot dog pieces as a result of her sudden obedience.
Revel was probably only gone for a couple of minutes, but it was a very, very long couple of minutes! I was kind of scanning the edge of the field when I heard a little yelp - he was back but had been stymied by the gate to the horse pasture. The girls raced over to him and he remembered how to get through the fence (something he'd had absolutely no problem navigating when running full out after that coyote) and as he approached me I had no trouble seeing that his entire tongue was crimson. Gads, I thought, what has he done to himself? In true whippet fashion, he'd apparently bitten his tongue and his whole mouth was a bloodly mess. And he was TIRED - not something I usually see when we're out for a run! But a little roll in the cool grass, followed by a drink and a quick swim in the brook, restored him to himself somewhat.
All in all, an unusual adventure that I can now put in the "fun" category - a hard run, a good chase, no injuries and three very happy dogs!