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Coyoting II

Coyoting I

We made it all the way to our turning point without stopping once, something I have never done before or since. We took a minute to stretch and sip water, but only a minute. There were two people and a big dog coming down the trail, and since Smelmut doesn’t like big dogs, I didn’t want to stop and chance an interaction. We circled the old oak that marks our turning point and headed home. We’d really hit a groove, Smelmut and me. He was running at a perfect heel, his nose to my knee, no pulling. And then I heard someone yelling, “Coyote!”

The other day I was at a lunch meeting at this great little Indian buffet in The Valley. We were shown to a table and while I pulled out my seat, everyone else put their things down and wandered off to the buffet table.

“Come on, Trish! There’s no line!”

I looked around at the cell phones, car keys, and eyeglasses littering the tabletop. Mrs. Toots had left her purse draped over a chair, Big Boss’ briefcase leaned carefully against the table. I shook my head at my co-workers, who were staring expectantly. How can she leave her purse on the chair like that! I thought to myself. And their car keys and everything! Unattended! One time, my friend left her purse on a bar stool that she was standing next to, and someone totally stole her wallet! And this other time, my other friend was sitting at a café, her bag over her shoulder, and her laptop was stolen right out of it!

“We shouldn’t leave our things unattended!” I shrieked. The restaurant went silent. Everyone turned and stared. My co-worker, Mr. Hahpimon, made a face. “It’s a BUFFET. We can watch our stuff while we fill our plates.”

What can I say? I’ve been living in New York for four years. You don’t leave your stuff on a table in New York and expect it to be there when you get back. You also don’t turn around when someone starts yelling at you, because they’re probably wearing a newspaper suit and if you turn around you’ll be forced to endure a lecture on why one should get brain implants if one plans to visit Sleringula, a star that orbits Mars.

“Watch it! Coyote!”

Coyote? I looked over my shoulder and there, not four feet behind us, was indeed a coyote.  The biggest, fastest, snarliest coyote I’ve ever seen. And he was chasing us.

I stopped dead in my tracks, my eyes on his, and watched as he veered off the path and into the brush. I started to walk back to the people who’d been yelling and he made a move like he was ready to pounce. I faced him again and backed away slowly. He didn’t take his eyes off us for a minute. By then the people, newlyweds out for a morning hike with their German Shepherd, had caught up to us.

“Oh man! That coyote was hunting you! He wanted your little dog! We were watching him hunt something, but we didn’t know what, and then we came over the hill right when he started running, and we saw you! That was so messed up. You shouldn’t run out here with your little dog. Do you want us to walk you home?”

Yes, yes, I absolutely did, because do you know what? That coyote was still staring at us.


This weekend we dogsat for my brother and his fiancé. They’ve got this funny little dog who looks just like this stuffed toy I had when I was a kid. He’s exactly my favorite kind of dog. Gorgeous, smart, and scrappy.

Internet, meet Smelmut:


If only I’d managed to catch a photo of Smelmut playing with his new cousins! They are adorable together. Whenever Smelmut comes over for Thursday Night Family Dinner, there is much bouncing and dancing in small circles and play bowing. The three little dogs tussle and frolic and fight over scraps. They take turns curling up in each other’s beds and in the laps of each other’s masters. It’s wonderful to see them together.

This weekend was no different, only this time I got to spend some one-on-one time getting to know him. I also almost got him eaten.

Thursday and Friday were really hard on sweet little Smelmut. It was his first time away from his family, and we made him sleep all alone in the kitchen. Except it’s not like that, we’re not evil. Valentine and Theo sleep in a crate next to the backdoor, and he had his little bed right next to them, so he wasn’t actually alone. But he sure felt alone. I could tell by all the barking.

Saturday morning I got up early to run before the heat set in. By seven-thirty it was already seventy-six degrees and rising. Mike was in class, and rather than run alone, I thought I’d bring my back-up. Normally when Mike can’t run, I’ll go with Valentine. If there is one thing that little yellow mutt loves, it’s running. She can go and go and go and go, and I swear to you, there is absolute joy on her face all the while.

Smelmut is another little dog who loves to run. My brother is always talking about how fun it is to take him running, and since he’d seemed so sad and lonesome, I thought a nice run would be just the thing to cheer him. So I leashed him up and off we went.

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