I saw a little dog running through a field Thursday, on my way home from town.
It was the field across from where the guy used to have sheep, with that herding dog guarding them. The other field used to have cows grazing sometimes. Or it was left empty, and hay baled a couple times late summer. So the field isn't all grown over, but it's not mowed yard-short, either.
I'd just turned the first sharp curve, to the left, and was headed to the next sharp curve, to the right, at the corner of this field. To my right, I saw a little gray dog running across the field in my direction. He had that look of a half-grown pup. An adolescent. Kind of thin, not muscular.
"Oh, no! I hope he doesn't run under the barbed-wire and in front of T-Hoe!"
He was a gray, short-haired dog. Bigger than Jack, but smaller than Juno. I didn't see a collar. His coat looked fairly smooth, not curly, not silky. His ears stood up, kind of big on his head. Maybe like a heeler's ears. Not quite as big, proportionally, as a corgi's ears. His tail was medium length. Pointy, like Jack's, not feathery, like Juno's.
As T-Hoe got closer to the point where our paths would intersect, that little doggie put on the brakes! He turned and trotted back towards the middle of the field, headed for the treeline. It was then that I noticed
HE WAS A COYOTE!
Not a little gray dog at all! A wild COYOTE!
Sweet Gummi Mary! I'd been ready to tell Farmer H to go have a look, and maybe bring that little dog to the Mansion!
When I told Farmer H of my canine identification faux pas, he said,
"I've seen some over by So-and-So's mom and dad's house."
"You know I have no idea who that is, or where they live! Is it around here?"
"Yeah. Just over by the auto body place. About a mile from here, and a mile from where you just saw that one. People out here have been saying they hear them at night."
"Maybe that's what the dogs bark all night long. Maybe one of THEM pooped on the porch over by the garage."
"Nah. That was Jack."
"Why do you always blame JACK? He has lived here five years! WHY would he poop on the porch NOW? And only once?"
"I caught him peeing by the kitchen door the other morning."
"That's pee. Copper Jack and him take turns marking the house, I think. But you know every time you blame Jack for pooping, it's been the cat. And I haven't seen the cat in about two weeks. He could hardly walk across the porch, he's so old and weak now. He must be (or have been) 15 or 16 years old."
"I don't know. I guess maybe a coyote could come up on the porch. But you'd see hair in its poop."
"I didn't look that close."
Sure, Farmer H looked for hair in poop on the porch that he said was Jack's. His argument skills are not that great.
First coyote I've ever seen. And in broad daylight, too.
I looked up some pictures of Missouri coyotes later. They looked more yellow than the one I saw. Which was definitely gray. Maybe it's an age thing, maybe they come in a range of colors. I don't want to see one again to compare!