Saturday morning the temperature dropped to 32 degrees, colder than it had been for a few weeks. Sadie and I had waited until the sun was over the ridge of the Sandias before we headed out on our walk in the open space near our house.
It was good we waited as the air was warming and the birds were singing now. Sadie spooked a rabbit and tore after it. Ridgebacks can run fast, but rabbits, having more to lose, can run faster. She rejoined me and trotted along a few paces in front, as I walked along sheding layers of clothes thinking about how nice it was to have the warm weather birds back. Earlier I heard a western wood pewee and a spotted towhee. Further along, I spied a canyon towhee on a pile of rock. It also started singing, as did a curved billed thrasher from its perch on a cholla. Ahhhh spring, I thought as I strolled along imagining that the concert was for me, rather than for some female of their species.
Just as I was threading my way through some boulders near the top of a hill, we heard the characteristic, shrill bark of a coyote very close. Sadie, who has no use for coyotes was off like a shot. I yelled at her to come back. As I came around the rocks at the crest of the hill, she came trotting up. Another bark sounded and I looked up. There was a coyote about 20 yards away barking taunts at Sadie. The coyote showed no fear of me.
I grabbed onto Sadie’s breakaway leash to make sure she stayed with me. After a hard stare at the coyote she came along willingly. I headed back toward home. As we walked down the hill a chorus of three other coyotes started in calling and taunting trying to lure Sadie into chasing them.
Many of the Southwestern Native People refer to the coyote as a trickster. I had just observed one of the reasons why. Sending one member of the pack out to lure dogs to come play or chase is a common tactic. The lure then leads the dog to an ambush by the rest of the pack. I think Sadie may have fallen for this trick once. Her speed and endurance may have saved her. She knows this trick now and was content to escort me back home.