Tuesday, September 29, 2009

There is no logical reason why Deets is alive today

Don't panic – this story has a happy ending.

It was about 6:20 Monday evening. I was outside with my camera, thinking about a post for Tuesday and trying to capture the blooming chamisa in the twilight. After taking this picture of Smooch and Deets listening to the cows and enjoying their separate peace, I went in the house and sat down at the computer to download the pictures.

Not a minute had gone by when I heard Smooch sounding one of her "get out here this very second, mom, something very bad is about to go down" barks. I swiveled around in my chair and looked out the office window. There was a coyote in the corral, not 10 feet on the other side of the fence from Smooch.

I instinctively grabbed my camera. "When, oh when, will I learn to instinctively grab my gun?" she later thought, slapping her palm against her forehead. Ouch, that's gonna leave a bruise.

I jumped up out of my chair, threw open the office door, leaped onto the front porch, slid open the Wynonna-proof double latches on the gate, then ran to the corral fence. Smooch's frantic barking got louder and louder.

But the coyote didn't move – he just stared back at me.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a black blob in the corral, not 5 feet away from the coyote.

"DEETS!" I screamed. He was curled up in a tight little ball, his face planted in the dirt, just where I had seen him last, in the photograph at the top of this post. GASP! Please don't be dead!

Deets didn't look up when I called him, he didn't move an inch. And the coyote walked right on by him and out of the corral.

Why did the coyote not attack and eat Deets? He was 5 freakin' feet away! Did he not see Deets? Or smell Deets? Or care about Deets? Was Smooch's barking so distracting? So threatening? Was the black thing dangling from my hand so intimidating?

Smooch ran up and down the fence line, barking, howling, screaming, racing, chasing the coyote.

I was frantic...where's Deets? I twirled to my right. There he was, now in the barn and on top of one of the pipes that divides the stalls, heading for the rafters.

I twirled back to my left. Smooch was still barking, racing, chasing up and down the fence line.

The coyote was fixated on something in the dirt. Smooch stopped in her tracks to watch.

The coyote had the audacity to stop what he was doing and look around. Please, God, don't tell me he's looking for reinforcements.

The coyote took one last look at me and calmly sauntered off.

Smooch watched him leave and stood in this same spot, with this same expression, until the sun set and she could no longer see.

I came in the house, waited for my heart to stop trying to pound out of my chest, pondered what I had just witnessed, and concluded the following:

1. Someone saved someone else's life tonight, but we're still not sure who's responsible for what.
2. Deets used up one several of his nine lives.
3. There's never a dull moment at the 7MSN.
4. I seriously need to think about keeping a bottle of wine case of tequila in the pantry for medicinal purposes.
4. She who helps get a donkey out of a bad situation earns a little good karma.


  1. Reading your story sure got my heart pounding this morning! Whew!! Thank goodness Deets is ok. Smooch sure did a GREAT job. A case of tequlia sounds like a really good idea too!

    The wildlife around here show no fear whatsoever, whether it be coyote, deer, fox ... however I can't answer for the bear that left me 'a present' in my garden. Eeeeek!

    I love the last picture of Smooch ... you can see every muscle in her body is tensed up. What a beautiful girl!

  2. Oh man, I'm so with ya on #4. Glad Deets made it to live another life.

  3. wow camera / gun i would have grabbed the camera too SLAPS HEAD... lol deets earned a break... and i might would take up drinking with the very beautiful yet scarey coyote being so close... smooch is so beautiful!

  4. You, and Deets, seems to both have good karma! Smart of Deets to play dead, if he had run, things might not have turned out as well.

  5. That's too scary! Our cats have always jumped on the garage roof. One time they were up there when a coyote went trotting down the street! Phew!

  6. Cat's just know how to survive!
    Best always, Sandra

  7. Holy cow(girl)!

    You've definitely got my vote for #s 4. I put in a vote for you on the karma thing Sunday. I truly believe what comes around goes around and you've got a lot of good stuff coming.

    By the way, the lighting out there is magnificent.

  8. Yeesh your coyotes are sure brave. The ones here tuck their tails and run for the hills. A neighbor had a problem with them picking off cats. He killed one and hung it by a fence post they often visited. Hasn't seen them in a long time.

  9. Well that's enough excitement for one night I would say. Glad all your good karma paid off for Deets. Smart kitty.

  10. I'm so glad ya'll survived relatively unscathed! Gun AND camera in the future, ok Carson? I vote for #4 also - SO YOU CAN CALM the heck down after these type of adventures! Smooch is my new hero!

  11. I can't believe how bold those coyotes are! Crazy.... I'm glad that handsome man made it through another adventure.

  12. I've heard that cats are way down the list of tasty morsels for coyotes -- mostly something city fringe dwelling coyotes eat. If there are plenty of juicy bunnies, a coyote will go for that first.

    That said, what a scary encounter. And where were the Wonder Burros in all this?

    But I will take all the coyotes you can send us. We have a bunnie, mole and gopher explosion we'd like stemmed.

  13. I thought this had been a pretty good year for bunnies and mice -- why is that smarmy coyote stalking your house/barn mates? I'm glad everyone is safe -- now, get that tequila poured.

  14. Glad to read that Deets is still alive! Maybe the coyote listened to Smooch telling him that Deets just wouldn't taste very good? Who knows??

  15. Fantastic Smooch-in-urgent-motion shot; I like the one of Deets' big tail, too. Great narrative, although I am thankful for the "spoiler" at the beginning. I would have been in tears otherwise.

  16. Man, that coyote is looking for a meal! I hope he doesn't get Deets!! Smooch is a great watchdog there. And yeah, where were the burros?! Slackers!

  17. Very scary and thank goodness it ended happily. Cats and even small dogs are definitely dinner to a coyote. It's possible that your coming stopped it. It is also Deets' defensive position gave it second thoughts.

    One time on this farm I saw the sheep bunched in a strange way. I ran outside without my own gun and wearing sandals when I saw a coyote almost upon one of my lambs. I knew if I went back for a gun, it'd be too late as the lamb was against the fence and down. I ran forward screaming like a banshee yelling at the coyote to get out of there. I was on the other side of the fence from it, but it ran when it saw me and the lamb was untouched.

    This year we haven't been so fortunate and have lost 4 lambs to them and this with us keeping our sheep in at night. All daytime and not the hours a person would expect. It's easy to tell coyote kills because of how it's done.

    If you have a gun with you and even shoot near the coyotes, it often makes them think twice about coming around. I have missed more than a few times and had them run off but then not reappear for awhile as they think over better and safer places for dinner.

  18. http://www.abqjournal.com/news/state/apcoyote03-27-09.htm

  19. Holy Crap! Smooch is an amazingly loyal protector. I already love her, but my respect for her just skyrocketed. I do hope she got some treats later.

    Deets. *sigh* Did he even know he was within a whisker of being dinner? Oy vey, that's too much stress.

    I'm wondering where George and Alan were. They would have sent that coyote packing in no time.

    Grabbed her camera. Uh huh.

    Please give everyone a BIG hug from me. Stay save you guys!

  20. Deets was playing dead? Seemed to have worked, and glad he's alive to meow about it! Seriously, I'd fire off a round or two to let the coyotes know they're not welcome in your barnyard.

  21. whew..........

  22. I'm so glad they're all safe! Would Smooch have been able to stop the coyote if she'd gotten to it?

    Since Deets is a predator himself it seems like he has good instincts. If he'd ran the coyote would've given chase. Very ninja like.

    I was wondering where the burros and horses were, too.

    How about one of those guns that shoots rubber bullets. I'm assuming they have smaller ones that wouldn't really hurt the coyote, but would drive him off. I've heard of that type being used to drive bears off.

    I love a happy ending!

  23. The burros were out grazing in the pasture when this happened - I think the coyotes are getting wise to them and showing up when they're not around.

    I'm determined to grab my gun next time and fire off a few warning shots. Suzanne, I shudder when I think about Smooch getting out and chasing after one - she's so fast that she might be able to catch one. Not sure what would happen after that.

  24. Well, I vote "amen" to all 5 of your conclusions.

    I also think, that with the regularity and boldness of your visitors, that it's time to keep the rifle loaded. Deets was obviously frozen with fear. I'm thrilled he made it out alive. I don't think I could stand crying over two Deets dying. Lonesome Dove's Deets made me cry just last week.

    Smooch needs a nice grilled hotdog to go along with you and your medicinal tequila.

  25. oh my...so glad Deets is okay....what a happy ending...

  26. Pleez, pleez be very, very careful about "warning shots". They go "up" and then come down and can kill something or someone. It's easier to aim at something near the coyote (if you don't want to kill him), shoot that something and be done with the bullet.

    When I move there we'll do some practicing, K?

  27. you seriously need this fence

  28. OMG. Heart attack city. SOOOO glad that Deets and Smooch are ok. What a very strange happening, to say the least.

  29. Linda...from personal experience...please take heed to Sandy~~~ It happened to My Man while trying to scare off deer from our hay stack...one less deer eating the hay...unintentionally...seriously...

    But, it were me, I'd have shot the coyote to kill.

    Sure glad Deets is OK! You better get more donkeys...a lil' mini to stay at the house/barn areas! Between the owls and coyotes here, I'm surprised I still have Tat our barn cat.

  30. Holy Cows!!
    I have lost more cats than I care to remember to those pesky coyotes!! I lost a barn cat, my sister's cat "Wyatt Earp" and the momma of my folks' two house cats "Stewart Little" & "Thunder Paws"; those coyotes met their match one morning when my pop unleashed our Border Collie "Tucker" who tucked in his tail and beat feet after three of them and won!! He flew as if he had wings on his feet....I was so PROUD of that boy!!
    We keep a "coyote" gun in the front hall closet and the Aussie dog knows exactly where it is and runs to the closet and waits for my poppy to go get the bad coyotes!!! Big HUGS to all the critters involved....now go pour that tequila!!

  31. Omigod. I know just what those Smooch sounds were like from our fisher experience. Unlike any other bark/yelp/growl I have ever heard. Makes the hair stand up on my neck just to remember it.
    Your heart must have been in your throat!
    I'm so so so so glad everybody's okay.
    You have one very very smart cat there, and one extra special wonderful dog! If Smooch had been able to go after the coyote, I'll bet the territorial effect would've made the coyote run, but I agree it's better not to test the theory.

    Maybe Rancher Woman better think about keepin' the gun right next to the door...and maybe go out and shoot every coupla evenings just to reinforce the perimeter!

    Thank God everybody's okay!

  32. Oh! So glad that Deets and Smooch are OK! It looks a thrill movie with a happy ending!

  33. Scary! I am glad Deets is okay! I have heard of many people who have had their cats or dogs snapped up by coyotes, right in front of them, even the latest, Ms. Jessica Simpson's dog. Coyotes know no shame, they are brave souls. I am glad Smooch is safe behind the fence, and admire he need to be protective! It makes me feel good about you all out here on the ranch! :)

  34. Oh no! My favorite cat Deets! So glad Smooch sounded the alarm so you could get outside quickly! And so thankful that the coyote didn't get Deets and moved on, hopefully for good!
    I just lost a cat, and I believe he was taken by a coyote. Actually there have been many missing cats in the neighborhood lately, and someone witness their Dachsund being snatched by a coyote, but were able to get it back, with numerous injuries. Very scary!

  35. Maybe Deets was playing dead? Regardless, he's lucky but one life down. Damn coyotes! Glad it all worked out well!


  36. I think it was Fishy looking down. The Caps season is about to start and he wouldn't want you to be down.

  37. Me again to say that it's amazing the posture and Smooch expression watching the coyote leaving...
    Great photo, Linda!

  38. Phew! I'm so glad to hear that Deets survived that close encounter. Way to go Smooch for raising the alarm.

  39. I know Deets is your barn cat, but I keep wishing he had a safe place indoors....