As I sat down to breakfast one morning, my dog began barking mightily. I looked out the window and saw that she was flattened, crawling toward a large menacing coyote, whose mouth was distorted in a show of fangs. This was not good. I rushed down to my gun cabinet, pulled out and loaded a twenty-gauge shotgun, and warily walked toward the confrontation, fearful that my dog was in a position to be badly injured. There was a smaller coyote, lying unmoving on the ground in front of its snarling friend.
I was aiming at the guarding coyote with one hand on the rifle’s trigger. I thought about the fact that I would have little time to react to a sudden charge. My other hand reached toward my dog, my heart in my throat, franticly calling, “No! No! No!” Like in a dream, I slid my fingers carefully under my dog’s collar, gently but firmly pulling her away. Eventually, I was able to steer the dog to her pen. Returning to the scene, now vacated by the protector, I noted that the smaller coyote was indeed dead, probably his mate, with a gun wound in her chest.