Several weeks ago we had a very close call at our house. This is a picture of Emma, our yorkie. As you can tell, she's a little thing. She used to be my mom's dog, but we took her several years ago because my mom just didn't have enough time to spend with her and she was lonely (and acting out). Jack (our Australian Blue Heeler) took to her immediately and they became the best of friends.
We have land, our neighbors around us have land and we live on a dead end road that has absolutely no traffic. All of the neighbor dogs run around happily romping from one house to another playing all day. Emma isn't the only little dog in the bunch, there are several others as well, but the bigger dogs all look out for the little ones. And they all love it. You can just tell that they're happy when they get to see each other and play. But we have a large and active coyote population in the area so we had one hard and fast rule - Emma never, ever went outside after dark. No matter what. Even with someone standing right next to her it was too dangerous and because she enjoyed running around there was the potential she'd take off for a visit and run into trouble. We thought we'd taken precautions to protect her from the local wildlife.
One day - around 10:30 in the morning - Zilla was outside with Jack and Emma. He was around the front of the house with Jack while Emma was in the carport waiting at the backdoor to go inside. Zilla heard a god awful commotion. He and Jack both tore off around the side of the house to find Emma being attacked by a bobcat. In our carport. Next to the door to our house.
Everyone jumped into the fray. Zilla got scratches all down his face and arms from the cat. But the cat snatched Emma up by the scruff of the neck and tore off into the woods beside/behind our house. Zilla thought she was gone. He spent that day and the next one in the woods trying to find her - or any sign of the cat. Nothing. We told the girls she was gone. Both of them were devastated. But the hardest part was trying not to be hopeful. My head knew there was little hope, but my heart just couldn't let it go. That first morning I woke up early after not sleeping well and opened the back door praying that she'd be curled up by the stairs waiting for us to let her in.
This happened on a Wednesday. That Friday Zilla called me at the office and said he was running some errands and was going to stop by if I wasn't going out for lunch. You have to understand that my office is in the middle of nowhere and there are no errands he could run anywhere nearby. But it had been a rough couple days for him so I just assumed he wanted to see me.
I wasn't at my desk when the door chimed. I walked out into the hallway from another office...and Emma was standing there, her entire body just quivering. I screamed. I think I yelled, "You have to be kidding me," and scooped her up into my arms. The minute I touched her Zilla jumped and I could feel two big bulges on her side. She had two broken ribs and two small puncture wounds on her side. Aside from being dehydrated, shaken up and visibly skinny, she looked wonderful. In fact, the picture above is of her under the chair in my office that day.
The best we can figure, the cat didn't get a good hold of her when he snatched her up. She must have squirmed away and dashed for the first cover she could find - our barn. When Zilla found her - by chance because he was walking to get the game camera he'd put up at the treeline behind the barn - he heard a noise and went to investigate. She was hunkered down in a hole at the back of the barn.
Four weeks later the only evidence of her traumatic experience are the slight bulges on her side from her healing ribs (although they're almost gone) and her refusal to go past the front hedge marking the end of our yard and beginning of our front pasture. She no longer goes very far, even when Jack runs off to tour the neighborhood. And she's no longer allowed outside without immediate and direct supervision. But she's running, playing and still the happy-go-lucky dog she's always been.
We're very fortunate this story has a happy ending. And we definitely think someone was watching out for Emma that day. A lot has been going on at my house over the past few months. Difficult things that I won't bore you with. But on that day, everything was good.