Thursday, February 09, 2012

Close Call

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.

Apparently not.

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.



Playground Monitor said...

I wonder if Emma was thinking about Churchill's quote "Never, never, never, never give up?" Whatever, the story definitely has a happy ending. Scratch Emma behind the ears for me, okay?

Cheryl C. said...

Yea Emma! So very glad she is okay. Must have been terrifying for her. Bobcats are a nuisance. We have them and it scares the delights out of me. Coyotes are also a menace but the horses in the pasture keep them out. Then, for a while, we had a cougar - a big yellow cougar. The horses didn't like it so much either. Living in the wilds of Northern Alabama certainly has its excitement. Give Emma another scratch behind the ears for me for a job (escape) well done!

Instigator said...

Thanks y'all! I'll definitely give her a scratch from you both. :-) Actually, she's gotten a little spoiled in the last few weeks. Not that I begrudge her a moment of it.

It's funny, before the bobcat the minute we started paying attention to Emma Jack would try and nose in. Now he waits patiently and lets her have all the attention first. He was just as upset when she was gone as the rest of us were.


PM's Mother said...

Where I live the pets who live near the water have to be careful and watch out for aligators. I guess there are animal predators everywhere. Give Emma another scratch behind the ears for me.

Katherine Bone said...

So glad Emma is okay, Instigator! Scary experience. Hugs!

BW said...

I'm so glad your dog is OK.

Reading your story put a chill through me. If something like that happened to my dog, I would be beside myself.

Angel said...

How wonderful!!! I'm so glad she's okay. We lost an outdoor cat last year to some kind of predator. I know he didn't just run off, because he was the latest in a line of several families that lost their cats over a couple of week's time. We brought our other outdoor cat inside right away! I couldn't risk losing them both.

Tracy Sumner said...

Glad she's ok!