Letting them be dogs means letting them play in nature...even if nature can be dangerous.
This morning at dawn we (3 dogs and 2 humans) were running off leash down this gravel road in the nature preserve and Sam fell behind. This is pretty common because he loooooves to wade through the bushes and long grass. We know he's had a good day when he's covered in stickers! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Well we're running along and suddenly I heard a yelp from behind me. Immediately my heart sinks with dread. What this time?? I thought he was stung by a bee or something. I spin around to see Sam about 50 ft behind me with a coyote standing right next to him. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Oh shit. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Momma bear engages and I run straight toward them with my arms out looking as big as I can, yelling with as much of a growl in my voice as I can muster. The coyote was a little bigger than Sam and clearly well fed. He wasn't afraid of me but thankfully he was cautious enough to back off. When I got to Sam, the coyote had backed off about 10 feet but was still holding his ground. I charged him a little more to give me space, and then quickly glanced down to see if Sam was ok. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Thankfully I couldn't see a mark on him. By then my man had reached us and was able to call the dogs away to safety while I stood my ground challenging the coyote. We moved away without taking our eyes off the coyote, who followed us for a few more minutes before letting us go. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When it was all over all I could think is "why is it always Sam?" I try my damnedest to keep him safe but it ain't easy. I could put him in bubble wrap and never let him leave the house. But then what life would that be? I want his remaining time on this earth to be filled with joy and stickers and the occasional coyote encounter.
If this were you, could you go back and run here again tomorrow morning?