A. and the MiL took the dogs on a walk up back yesterday evening after dinner. They returned in almost full darkness, with stories of a coyote pack that A. had more or less run into in a copse of trees when he heard the dogs fighting one of them* and went searching for the dogs. He was standing there in a little thicket, in almost complete darkness, watching shadows moving through the trees that he thought were our dogs. It took him a minute to realize that they weren't our dogs. That he was standing in the darkness with a pack of coyotes.
Coyotes in the east are no joke. My experience with coyotes in Arizona led me to believe that all coyotes are scrawny, cringing creatures that avoid people at all costs. Coyotes in the east, however, are genetically part wolf**, and they look and behave accordingly. They're large--50 or 60 pounds--they move in packs, and they are aggressive. A. told me he had a knife with him that he could have used if necessary, but that he wasn't in any danger because coyotes only attack small women and children.
Well, THAT makes me feel better.
I'll tell you one thing: When Cubby is older, he is never going into those woods without one or more dogs at his side.
* The dogs are fine. They appear to have only engaged a single, relatively small coyote, thankfully avoiding the rest of the pack.
** Go here for a really interesting New York Times article about this very subject.