As I mentioned last week, Cait makes sure Finn is in every night. On a recent night, the time got away from her before she realized that it was dark and Finn was not yet securely locked in the house.
So she started the nightly ritual of calling out while banging on Finn’s food can. Within minutes, he always appears.
But this night, still no Finn after several minutes of banging and calling.
Worried, Cait ran back in the house asking for help. She took the front of the house, and I took the back by the woods, both of us banging and calling. Hurrying, neither of us thought to grab a flashlight.
A few more minutes passed, when I saw the shadow of Cait start jogging down our road. I yelled out to her to see if she’d found Finn.
She called back, saying that she saw his eyes glowing in the dark and was in hot pursuit.
Great, I thought, as I started walking back to the house. That was until I felt something rubbing against my legs. I nearly jumped out of my skin! I looked down to find the wayward Finn doing figure eights around my legs.
That meant that whatever Cait was chasing was… not Finn. Not wanting to scare her, and definitely not wanting her to catch whatever she was tailing, I hurried to the road and called her back.
I saw that she’d made it to the turn in the road. I could see her trotting and stopping, trotting and stopping, as the glowing eyes trotted and stopped to look back.
Annoyed that my presence might jinx her near capture of what she thought was Finn, she shushed me and told me to stay back.
At that point, I told her I had Finn in my arms and she should return to me immediately.
Even in the dark, I could see her do a double-take. Aided by a burst of adrenalin, she seemed to cover the quarter mile between us in one gigantic leap.
As she held on to me to help steady her weak knees, she said with nervous laughter, “Yup that’s me. Just chasing any pair of random eyes down the road. My version of “Ma slapped a bear.”
What she was referring to was a scene in one of the Little House on the Prairie books. Pa is off hunting, so Ma has to tend to the evening chores by herself. She walks out to the field where they keep their cow, and slaps the cow’s rear to get it to move away from the gate so she can open it. Only what she finds out is that the cow is not the cow, but a black bear!
As we walked back to the house, she asked what I thought she might have been chasing.
Around our parts, there aren’t any bears (thankfully) but we do have plenty of coyotes, foxes, raccoons, opossums, woodchucks, and any number of other cat-sized critters that it could have been. I answered, “From the eyes and the gait, my money’s on a young coyote. They’re one of the few animals I know of that will stop and turn to look back like that.”
Cait, still nervously laughing, said, “It’d be kinda fun to have a little coyote as a pet.” Then I watched her throw a cautious glance over her shoulder to make sure the coyote wasn’t thinking the same thing.
Life in the country. Gotta love it!