I got an e-mail from a lady yesterday that told me she was heartbroken because they had just lost their beloved eight month old Jack Russell terrier when a coyote came into their campsite in northern California and made off with it.
She said her husband had yelled and thrown rocks at the coyote, but it just ran off with their puppy in its jaws, a sight that would haunt them forever. She said the campground hosts had warned them about coyotes, but they never dreamed that they would be so bold as to snatch their puppy while they were sitting outside in their lawn chairs.
We have seen this happen before in campgrounds. At the Verde Valley Thousand Trails preserve in Camp Verde, Arizona a couple of years ago, a couple put two little Shih Tzu dogs outside their fifth wheel in a fenced enclosure about eighteen inches high, and the local coyotes walked right into their campsite, jumped into the pen and grabbed the dogs.
While I’m very sorry for their loss, they have to understand that to the coyotes, these weren’t pets, they were just lunch, and their owners delivered it right into the predators’ living room.
You can’t blame the coyotes (or bobcats, foxes, and occasional mountain lions). They are just doing what comes natural to them, preying on something lower on the food chain. We brought our RVs and our pets into their territory and made them easy to devour. It happens all over the country, though it happens most often in the west. However, coyotes can be found from the deserts of Arizona to the forests of Michigan, and no matter where they come from, they have one thing in common; they all appreciate an easy meal.
And those are not the only critters that are standing in line to eat your critters. Bill Graves, in his America’s Outback column in this month’s Trailer Life magazine, writes about Central Florida, where the locals say the favorite food for the alligators in the region is small dogs. Eagles, hawks, owls, and even feral dogs will not hesitate to snatch small pets given half a chance. It’s all about survival of the fittest.
That doesn’t mean you should avoid the great outdoors and confine your RV stays to urban campgrounds. Especially since I have personally seen coyotes in city parks in downtown Seattle and Portland. Just use some common sense.
If you love your pets, do not leave them unattended outside at any time, whether tied up or in a pen. And as the folks who lost their puppy yesterday can attest, even being outside with them is no guarantee of safety for your pets. Wild predators are fast, smart, and ruthless when it comes to filling their stomachs. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. Or in this case, a Fifi or a Mr. Rags.
Thought For The Day – You have to at least try to live your dream if you want it to come true.