I think I'm finally recovered enough to write about this:
Two weeks ago this morning Jack was attacked by a coyote. Here's what happened:
We have a fenced-in back yard. This portion of the yard has a gate in the back which leads out to our "wild area." This wild area is where our two sheep live. It has lots of trees and underbrush.
Last Tuesday morning I had opened the gate leading from the back yard into the wild area in order to get back there to feed the sheep. Jack ran into the (approximately 2 acre) wild area. He does this all the time. No big deal. It's fenced. He runs around for awhile and then comes back.
This time was different. Within about 10 seconds of his disappearance into the trees I heard him yelp. "That didn't sound right," I thought. I called his name. I couldn't hear him crashing through the trees anymore. I started walking down the trail calling his name. No response. I started walking faster and calling a little more desperately. At some point I had heard another yelp and that spurred me to a jog and and more desperate calling. I rounded a corner--and there, a short distance up a small hill, stood a coyote with a completely limp Jack hanging from his mouth.
I screamed and screamed and screamed as I started to run toward them. The coyote was standing right next to the fence and leaped over it and ran away. I thought that he still had Jack in his mouth. I can't explain the horror I was feeling at this point. I ran up the hill screaming. I guess I was going to scale the fence and chase after them.
But as I ran up the hill and got closer to the location, I could see Jack's body lying in the grass. He was not moving. A wave of some type of relief washed over me--at least there was a chance to save his life if he wasn't already dead.
I got to him. He was alive. I scooped him up and cradled him like a baby. His neck was bloody. He had several puncture wounds around his neck. His tongue was sticking out. His breathing was shallow and labored. I started toward the house with him, reassuring him that everything would be all right. He still wasn't moving, but was looking at me like he was saying, "Help me, Momma."
I got to the house, very quickly called the vet, and was out the door with Jack still cradled in my arms.
I talked him through the entire ride to the vet. Speeding, driving one-handed, no seat belt. I told him to just keep breathing. The 10 minute drive seemed to take an eternity.
When I arrived at the vet, they seemed (to me) to NOT be in as much of a hurry as I was to get Jack into the back area and start some kind of treatment. They told me to take a seat and they would "be right with" me. I sat down, but shot questions at them the entire time. Has a doctor been called? When will he/she be here? How long before he can be looked at, etc. As we sat there (probably for only 2 minutes or so), Jack started shaking. I announced loudly that he was going into shock and I would REALLY like someone to take a look at him. (This is a vet that I have used for many years and I'm very happy with them and all of their staff. I'm not sure why they thought even a 2 minute delay was OK).
At this point they took us to the back and several technicians were there to look at him (the doctors had not yet arrived for the day--but I was informed that they were on their way). They took one look at him and told him, "Oh my, you look pale." ("NO SHIT!") They took him from me and took him to the back area and put him on oxygen to get him stabilized and further check him out.
So I sat in the exam room crying my eyes out for what seemed like a long time. Finally a doctor came into the room and told me he was stable and was going to be OK. They had put in an I.V., given him an injection for inflammation, and were taking X-rays in order to rule out any internal injury.
Within a few minutes, they let me go back to the back and see him. He was standing (yea!) in a cage all wired up with oxygen and I.V., and with a bright blue bandage wrapped around his neck. When he saw me he went crazy (like he always does--he loves him Momma) and that just made his breathing worse. I didn't stay too long because, at that point, I felt like I was making things worse by getting him agitated.
The vet wanted to keep him for most of the day, so I left. I called my boss and told her what had happened and that I was a complete wreak and there was no way I could work. (Some of you will think that is an over-reaction, but it is what it is).
I went home and spent the day re-living the vision of Jack hanging in the coyote's mouth. I REALLY could not get that out of my mind and I cried off and on all day. I called every couple of hours to check on him and was allowed to go pick him up at about 3:30 that afternoon.
We spent the rest of the day cuddled in bed. He was totally 'spent.' No interest in food (a VERY telling sign, indeed!), no interest in moving, at all. He basically just 'hunkered down' and went into healing mode.
There is a bit more to this story (as far as his recovery goes), but I'll save that for later. Suffice it to say, he is recovering, although his breathing is still not back to normal--due to the inflammation in his neck area.
I have always been a bit worried about Jack getting attacked while we were at the cabin. And we take precautions to prevent it. But I never really thought about it happening in the 'back yard'! Go figure.
So I am happy to report that Underfoot is still under foot.