I have encountered coyotes’ countless times in the past, but nothing like what I experienced I on 4/21/22.
I was riding by myself behind a private ranch that I use to live on, ponying a second horse and had both of my dogs. The ranch backs up to a private community where I was raised. I literally grew up riding the trails at Lake Nacimiento with my horses and dogs, sometimes accompanied by friends and fellow horsemen, other times it was just my animals and self.
On this day, the ride was intended to be a short and only on the flat, as I had Beth with me, and she is too young for strenuous rides or hills. Beth follows close behind me, usually almost directly behind the horse and Lake bounces through the dry grass while chasing squirrels.
It was a quiet day, and I could only hear the hoof beats underneath me and the ground squirrels chirp as they dodged the dog and dove into holes in the dirt. The sound was disturbed when Beth began crying so I turned my head to see her being held in the coyote’s mouth by the thick her neck and it was shaking her back and forth. I scram at the thing and charged at it with the horse I was mounted and the one I pulled along our side. I looped the lead rope from the ponied horse around my saddle horn to free my right hand. It did not drop my puppy until the mounted horse rode right over them, rolling the coyote to it’s side forcing him to let go of Beth. The moment I knew Beth was released I jumped off and swung the reins over my mounts head with my right hand to grabbed Beth with my left, still screaming like a banshee at the coyote who was not trying to get away from me, in fact acted like it was going to come at me because I had Beth in my arms and then with it’s head down and lips snarled it leaped up towards me attempting to pull Beth out of my arms. Beth growling and struggling to get out of my grip as if she was fierce enough to take on the yote that just showed her it would clearly win in a one of one battle. She was a snack to that creature. Lake immediately came to battle brawling with the coyote and forcing distance between it and us (The 2 horses, Beth and me). I called Lake off and began to through sticks warning the coyote to keep distance and it began to howl.
The howling brought in two more coyotes, but those ones scared off almost immediately after realizing there were horses, dogs and a human packed together. The originally coyote continued to circle and yelp, but I figured our stance was clear and it would keep distance as most wild animals would at this point. I would walk on foot pulling along two horses and carry Beth home off of the ground and out of coyote reach. I kept Lake heeled and walked between the two horses.
My walking plan didn’t work because every time I made steps forward the coyote would circle behind us and come up behind and even between the two horses until Lake turned around and engaged in scuffle. This went on for a good 20 or 30 minutes and happened 4 times before I decided to telephone for help. I felt pathetic because who really needs help with a coyote when you have dogs and horses. Embarrassed of my circumstance and need for assistance I sent a text message stating “I’m having a severe coyote problem and I need someone that is on the ranch to call me and drive out on the trail.”
I have traveled the country with my horses and dogs alone, through bear country and deserts and never needed somebody to come and help me on the trail. Now I was calling for help, in my own stomping grounds because of a coyote. The most pathetic in terms of threats amongst wild animal attacks.
I just couldn’t make any leeway toward home without the coyote coming back. My dogs had a terrible odor, so the worry of infection was heavy on my mind the more Lake and this thing went one on one. Beth already had puncture wounds on her neck.
Help came on a 4×4 scaring the coyote to keep some distance while I rode back to the ranch I was riding from, with Beth in saddle and Lake healed at the horses.
I ride armed almost everywhere I ride, but I was too comfortable at this particular ranch and never imagined a reason to need a firearm.
I unsaddled quickly. I was still spooked and continued to look for coyotes, the way you feel after a close encounter with a snake.
Whenever I have commotion like this, I need to talk things out immediately. I sent a text to my friend Alex Travis who immediately called me. She asked if I was on the way to the vet and my first reaction was “No, it’s just a bite. I don’t know what the vet will do because she doesn’t have her rabies shot yet.” Beth wasn’t scheduled for her Rabies vaccine until May 3rd, her vaccines had got pushed back due to her obtaining Parvo after her 2nd set of parvo vaccines. Luckily, I do have level headed friends that can talk me through things because Beth needed treatment.
As I drove towards town, I phoned my vet and was directed to go to the emergency hospital instead of the regular clinic, the vet on the phone stated “I will call and tell them you are headed that way, but you have to go there now that we have been informed.”
I knew then things weren’t looking good. I thought they would take my dogs away for quarantine. I pulled over and looked up all the rules online and there was no information that was clear. I took my time on the way. I called my horse vet and she encouraged me that it would be okay. I called Dina and she told me she would meet me there. My anxiety was out of control, but I went in and explained the situation and begged them to tell me how long my dogs would be taken before allowing them to treat the wounds.
Luckily there was an amazing doctor on staff who advocated for home quarantine considering Beth’s age and breed. Quarantine is 6 months. 6 months long for Beth. Lake didn’t have punctures and was up to date on rabies, so her quarantine was only 30 days.
The dogs were discharged that evening with antibiotics. Beth’s wounds have since healed completely. Animal control has red tagged Dina’s house (where I live with my dogs) and now come to visit quite often to make sure my dogs remain in quarantine protocol.
I have sense chose not to post about the dogs on Tiktok. As most of you know about the false reports that have been made due to my large following to local and state authorities in the past (Maybe that will be the topic of my next blog). When my animals are in jeopardy, I have to do what is safest for them. I have been featuring them in my Instagram stories and we do remain on strict quarantine for now. For some reason Instagram doesn’t bring as much drama and “karens” so I feel better about my dogs being seen there. When this whole thing is over the dog content will be back to full speed. Thanks for understanding.