There are multiple perspectives to consider in every decision, even that concerning whether or when to share your life with a dog. Go ahead and line up the pros and cons, but be sure and weight the entries.
A huge positive by-product of dog ownership is the mandatory trip outside first thing in the morning. This forces you into a magical realm, when dusk still holds the upper hand and daylight is just a promising glow in the east. Wildlife is out and about.
I sit sleepily in the patio chair and wait for the dog toilet duties to be done. Birds sing and rustle in the trees. Coyotes calling nearby wake me up and bring goose bumps chasing down my spine.
A coyote chorus is chaotic like a drawer-full of pots and pans rolling across the kitchen floor. Two or three coyotes yipping sound like twenty as each individual in the pack yips shriller and louder than the next. The cries ring from the desert hillside just at the end of our block.
Lexie tips her nose to the sky and draws out a series of woo woo woos in a deep baritone. It’s clearly her best howl and the moon shines from the dark sky with approval.
Then an answer rings from the flanks of South Mountain, just to the north of us. These coyotes are farther away, and their cries are less piercing. The territories marked out by this auditory posturing is clear, even to me.
On a recent predawn walk, with the dog of course, a coyote materialized. A dark form trotted on the sidewalk far ahead, dimly illuminated by streetlights. As we approached, the creature veered into the wash that runs between the neighborhood block wall and the sidewalk where we walked.
We continued on, and I watched for the coyote to pass us by in the shallow wash. Abruptly she re-emerged onto the sidewalk just ahead and crossed the street. Her tawny coat gleamed with good health and she flowed past at an easy lope, near enough to see the flash of her eye. Lexie whined and strained at the leash.
A car approaching from a side street cast headlights across the scene and the coyote flinched. She accelerated effortlessly like white water in a gorge, flying to the dark safety of the wash where she disappeared for good.
This seasoned resident was clearly familiar with the risks of urban life. She wouldn’t alter her route more than necessary to avoid a single dog and a human, but reacted much differently when a vehicle entered the picture.
Falling strongly in the camp for dog cohabitation, I have high regard for the intelligence of dogs and the positive impacts they bring to a household. It is intriguing and bewitching to hear the calls and see behaviors of similar, equally intelligent and social animals living in the urban wild just beyond our ken.