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When you least expect it

If you've read my column for any length of time, then you know I have an affinity for my family (which includes my pets) and all things dealing with children and pets. So indulge me while I tell you about the later.

This week, thanks to the remodel, our cats have gone into hiding. Toby (our son and daughter-in-law's Maine Coon) declines to show himself until about 15 minutes after the "crew of the day" has left. Pepper (our gray Tabby), well, he comes slinking out with his green eyes looking like saucers about an hour after they've gone. Poor dear won't even eat his treats. Sunshine, our 13 year old lab mix either hides under my legs in the office or in her bed downstairs. I think her choice to risk life and limb (literally) on the staircase depends on the scent given off by whomever is in the house.

But this isn't about my adorable three-nope; it's about my parents' furry baby-Cisco. Cisco is about 6 months old and a purebred Chihuahua. He's a really cute little guy. Unlike most in his breed, he's very calm and well-behaved. I've never seen him shake and he doesn't even piddle in "inappropriate" areas of the house. He gets along well with others. At home with my parents, he is an "only" child-sometimes he comes out here and enjoys the company of my sister's menagerie.  

The other night my parents put him out potty and suddenly heard screaming and yelping-not the "I'm hear to protect this yard" type of noise, but the "HELP, SOMEONE'S TRYING TO KILL ME" type.

My dad quickly threw open the door and found poor Cisco shaking and crying and obviously very badly hurt. They had to hold him the rest of the night.
As soon as daylight broke, they bundled up the still crying and very hurt Cisco and brought him out to the vet. This is the same vet that many of you all over the country may have read about-he saved the dog of a woman who's ex-boyfriend stabbed some 15 times. Dr. Matthew Wheaton examined my "furry brother" and diagnosed him with a broken rib and a leaking hernia. He told my parents it was a coyote attack!

A coyote? Now if Cisco lived with my sister or me, we'd believe it. We live above a slope and right next to horse trails. But my parents live in the middle of a 40+ year old housing tract that is nowhere near any open fields-how did a coyote not only get in their neighborhood-but over the 6-1/2 foot fence and into their yard?????

Poor Cisco-he had just gone "under the knife" last week to be neutered! He's not even over that yet-and now he was going to be needing surgery to repair the hernia and check out to be sure there wasn't any other internal damages.  

I bring all this up because quite frankly-how many of us think about our animals safety in our own backyards? When we moved out here I would see a myriad of wildlife when taking my power walks: bunnies, squirrels, lizards, snakes, horses (those had riders), other dogs with their "parents" (I took my German shepherd mix Lucky), cats, mice, etc.... But the last few years, they've all but disappeared.

The area went from nothing to homes, townhouses and condos-the poor animals had to find other places to go and try to survive.

I told my parents to call the city offices and let them know of the attack. My sister suggested moving the trash cans to the garage. If the coyote used them as a "step" to hop over the fencing-this would remove the access point. I told them that they needed to replace the backyard lighting with "sensors" so if any animal entered, the lights would go on and scare them away.

As of this writing poor baby also had a lacerated spleen, soft tissue damage and a host of other internal injuries. He was able to go home and had a sedated and quiet sleep. The cost so far is over $2,000.

Which is nothing compared to the physical and emotional pain and anguish that Cisco and my parents had to endure.

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