“Dammit, Tobie! Go lay down!”

Tobie takes perimeter defense very seriously, especially in the middle of the night, and seems genuinely perplexed as to how I can just sleep through all those critters that creep so brazenly around outside his open window. Being stuck inside his only weapon is noise, and he gets it free so why not use it.

Tobie barking in the middle of the night is such a common thing that I mostly sleep through that, too. But last night at 1 AM he became convinced that all hands needed to be on deck. Unable to deal with the calamity so dreadfully unfolding all around him by barking at it, he came into the bedroom and began barking directly at me.

That got me up, of course, and here we ran into the problem that, due to foolish behavior as a young man, I have tinnitus so bad that the ringing is the only high-pitched noise I’m ever capable of hearing. So at first I accepted the possibility that Tobie’s concerns weren’t as unfounded as usual. I sat up and listened hard, and finally could barely make out what was probably very very loud to Tobie: a bunch of coyotes were saluting the sky in unusual numbers and unusually close to the cabin.

Something I never get tired of pointing out is the difference in attitude that coyotes show toward SW desert hermits and Massachusetts suburbanites. A suburbanite walking her poodle in the vicinity of 3 or 4 coyotes is in some danger: A hermit sleeping in the midst of – well, probably thousands – of coyotes will sleep in peace unless his damned dog wakes him up. That’s simply because coyotes are smart and don’t want to die, so they only attack known safe targets. That suburban lady can’t or won’t fight back: The hermit will kill any misbehaving coyote on sight. The coyotes know that, and I have never in 17 years of living smack in the middle of Coyote Central been threatened by a coyote. My chickens have, a few times, and indeed the only coyote I ever actually shot, more than 10 years ago, was apparently vectoring in on my new chicken flock.

My point is, I sleep peacefully when the coyotes yip at the moon. Tobie is not as sanguine, probably never will be, and he was actually rather put out with me when my only reaction to learning the situation was to growl, “Tobie, go lay down,” and lay back down myself, pulled up my blanket and turned my face to the wall. Knowing better than to argue, he actually obeyed and I didn’t hear from him again till morning.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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10 Responses to “Dammit, Tobie! Go lay down!”

  1. Dave Mansfield says:

    Animals have thier own sense about sounds and smells. A well trained dog will relent to his human master. If he has been around his master and guns , he/she will only want to sniff at the dead remains.

  2. Spud says:

    I know watcha mean about suburbanites and coyotes
    First moved from Idaho out in the sticks to Floriduh to go sailing. All the city folks would freak out about seeing a coyote.
    I wondered what the hell they were so scared about lol.
    Ones ( what few there are) are scrawny little dudes compared to a Western one

  3. Malatrope says:

    Spud, I used to live in the chaotic insanity of the Tampa bay area. Moved to Idaho to find some peace. The coyotes sing me to sleep most nights in the fall and early winter. Don’t know why anyone would ever move in the opposite direction. Sailboats are holes in the water into which you empty banks. At least, mine was.

  4. Mike says:

    So, Tobie was just being Tobie. 🙂

    The comment about coyotes and rural people verses suburbanites is so true. It seems every month there’s a story about how a coyote attacked a pet, or someone on a walk, and the whiny demands that “the authorities do something, NOW!” And, these suburbanites don’t even have the smarts to carry a sturdy walking stick or some pepper spray.

  5. Stefan v. says:

    He is just doing his duty, protecting his master. Don’t cuss him out, just train him gently to discern between the coyote choir and some scumbag coming to rob and kill. Perhaps wean him off loud barking to soft growls. You and he are the totality of his pack, and you are the boss. I wish I had such a loyal companion.

  6. Klaus says:

    I sure hope you praised him first before the growl to go lay down. As his pack leader you are his #1 responsibility to alert and protect. Good boy. My girls all come to me whenever the coyotes have their hootenanny here on the property to make sure i know whats up and when i tell them no worries they settle back down.

  7. s says:

    “How many of them do you think are out there?”

    “I don’t know, sir; far too many for us to fight off, that’s for sure. I can hear them moving all through the tree line, and they’ve sent several scouts out into the open.”

    The chieftain tried not to show his concern, but he knew the young warrior would sense his feelings anyway. “They could attack at any time.”

    “I’m afraid so, sir, and if they do we’ll surely be overrun.”

    “That must not happen,” he said firmly; “Our mission is to protect the domain from invasion, and we will not fail while I am alive.”

    “No, sir,” said the young one, though he lacked his chief’s resolve.

    The leader drew himself up. “There is no choice, then; we must call upon the gods for assistance, lest we fail in our sacred duty.”

    “But sir, were we not taught that the Holy Ones hate to be disturbed?”

    “Only without sufficient reason, and I feel this is more than sufficient. We cannot allow the infidels to defile this sacred soil with their filthy presence, and surely the gods will understand when they see our dilemma.” He turned to the others, who had drawn up behind him, and addressed them: “My people! We must lift up our voices to the sky, in the hopes that the gods may hear our prayer and look with favor upon us. We must ask them to smite our enemies, or we are surely lost!”

    He then began the Prayer of Summoning, lifting his face to the moon and chanting the ancient rite. The others joined him, and together their shouts rose up toward the sky and spread out through the night. As if in answer the invaders began their own chant, crying out to whatever strange deities they worshipped in their rude and barbaric tongue.

    Suddenly, the square was filled with a radiance like that of a tiny sun, and the form of the goddess appeared in their midst; she took no note of them whatsoever, but glided to the barricade and looked out into the darkness. When she beheld the enemy, she lifted her staff and Behold! She smote them with a thunderbolt! The people trembled, but they had faith that she would not turn the terrible power upon them; the same could not be said for the barbarians, who fled in terror lest her divine weapon destroy them all.

    When they saw that the danger was over, the people rejoiced and performed a victory dance; the goddess then smiled upon them, and with a gesture spread before them delicious foodstuffs. And then she was gone as suddenly as she had appeared, and the people shared the feast and praised her goodness and generosity.


    “What were the dogs barking about?” her husband called from the bathroom.

    “Oh, just coyotes,” she answered. “I scared them off with the shotgun.”

    “Honey, you didn’t have to do that; I would’ve taken care of it after I got out of the shower.”

    “It’s no big deal,” she shrugged; “I had to go out to give them those table scraps anyhow.”

    Maggie McNeill, “Point of View”

  8. Joel says:

    😀 Hey, that’s good!

  9. Spud says:

    Malatrope , I’ve found peace in my own backyard and fell in love with a never ending summer. Life is a hole into which you poor money. Enjoy your life, however you may. It is a short journey.

  10. Tree Mike says:

    That was great. Explained the Toby warning and read S’s story, wife and MIL were highly amused.

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