I may be condemning them for a crime they didn’t commit, and even now I won’t just go hunt them out. But the very next infraction I catch them at, I’m not shooting into the ground.
Torso Boy greeted me in the usual way at half past a little too early, waiting for me to stir and then pouncing – to the extent that a Corgi can be said to pounce. The early morning ritual is invariant: Wait impatiently for Uncle Joel to get his leg on, go out to the juniper grove beside the porch for a pee, rush inside for a cookie, then begin politely but firmly bugging Uncle Joel for breakfast. Caveat: Don’t push it till he’s had his coffee. Humans wake up cranky.
But this morning TB was distracted by a brown lumpy gift somebody had left us right at the base of the closest juniper. And also somebody had peed all over that tree.
This was, at first glance, an unbelievable trespass on the part of a coyote that must be mentally ill. They don’t do this – the very closest coyote scat I ever found was halfway up the driveway. NEVER right next to the cabin.
And yet … Even from the porch this didn’t look like coyote shit. It looked like dog.
(SIDEBAR: Okay, I know what you’re thinking. All I can reply is that if you live in the desert – the real desert, not Scottsdale – you will become more of a connoisseur of shit than your mamma ever told you you’d need to be. It’ll just happen. Moving on.)
Dogs – kept dogs, anyway – and coyotes have completely different diets, and completely different scat. Take my word. Anyway, my first thought upon deciding it was dog shit was “Landlady’s here.” A rational conclusion since she’s due this weekend and Dharma often comes to visit alone. Taking a dump by my front porch steps is rude, but not a shooting offense if it’s Dharma. I thought this was confirmed a little later when I saw fresh dog tracks in Ian’s yard.
Except Landlady isn’t here, and neither is Dharma. I could be drawing the wrong conclusion but I only know of two other dogs that have been hanging around and they’re already on thin ice. Ergo, those dogs seem determined to come to blows with me.