Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Early Morning Visitor

Our Corgi, Dylan, woke us up this morning about 5:30. He was sitting up in his crate, growling low in his throat. At first, I suspected an intruder but the alarm had not gone off, so I realized it couldn't be a person. That left a bird or an animal. My husband was too sleepy to get up, so I did. I let Dylan out of his crate and together we tiptoed out to the family room. I pulled the drape and turned on the patio light. Nothing stirred. Dylan grumbled again. He turned around and went to the front door.

I couldn't open the front door with the alarm on, and I was hesitant to turn it off. So I opened the blinds in the dining room and peered out into the darkness. The wind was blowing, and since our outdoor/indoor thermometer read 29 degrees F., I knew it was bloody cold out there! Besides, I didn't see anything moving. Until...
a rose bush moved ever so slightly. Then I saw a pair of eyes staring steadily into mine. If we had still been on the ranch, I would have thought...Coyote!...or maybe even...Cougar! But no cougars here on the outskirts of our small town. Always coyotes, just didn't seem right.

Dylan growled again. The thick hair on the back of his neck and around his broad chest was sticking straight up. Uh oh. Whatever it was out there, he didn't like it.

It was black as a raven's wing outside. However, my eyes were getting accustomed to the darkness, and the rose bushes were becoming slightly more distinct. I saw the one closest to the front door move again, and when it did, Dylan growled more loudly. He could smell or sense the being out there, even though the door was still closed.

Okay, I had to do something. For one thing, I was freezing, and for another, my curiosity was getting the best of me. So it was either go back to bed and get warm, make Dylan stop growling ( good luck with that), or...turn off the alarm and open the darn door! I chose the latter.

I told Dylan "Quiet!" as I carefully opened the door. His little body quivered against my leg, but he stopped growling. I stood for a moment, with the icy wind whipping my pj's around my legs and wondering how I could be so stupid as to open that door. Then I heard it. A strange little cry, half growl, half scream, muted but coming from under the rose bush. Dylan pushed against my leg, and again growled low in his throat.

The sound came again. Oh, all right! I made Dylan 'stay' and stepped out the door. I crossed the sidewalk to the rose bed, and gently ( and shakily) pushed the leaves aside. There, on his back with his long red bushy tail caught among the heavy thorns of the roses, lay our resident fox. His black eyes stared at me, and he yipped quietly. He was unable to move.

I was shaking with the cold so much I could barely move my hands, but somehow, I managed to pull the largest stems of the rose bushes apart, thoroughly cutting one finger on the nasty thorns in the process. It only took a minute or two, but it seemed like an hour at least. Then, I lifted his tail free. He immediately scampered up and away from the bushes. But then a strange thing happened. He stopped midway down the sidewalk, looked back at the door, and yipped. Dylan made a sound that was almost identical. The fox looked at me, and disappeared into the early morning gloom.

I closed the door, shivered my way into the bathroom to treat my lacerated finger, and finally returned to bed. I was cold as an Artic snow bunny, and when I tried to cuddle up to hubby, he was not too enthusiastic! After a few choice words from him ( not repeatable here) which basically meant, Where have you been, you're turning me into an icicle, I eventually got warm and fell back asleep. The story about the fox would have to keep until breakfast.

Resident fox? Yes, in the community where I live, there has been a family of red foxes living here for about 20 years. Of course, the orignal parents are gone now, but their offspring keep breeding and/or bringing friends and spouses in to their large den, and seem quite content to continue to live here. We seldom see them, but often enough to know that they are still with us. This fox was large, so he was probably one of the papas.

Dylan is a Corgi. Corgis are descended from foxes. I believe the exchange this morning between the fox and Dylan was somehow an acknowledgement on the part of the fox of two things: a kind of 'thank you' for Dylan knowing he was out there and waking me up, understanding on both their parts that somewhere along the line, centuries ago, they were related.

A wild and a domesticated animal communicated with one another. Isn't it amazing that civilized peoples of the world fail so badly to communicate with one another?

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