Night Stalker

I have written about the wild dogs that come and eat my cat’s food, kill my cats and destroy my trash.  Also, I wrote about the awful morning I found Mickey bitten and slashed.  I still have no clear answer, but lots of theories, from coyotes to bob cats on what attacked Mickey in the pasture a few weeks ago.  He is finally almost healed.

I did not discuss as it was too fresh and too sore, that Lauren’s favorite cat Orange was attacked and killed in my yard a couple of weeks ago.  If you review posts from last spring you will see him with his best friend Siobhan before she was killed.  Orange was the closest thing to a pet cat that we had.  Of course, we had just days earlier spent hundreds of dollars at the vet for him due to a high fever and infection.  He had recovered.  He is dead.  Money down the drain.

ANYWAY-this is not about Orange.  I went out to feed yesterday morning.  I have resumed my duties as morning feeder, shoulder in a sling be damned.  It takes a little longer and it is a little sloppy as I spill feed over the feed bowls using only one hand but I get it done.  Back to work this week, if I can do that, I can do my chores at home.

First thing I noticed as I stepped outside was all the cat food was eaten.  If the cats eat it, there is always some left over.  If dogs come through, every speck is gone.  I got out to the barn and Mickey was huddled in the run-in shed with Feather beside him.  Usually, they are at the gate ready for breakfast.  I called to them and Feather broke to me first.  I grabbed her fly mask but she was spooky and trotting away.  Barely hanging on, I got her in her stall.  I went to get Mick.  He was wild-eyed and dancing a jig.  It was weird that the dogs (all seven of them) were out in the yard but quiet.  Not a single bark.  I got Mick to his stall and figured the dogs or coyotes had come but were gone.

There was no sign of my barn cats even when I opened up the canned food.  Again, strange but I was not alarmed.

Make no mistake about it, it was morning by the clock (about 5:00 am) but still a deep dark with no moon or stars showing through the cloudy skies.  I walked to the house.  I scanned the yard for cat corpses -horrbile but I need to see them before Lauren does.  No sign of cats-dead or alive.  And still the dogs were quiet.

As I rounded the house to the front porch, I heard a deep and threatening growl.  I could not tell if it was behind me, in front of me or by the road.  People talk about the hairs on their neck standing on end-mine did and my heart beat faster.  I saw nothing.

The growling continued.  I know dogs well enough to know, this was a big dog. And it felt threatened.  I felt like I had been dropped into a Stephen King novel and we know how that works out-ya, I get eaten.    I was scared standing on my own porch.

“Go on, GET, GET outta here!!” I yelled.  I saw no movement, saw nothing.  Still my dogs were quiet.

In my pjs, my arm in a sling, my heart pounding, I scrambled in the front door.  I have no idea what type of dog it was, or where it went off to.  Likewise, why were my dogs all quiet as death?  The horses and cats clearly sensed the intruder.  My dogs bark at butterflies.  What mystical creature was this that they all respectfully were silenced?

I do not know, may never know, what was out there but I am looking forward to the electricians getting here to put some new lights in the barn.  I will be searching for clues and watching my animals for insight.  My neighbor is out of town, but I wish he was still keeping a vigil on his back porch.  This was a morning I will never forget.

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