Out on the trail

My dog Aidan and I walk on the Mississippi River Trail almost every morning throughout the year in Minneapolis. 

Two mornings ago we were out there around 9am.

Aidan is a little shitzu poodle mix, not very big, about ten pounds.

He started looking over his shoulder as we were walking, which he doesn't usually do unless someone is coming up behind us on the trail.

I looked back each time but there was no one there.

I just kept telling him, "come on, there's nobody behind us."

But he kept looking back.

Then one of the times I looked expecting to see the empty trail stretching out behind us through the deep woods, but instead, there in the middle of the paved path, with woods and the road to one side and a retaining wall and guard rail to the other, with the immense river below, there on the path stood a very large dog, or wolf or something. He was standing still looking right at us, maybe only twenty feet back from us. 

My brain was trying to process what I was seeing. I started talking to him, "Are you a dog? Are you a wolf? You don't have a collar. You have such a beautiful tail."

He stood unmoving, not blinking. 

I slowly bent down and picked up my tiny morsel of a dog.

I said, "I know you must be really hungry to be up here on the path like this but you have to go back down by the river. You can't be up here. You're going to get yourself into trouble."

He wouldn't move.

I said, "Look, I know you're probably really hungry and I wish I had something for you but you can't eat my dog. You have to turn back."

Then I took a step towards him and said, "Go! Go down by the river and eat a raccoon or a squirrel. Go!"

He turned reluctantly and started trotting back the other direction. He would have to trot along the guard rail a ways before he could turn off the trail and go down to the river through the deep woods. That was where he would be better off if he didn't want to get shot by some person.

I watched him trotting away and I put Aidan down and we started walking again. I felt like the woods were alive with eyes now, like in scary animated woodland scenes.

Then Aidan started looking over his shoulder again and when I turned, here was Mister Coyote coming up again behind us. By now I had processed the situation and the animal in my head and was fairly sure that what we were looking at was a coyote.

I told him to take off. He turned again and headed back again along the guard rail.

We kept walking. Aidan and I both turned and here he was, right up behind us!

"Oh my God!" I said. "You have to stop this! You cannot have my dog! Go! Go down to the river and eat something else for breakfast! Go!"

He finally took me seriously and I watched him run the whole guard rail, turn down into the deep woods, and disappear.

We haven't seen him since, but Aidan is much more wary when we're out walking now.

That guy could be anywhere.


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