A grown woman peeing her pants in fear is the worst possible way to start the day, so let’s just say it was almost a very bad day. I was steps away from it being the worst day since toddlerhood.
I walked the dog yesterday – it was a mild, gorgeous day and we’d gone the long route. Something caught my eye - a white-tailed deer perhaps? I’d had five of them cross my path the other night while I drove home and I wondered if this was one of the same. But it was walking funny – something about it was un-deer like. Then I realised – it in fact was no deer – but a wolf. A massive, scary, stalking wolf.
He was about 200 metres back from the road – which may take a minute or two to walk on human legs, but I figured it would only take about 24 seconds to a huge wild animal to run it. Especially towards a tasty breakfast of meaty ol’ girl and a side of canine companion.
My first instinct wasn’t fear – it was wonderment and awe. Other than the zoo, I’d never seen one that close. We get put to sleep many nights with the howls of coyote packs, but we don’t’ actually see them much. A few times in the car – which is, incidentally – the only other time I’ve seen a wolf in the wild – while driving in my car. It was just as mesmerizing, but far less scary protected by glass and steel. Once the amazement of seeing this creature so close wore off, I snapped into reality. What the hell would I do if it ran towards us?
We were downwind, which I guess is why he was walking away from us and not paying us any attention. Maalik, on the other hand, was sniffing the air like he was going to go nuts. When he finally spotted the wolf he stopped in his tracks (except his nostrils which now did triple time).
“Bad doggy. That’s a bad doggy out there, he’s bad, stay with mum. ” I used my best “don’t go there” voice and kept my eyes fixed on my dog – willing him to come to me instead of run out to the field to make a new friend. I had nothing to use to protect him or me. It’s bad enough I have all these stupid Easter Crème Egg extra pounds padding my body, now I have to have a big scarred face too? (that was the writer in me, taking things to the extreme which often happens in life and art for me).
Maalik got right in step with me and stayed next to my side. We had no choice but to walk towards home – houses are far apart out here, my neighbour’s house sits on almost 400 acres, so it’s not like I could run up the driveway and be safe faster than the wolf could get to us and tear our heads off. We had to push on past and hope he didn’t notice us.
That’s when he turned and stared us down. That’s also when an incontinence product would have come in very handy. I literally almost peed my pants – and for those of you literary watchdogs out there – I DO mean literally.
He kept his eyes trained on us for several minutes. He stood perfectly still watching us as we passed the house and the barn before turning and heading the other way. Both Maalik and I walked at a steady clip, but kept our heads turned back towards him as well. I was too afraid to look away and apparently, so was my dog. The same can’t be said for the farmer’s cattle – every single one of them had shuffled into the safety of the barn.
I was never so glad to get in from a walk on a beautifully warm winter day. I may never leave the house again. At least not without my Depends.