One of our readers sent us this report in reply to the submission from Jacqueline
Hi Jacqueline, I really enjoyed your story; thank you for writing it so well, too!
I was thinking about the questions you posed & I hope you don't mind if I leave my thoughts. We live p/t in a very rural area by the woods & often see coyote signs (scat, tracks), even left during the day. I think they even come close to the house as my dog loves to sniff at certain places, as if a 'dog' had visited. We also hear what seems to be several coyotes howling at night, although they're not supposed to be in packs (maybe siblings, parent/s?).
I'm sure you've thought of this, but in terms of cats, I feel pretty strongly that ANY cats that are outdoors ALWAYS run the risk of becoming prey. We also live in the city of Toronto p/t & we've seen both a Coyote & Foxes on our street. I think it's just a natural behavior with Coyotes as food to survive & feed their young is not provided for them, not to mention how people complicate matters by leaving garbage out, feeding them, etc.
With small children, I think it is important parents teach children about how to be with new dogs in general - confident, unengaging, not to run and not to pet the dog until they have permission; this will also avoid dog bites.
Perhaps it's time to teach children (who are big enough to be out by themselves, even close to the house) about Coyotes. Not to panic, not to run away, to be confident & to make a lot of noise if the Coyote approaches (any unknown dog/s without a person) and to slowly back away to find an adult, or go to the closest building (this is also good as a Bear strategy). Also what to do if the Coyote/s jumps on them (in a fetal position & protect the head & neck, etc).
Although it may seem too scary to talk about this with kids, I was attacked by my friend's German Shepherd when I was four years old (I still have a 'teeth mark' scar on my temple). It may not be a bad thing to educate children in ways that parents know are best.
It seems so radical to do this and truly, I think the odds are very, very slim indeed. When visiting rural areas, I think parents should always be right there with their kids & pets - close enough that if something grabs it, the adults can immediately intervene (or to discourage any approach by an animal by being so close). In my opinion, leashes are a good idea these days - especially on forest paths.
I think it is the ADULTS' responsibility to adequately prepare for these eventualities, either to avoid them altogether (staying close to our children or pets, cat does not go outside by itself, using the leash), or to prepare in the small (but real) chance something does happen. We also don't walk our country roads without bear spray, we're so aware there's no guarantees, but just in case.
I think contemplating the questions you are is an amazing way to come up with good, effective answers. Thanks again for your story & your thoughts!
Thanks Tammy, for your info on this subject - I read recently about a family who lived in Northern Ontario, where there are Bears, and they often leave their car unlocked, just in case they are outside, and a Bear approaches them - they would have somewhere safe to go!