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February 22, 2021

If Tank were a character in a film, he would be the Dude from Big Lebowski.

You think I’m kidding but if he could walk around in a half-open bathrobe and slippers, ordering White Russians, he would.

If Tank could talk he’d do it while inhaling a joint and he’d say things like“ Mannnnnnnnn, I think you could have asked in a nicer way, is all I’m saying.”

“He likes goats more then humans.” the breeder in Tennesse told us.

LOL. This dog likes humans more then I do, some days.

The thing is, the coyotes are here.

We live in paradise but coyotes roam freely at night.

They have gruesome howling parties whenever they make a kill.

Have you ever heard coyotes making a kill? It’s this hideously loud orgy of shrieking bloodlust. And the poor bunny or deer scream too. This is the part I can’t bear.

“Just part of living in the country.” Max said. “You get used to it.”

To be fair—coyotes are not evil. They serve a purpose; they are a part of the animal kingdom and eco-system.

I’d just prefer they serve that purpose far, far away from our goats.

Even now when we hear them, even inside, I freeze. My ears have become hyper alert to them. We will listen in silence for a second. If we can hear Tank bark in response, even a couple of gruff woofs, Max will nod.

“He’s doing his job.”

Then I breath out. I am half-worried I’ve already ruined this dog by loving on him so much and that if a coyote, G-d forbid ever kills a goat it will be my fault because I’ve spoiled him into thinking he’s a cuddly house dog instead of the massive, intimidating guard he was hired to be.

The truth is though, Tank is much more than just a body-guard. He is a charmer, a deeply kind, soothing, friendly presence. He is a friend.

It is alson true that, not counting yesterday’s challah stealing fiasco, he has tried to sneak into the house many times. Yesterday he just got lucky.

Max felt it reasonable, after he inhaled all the bread and cheese, that he have a bit less dog food for dinner. I protested. He did a bad thing, yes, but he still deserved dinner. You see the kind of push-over parent I am. Sigh.

And then it happened.

We went to bed. And at 3:00 am Max bolted awake.

“What is that.” I whispered.

We both got out of bed, to listen at the window.

A loud, menacing growl. Not a coyote sound.

Tank was snarling back. We’d never heard that sound out of him. A massive growl, a massive grumble came back.

This went back and forth for a while.

Like some kind of terrible call-and-response.

“It’s definitely not a coyote.” Max said. “ There’s some other kind of animal out there. I’ve never heard him snarl like that at anything before. Whatever it is, it’s right outside the paddock.”

Then, quiet. No sounds from the goats—this is a good thing. (You hear if they are in trouble.)

Tank calmed down. The animal seemed to have slunk away.

In the morning, we went to YouTube. I typed in “mountain lion growl.”

I played it for Max. He nodded.

“That’s it. That’s exactly what we heard.”

“Tank defended us all from a mountain lion.”

“He is doing his job after all.”

Max looks thoughtful and then, after a pause, says,  “Guess he deserved the challah.”

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