Evening Day One
Several evenings ago, about 10:30 pm, I went outside with my dog to take her for her evening walk. I live in a condominium that sits on a nature preserve, so it is not unusual to see turtles, opossums, armadillos, raccoons, and squirrels running around or bats flying above. That evening, however, I thought I saw a wild animal not far from where I was walking. I saw bright shiny eyes, but could not tell what type of animal it was.
I kept walking with my dog by my side. She didn’t pay any attention to the animal, so I didn’t either. When I came around the corner and back towards my building, the animal was sitting on the grass not far from me. It stared and me and I stared back, but I still couldn’t tell what it was. Finally, it starting “barking” the strangest sound I ever heard. Trixie’s ears perked up and she started to pull towards the animal, but I pulled her away and brought her home – as fast as I could.
A little while later I went back outside by myself to see if I could find the animal and identify it. No luck, it was gone. So I did the next best thing, google search. I thought it might have been the coyote because one had been seen in several other neighborhoods recently. The coyotes in the pictures seemed a bit too large for my elusive “friend.”
The next morning I expected to see a post at the mail kiosk telling us to beware of a wild animal in the neighborhood. Nothing.
Evening Day Two
I went out at my usual time, 10:30, to take Trixie for her evening walk. Although I was a little nervous, I kept looking for the animal. After about fifteen minutes, I had all but given up when I saw him ahead of me. This time, I stared him down, he stared me down, and started to walk towards me. He was small, but taller than a dog or a cat, but I still could not quite make out what kind of animal he was. For sure, he wasn’t domesticated. I tugged on Trixie’s leash and hurried her in the other direction. When I looked back, the animal was following me. Now I was scared, so I started to run. This, I can assure you, was no easy feat and certainly not a pretty sight. When I looked back, the animal was also running, right towards me. I ran behind one of the buildings and figured if the animal got close, I could climb a tree and “hide.” In retrospect, that was a ridiculous idea because what would I have done with my dog?
All I could do was keep moving and pray that I didn’t trip and fall on my face. When I finally got to my front door, my heart was pounding, but luckily Trixie and I were alone. I have not run in years, and thank goodness no one saw me. I immediately sent a text to a friend in the neighborhood informing her that there was a wild animal on the loose and that I was too afraid to finish walking Trixie. She offered to come over and walk with me, but I declined. I wasn’t about to go outside and come face to face with a werewolf or even something worse. I have watched enough Supernatural by now to know that this is a possibility.
Evening Day Three
I opened the front door about 11:00 that evening and saw my little friend/enemy running across the street towards my friend’s building. Trixie and I wisely walked in the other direction. I walked with my shoulders back and my head held high. I was not about to let that animal sense my fear even though my heart was pounding and I was on high alert. I even had phone with me, ready to take a picture and make a proper ID. I walked for longer than usual, around each block and even towards the back of the complex where there is a big , dark lake and not too many lights. He was no where to be found. Where are all the wild animals when you need them?
Morning Day Four
6:30 am, and I take Trixie for her morning walk, a little later than usual. I see one of my neighbors, also out walking her dog. I ask her if she has seen any wild animals recently. She has not, but saw a bob cat a few months earlier. Back inside, I googled bob cat images, but the animal I saw really didn’t look like one.
Evening Day Four
10:00 pm, a little early for my evening walk, but nevertheless, I head outside. My good friend and neighbor was walking her dog, Moe, so we decided to walk together. She told me that the animal I saw was definitely a fox. She had seen him walking down her street. Now that I wasn’t alone, I acted like it was no big deal and I wasn’t afraid. We walked towards the front of the complex near the park, and all the way back to my place. No wild animal sightings, not even a bat flying around. After bringing Trixie back inside, I did another google search: Florida Foxes. This time, the images matched the animal I saw. I was sure that I would find that these were dangerous creatures and that I would have to do the thing I would dread the most, call animal services.
I was wrong. Though I couldn’t not tell if my fox was gray or red, I learned that the fox is a nocturnal animal, and has a yapping bark – definitely a match. The gray fox is sometimes referred to as the “tree fox” because it can scramble-up a tree and is the only member of the dog family capable of climbing. Thank goodness I hadn’t tried out my George of the Jungle routine the other night or that darn fox would have been climbing up the tree right after me.
After reading several different articles stating the same thing, I had to let go of my fear. Foxes are not dangerous to humans or dogs. The truth is, they have more to fear from us than we do from them.
Morning Day Five
I went shopping on Saturday morning with my granddaughter. I wanted to buy a pair of curtains I had seen on-line, so we went to Ikea. On the way to the elevator, we had to pass through the children’s department. At the end of the department there was a bin filled with stuffed animals that were on sale. The first one to catch my eye was a momma fox and her baby.
Naturally, I said, “Luna, look at that cute fox. Wouldn’t you like one for your very own?”
“Yes, grandma,” she told me. So we bought them. It was fate.