Wildwood Dog Fends Off Coyote to Protect Owner
Meet Toby, one girl's best friend.
On a recent, crisp morning, 14-year-old Emma Enright and her beloved dog, Toby, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, went to feed and water her horse as they do every morning in Wildwood.
It wasn't long after Enright arrived at the barn that she said she noticed the barn cats, which usually were there to greet her, were conspicuously absent.
She continued to go about her business, when from the corner of her eye, she said she saw a coyote stroll out of the woods.
"It wasn't really coming at me, like it was going to attack me or anything," said Enright.
However, Toby thought differently. Within seconds, Toby attacked the coyote, leaving it dead not 10 feet from where Enright stood.
"Yeah, it was a little freaky," she said.
This is a pretty rare and dramatic example of a coyote sighting, but they do happen in Wildwood and Eureka, like this one in late December, especially at residences near or surrounded by woods. Conservation officials indicate coyote encounters happen this time of year more than ever, due to the cold weather and lack of food. People are more likely to see coyotes in their front or back yards looking for their next meal in these next few months. Not to worry, though; most encounters are very brief and do not end up in any physical contact.
Coyotes are mainly carnivores, but also will eat fruit and insects, according to Missouri Department of Conservation materials. The carnivore part of their diet is mostly rodents and an occasional rabbit. But when food is scarce, a domestic cat might look like a good option for them, as well.
Generally, coyotes are an important part of our ecosystem and pose little harm to humans. They are smart animals, and are a member of the dog family. They have a very keen sense of smell and hearing, and can detect humans from up to a mile or more away, therefore, staying as far away from people as they possibly can. However, it's always a good idea to be aware of one's surroundings and rely on the "buddy system" when going into area that is known to have a coyote population.