Animals (wild and domestic) can play a significant part in our lives and, therefore, our Memoiries. Here are some four-legged Memoiries shared by a fan:
I had a very urban childhood, growing up in Queens, New York. Other than squirrels and pigeons, the only wildlife I ever saw was in a zoo. That all changed when I moved to the mountains in Colorado. Wildlife encounters are fairly commonplace here. Hardly a day goes by without seeing elk and deer. Foxes regularly poop in my driveway. But it is the bigger predator sightings that truly remind me I’m not in New York anymore. Just this morning, a rather large coyote ran out of the meadow and crossed the road about 10 feet from where my dogs and I were walking. The three of us stood in shock for a minute as the coyote looked at us and then ran into the field on the other side of the road.
My first major animal encounter was when my husband and I first moved into our house. I had spent the day refinishing the dining room floor. My back ached and I was tired, so I picked up a sandwich from the grocery store and crashed in front of the TV in our bedroom. My husband was away and when I heard noises in the garage below me, I told myself it was just a raccoon. The noises got louder and I finally got up the courage to check. I opened the door to the garage and heard loud breathing but I couldn’t see anything. I was too afraid to step into the garage to turn on the light. Instead, I went back upstairs and turned on the outside light that lit up the side of the driveway. I went out on the small deck off the bedroom and yelled, “Shoo, shoo!” Suddenly the animal stepped into the light. It wasn’t a raccoon. It was a bear! Panicked, I dialed 911. The operator told me to stay inside and said that when the bear was done with our trash, he would leave on his own. I didn’t get much sleep that night. In the morning, I cleaned up the trash that was dragged all the way up the driveway – my punishment for leaving the garage door open!
My next major animal encounter came about a year later when we got our first dog, Rio, a 10-month-old border collie, from some friends who lived in the suburbs and couldn’t keep him. They thought our mountain lifestyle would suit him perfectly. The first day we had him, he took off. I chased after him, following him to a wooded ravine. I heard lots of barking and thought he had met up with some unfriendly dogs. When I finally caught up to him, I realized he alone was doing all the barking. As I got a little closer, I realized he was barking at something. Then I saw what had his attention –– a mountain lion. I tried calling him to me but he wouldn’t come. I decided I needed more help, and made my way back to the road toward our house. I had tunnel vision. All I could see was the dirt road right in front of me. It seemed to take way too long to get home and I thought perhaps I had somehow turned the wrong way, but then I saw the house. I stopped at our driveway and turned around to see Rio running toward me. I grabbed him and put him inside. I went back out to find my husband, who had lost track of both me and Rio. As soon as I saw him, I started to cry. Rio, on the other hand, was as happy as a dog can be. He’d had the best adventure of his life! Afterwards, people would say how lucky I was to have seen a mountain lion. I thought (and still think) they were crazy. It was quite scary.