So now that I can breathe again I can relate a big scare a few nights ago…
Skimmer and I were down in Green Valley, Arizona last week to visit with family, and one night he woke me up ~1am and had to “go”. Ugh, well – he had to go and that’s that. We walk across the street to an open area, he pees, and suddenly we hear scuffling in the rocks… o – k – … waving my light into the open space I can barely make out what looks to be a coyote or fox; “great, it’ll run away”, I think, and I pull Skimmer across the street to give it room. As if to confirm, I hear scuffling on the other side of the street, the spot I’m walking towards, where an alley between the houses leads out to the desert. Good, it’s running away. Then it happens: Skimmer starts lunging and screaming… it’s not running away… it’s coming towards me… a loose dog that is happy to see us maybe? Suddenly it, no wait… THEY… suddenly TWO grunting havelinas are charging us! Skimmer is screaming, I’m angrily yelling, the havelinas are still running at us and all our commotion is doing zippo to stop them. I have one last idea: as they reach a point ~15 feet from me I throw my ever-so-pathetically-undersized flashlight at the lead havelina and …yes, a break… they both do a double-take and stop to look at it. As fast as I can, pulling a lunging, screaming 140-lb Leonberger, we get through the house gate and slam it shut. Ahhh… we’re alive!
I watched those darn animals sniff and nudge my little flashlight for 10 minutes and almost decided that my $1.99 mini-lite was not worth my life… but I finally decided I could drive my truck out the 15 feet needed to retrieve the light. NO WAY was I going out on foot to get that flashlight.
I shudder at how close to disaster we came: had I had Skimmer and Splash with me I probably could not have held them both back, had I been 20-30′ further on the street they would have been between me and the house, had I simply not had that teeny-tiny dollar store flashlight they would have overtaken us about 10 seconds later . I seriously doubt even 2 healthy 100+ lb. Leos could survive an encounter with 2 scrappy Havelinas. Those horns, those nasty little horns!. Once I saw those distinctive horns on their snouts I realized what a horrible mis-identification I’d made. What would a fight between a Havelina and a human and dog be like!?!?
A couple days later I was chatting with a lady from Tucson and she mentioned that Havelina moms had babies on the ground right now. This may have explained why they were ultra aggressive against a clearly larger foe (I didn’t say stronger or better, I simply said larger)… or… it may be that they were just plain mean.
I will never, ever venture out far away from the house down there at night. And pepper spray and a Magnum Mag-Lite will be standard issue… maybe 2!