ROUNDTOP--This photo doesn’t look like much now, but just two hours ago it was site of an encounter between a human (X) and three canines, one domesticated and two wild, free and untamed. At approximately 5:30 a.m. the human and the domestic canine (Dog) were out for a morning walk along the bank of this serene pond.
"I don’t usually walk here in the morning," the human said. "This is normally our evening walk. I don’t often have the time to walk the whole way around in the morning, and until this week it hasn’t been light enough at 5:30 a.m. to walk here, anyway."
But this morning there was time and it was light enough. And here’s what happened: Human and Dog were proceeding north along the rim of the pond when suddenly, from out of the tall grass on the bank, appeared the two wild canines. All four apparently first saw each other at precisely the same instant. All four stopped dead.
The domestic canine (Dog) was tethered to the human with a long leash (see photo) . Dog was separated from the first of the wild canines by a distance of approximately 20 feet, the human was another 15 feet back. The second wild canine was a few feet behind the first.
"Boy, were those red fox beautiful," the human said. "Both looked in great condition. I saw the first one the best, and that one was a large fox with a lovely coat."
For a few heartbeats, all four animals stared at each other. And then the foxes took off, racing down the bank towards the forest. Before reaching the tree line, the lead fox barked. ("I hear them barking at night all the time," the human reported.).
The domestic canine (Dog) was frantically excited and tried to chase them (or perhaps join their pack) but was deterred by the human at the end of the long lead. Dog settled for tracking the red duo back to the water’s edge, where the two were apparently sharing an early morning drink of water before the encounter. Then Dog traced the angle at which they approached the pond from the woods, until, once again, he was deterred by the human.
(Sorry I don’t have a photo of the two foxes, but 70 lb. Dog was more than enough to handle at the time. If I’d had the camera, too, it would likely now be lying broken somewhere on the ground. Or I would be.)