"THERE'S A COYOTE IN THE HOUSE, IT'S IN THE KITCHEN!!!"
We just froze. "A WHAT, did you say?!?"
"A coyote, it's in the kitchen, we don't know how he got in but he's in there!" they each partially responded with a part of the story. The absolute look of terror on their faces assured us they weren't playing around, or just looking for a reason to stay up past their bedtime. We realized we'd left the deck door open so that the dogs could come in, but we never thought for a second that anything else would come in.
Kev told the kids to stay in the game room with the door shut, and he and I ventured toward the kitchen, armed only with a yard stick. It was the only thing we could find. The heavier artillery was either outside or in the kitchen, so we were at a loss. Creeping very slowly toward the kitchen (and ready to both scream AND run at the same time) we made our way inside, and found no evidence of a coyote. Kev grabbed the broom handle, and we began to make our way into the dining room, very slowly and quietly, hoping to hear it first (then scream and run, if need be). Nothing in the dining room so we slowly advanced to the living room. Nothing there either so it was time to head upstairs and make sure that was all clear as well.
By this time we assumed whatever had come in, had probably also left in a panic out the same door when the kids ran screaming into the game room. Letting our guard down considerably, we made our way up the living room stairs and just at the top of the stairs Kevin gestured to me to stop. "Oh man, YES, there is something up here, it just ran into our bedroom, and it's big". So, down the stairs I went leaving him all alone to his coyote wranglin'. Surely that is men's work indeed. Sidenote: It's nothing short of astounding how fast a mother of 7 can move, when moving is highly desirable.
About halfway down the stairs I call back up "so, IS it a coyote!?" Not that it mattered at this point, except for maybe giving the paramedic vital information after the fact. I was hoping that wouldn't have to happen, but when you've got a coyote in your bedroom, it's difficult to predict how that story will end.
From mid-stairway, I watched as Kevin tried to make his way into the darkened room with a broom handle ("Put that stick in front of you, don't carry it like a walking stick, Moses!). He still couldn't make out exactly what the beast was, because it was so dark. It was definitely canine, he said. He could see the shape of it, make out its eyes, ears and see that it had a tail. Dog, maybe? We've lived here 6 years and have never had a stray or neighboring farm dog come onto the property. We have however seen many coyotes.
Kevin finally made his way to the light switch while the beast huddled in the far corner of the room. He flipped it on and we finally saw what had invaded our peaceful evening and terrified the kids (and sent Dougal flying under one kid's bed, and Tulip going crazy in the game room with the kids). It wasn't a coyote at all, it was a rather healthy looking German Shepherd. Rather friendly too, just a tad scared by all the screaming and panic, I'm sure.
Eventually Kevin coaxed it out of the room and it followed him down the stairs and left via the front door. I have no idea where it came from, but since it didn't have a collar on, I'm assuming it was a neighboring farm dog, and maybe came calling after Tulip. She didn't inform us she had a date, but she's a little mental that way.
The moral of this story is this:
If you leave your door open (literal or otherwise), you just never know what might come in and cause your kids to scream, your husband to go all Wyatt Earp, and you to move down stairs so fast it may have appeared there were special affects in play. We'll be keeping the door shut from now on, next time it might actually BE a coyote!