The coyote saga continues.
There is a product on the market that emits a blinking red light from dusk until dawn and is said to ward off coyotes and other predators. It’s a small solar powered unit that takes nothing to operate. It powers up from the sun during the day and runs all night. Originally designed to protect livestock, other farm animals, and crops, it has of late come into extensive use in urban areas where predators, especially coyotes, have encroached.
The theory behind it is that a coyote sees this light from a distance, thinks it might be another predator or simply a presence he doesn’t understand, and decides to stay away.
I know about this because Jim, a local resident, has bought hundreds of these and is offering to install them on the homes and properties of as many people as he can convince — no charge for the unit or the installation. If you ask him why he’s doing this, he tells you he is retired, has the time, the funds, and two small dogs of his own, and wants to give back to the community. All he needs is someone’s permission to install a couple of these on their property. When Jim came by and told me about this, I figured I had nothing to lose. The police don’t think these lights work, but 30 homeowners, who have had them blinking on their property every night for the last three months, will tell you otherwise.
There’s a method to his madness. He wants to have these installed around enough houses to create an impenetrable perimeter to protect a whole block. To help him do this, Jim recruited me to take him around to my neighbors and introduce him and his plan. So on Saturday I reluctantly obliged. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind for my Saturday morning, but I had to admit, when we were done, that it was well worth the time, if anything, for the neighbors I met and now know.
First, closest to me, there are Marv, Tex and Kevin, whom I already knew, but got to spend some time chatting with. And then, further up, I met Jane and Philo. Marv and Jane lost cats; Kevin lost a dog; Tex has two dogs he doesn’t want to lose, and Philo doesn’t have any pets, but he’s sympathetic. He’s key, too, because he is at the top of the block where we think most of the coyotes are gaining access to a gully that runs through our properties where we are sure they like to hang out.
So it took me 15 years and the death of Eloise to meet Jane, Jim and Philo. Not to mention the number of neighbors and residents all over town that Marti has befriended, because of our coyote experience, through an online neighborhood website. Nor is it mentioning the fact that I can say my name to just about anyone in town and they will say, “Aren’t you the guy that had the coyote come in your house?” Like I said last week: I’m a celebrity.
What shall I say? The opportunity for relationship is here. The opportunity to be salt and light in our community is here. The opportunity to face opposition gracefully is here. (This issue is far from over, with the animal rights people trying to stop the current trapping program that was just voted in by the city council.)
Dare I say that, as difficult as it was to see her carried off, Eloise didn’t die in vain?