Had a retrieve this morning that put me in mind of the current "cheating water" thread and the trial-oriented contention that factors should be challenged both going to and returning from marks.
The coyote and I had been running marks in newly flooded rice stubble and then taken a walk along a large flood canal to see if some adjoining acreage was also being reflooded, when Peake fiddled around and got into a fire ant hill. I'd been keeping him out of the normally gator-safe canal until we'd gotten close enough to a suspicious flotant clump to see that it wasn't a big gator, but had made that determination by the time the ants got him and pitched a bumper into the canal to help him give them the shake. And when he returned with it, I decided to make the most of the situation and try for a photo of him leaping off the far bank returning with another.
So I tossed a bumper across the far levee, got the camera out and turned on, and sent the coyote - who no sooner splashed down in mid canal than my peripheral vision caught sight of something large coming down the canal fast. Was a big-enough gator locked on the dog and just slipping under the surface when I reacted by hollering and trying to throw the camera at him. Which, fortunately it turned out, was tethered by its strap to my hand. I did, however, create enough distraction to bend the gator's course - as well as stop the dog, that I immediately sent on. And when the gator came back into view, my coyote was just making the far bank:
Potential tragedy averted, we still had a return factor to deal with:
Reminded me of an old Far Side cartoon of two retrievers facing the challenge of a dead duck in the middle of a alligator-infested pond, and one graciously telling his friend, "You go ahead and take the first one, Fred."
Naturally, I chose to handle the coyote well down the far levee before having him cross, but even that didn't discourage our new friend who came on the double to see if he might still be in time for dinner:
So much for that training local until after next month's alligator season. While certainly no dinosaur, that tataille is big enough to make a friend with tags for the spot happy, and I've already dropped a dime on him.