In the news again - Big Birds and Little Dogs - Carolyn Kerton, Canada, has been cautious about letting her six-pound Yorkshire terrier outside since last summer when several cats disappeared and coyotes were spotted in the area.
Carolyn points to one of the wounds that her dog Cookie sustained during an owl attack in her backyard last week. But never did the Pokiok resident believe an owl would be the one to attack her 11-year-old dog, Cookie.
Kerton was taking the small dog outside to use the bathroom. Kerton was on the step waiting for the dog to do its business only about two feet away when she saw something dark fly down from the corner of the house.
"I could hear the movement of the wings," said Kerton. "I figure it was on the roof of the house because it happened so quickly." She said the large owl completely covered the dog.
"Its wings were spread out and the owl was covering the entire dog. I heard the dog yelp when the owl landed on her and then nothing."
Kerton said she thought the dog was dead since she could not see any movement.
Kerton, clad only in her pajamas and socks, rushed to help Cookie.
"I ran out and kicked snow at the owl to scare it off the dog," said Kerton, but she said the bird continued to cling to the dog.
She grabbed a plastic shovel near the house, while hoping that the owl would not fly away with her dog. Kerton started beating the owl. The owl finally let go of the small dog and landed in the snow a short distance from them.
The dog was taken to the vet and received an antiobiotic shot and treatment. Cookie sustained two large wounds on her back where the claws dug in, another small wound on her back and one on her head, . Cookie also suffered a concussion. The dog is now back home recovering from her close encounter.
Cookie doesn't seem to be afraid to go outside but Kerton says when she does, Kerton is right beside her. She wants other people to be aware of their surroundings and that this can happen to their small dogs or cats. Kerton says she had an adrenaline rush during the attack and did what she had to do to save her dog.
"My dog is old but I wasn't going to let her die that way."
In Wisonsin, Elizabeth Todd cradles her chihuahua "Poppy" like a baby.
"They become part of your family, part of your life." Last year, Poppy had a run in with a big bird. "It tore my heart out to think something had happened to him," said Elizabeth.
Her 9-year-old son Tim was there. He remembers hearing something awful.
"It was a terrible yelp," said Tim. "Real loud and we heard wings flapping and we looked back and Poppy was flying right up there."
Some kind of large bird had picked up the 3-pound chihuahua.
"It kinda looked like he was in both of his talons and the bird was flying up and he was looking down and whining," said Tim.
The family spent hours searching the nearby streets and neighborhoods for Poppy, but they couldn't find him. "It was a very sleepless night because everything that kept going through my mind was my little dog being torn apart and it was hard to imagine that he was going through that," said Elizabeth.
"When I went to sleep, I lost a little hope," said Tim.
After a night of tossing and turning, relief showed up right at the front door as Elizabeth's dad was leaving for work. It was Poppy, running to Elizabeth's arms.
"I just broke down in tears because my little Poppy was back," said Elizabeth.
Poppy was in one piece, despite being a little dirty and scratched.
"He just wanted to love on someone," said Tim.
"Miracles still happen," said Elizabeth. "Prayers get answered even for little dogs."
Wildlife experts say attacks like this one are rare and almost always lethal.
The best advice for owners of small dogs is to keep them on a leash or just stay close by when they're outdoors.