Wildlife lives in my neighborhood, and yours. I’d forgotten that until I encountered a coyote on two recent morning walks.

I’d reached the bottom of our neighborhood hill, traversing my usual two-mile route, when I noticed a large dog crossing the street behind a jogger headed in my direction. I stopped. I wondered at first, if someone’s dog had gotten loose. But by the time the jogger reached me, I realized the dog was a coyote. A coyote that stared right back at me (and my large lab puppy) without moving. It was close to 8 a.m. and full daylight. We did a U-turn and headed a different way.

When we first moved to the area, we would often hear coyotes howling at night. We’d even see them cruising down the neighborhood streets. We were warned not to let our cats outdoors. But the area has been built up over the years, and I haven’t seen (or heard) a coyote in a long time.

So, of course I thought that morning encounter was an unusual one…until I saw that same coyote another morning about the same time. I was a lot closer when the coyote appeared and as quickly disappeared into some bushes near a well-used sidewalk. Now, I imagine that coyote snoozing in those bushes while people pass by all day long.

About two weeks prior to these encounters, my puppy discovered a severed cat leg on our backyard slope. (I’ll spare you the gross and gruesome details). I was shocked. I didn’t understand how the leg got into our yard, or the scattered clumps of fur. Until my neighbor told me she thought a coyote was living behind her back fence.

Wild rabbits are abundant in our neighborhood. Lizards love the warm surfaces of our patio. I’ve seen several rattlesnakes in nearby parks. Deer often pass through my father-in-law’s yard. My dad tells me his friend in Tahoe strung an electrical line outside his cabin to keep bears out.

We travel long distances to state or national parks to view the wildlife. We’re awestruck at the wildlife in the wild. We take pictures. But for some reason, I’m taken aback by the wildlife (like the coyotes) surviving among us in our concrete neighborhoods.