This kind of thing happens in Yellowstone all the time. Many people are unclear on the difference between a wild animal and a tame one.
It’s not that wild animals are all rabid and unpredictable. They are predictable within the parameters of their naturally evolved temperaments and reflexes, which of course vary greatly from species to species. If they regard humans as either potential food, or threat, really, that should not be that hard to understand.
The thing about wild animals is that they live in a natural and social environment that’s alien to ours. But pets live in our world, at least in part. C. S. Lewis (a great pet lover and the creator of Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia, who was not a tame lion) somewhere said that our cats and dogs have three paws in their own worlds, and one paw in ours, and that makes all the difference to us. This is particularly true of cats. The inside-outside cat can be a terror to songbirds in the yard. Yet in the house of its humans, this same cat is a soothing purrball that constitutes a danger only to Christmas tree ornaments.
Maybe the essence of a pet is to be partly tame and partly (which us usually less apparent to us) wild. That makes them like humans: we evolved in the wild too, and somewhere in our hearts and souls there is something wild, free, hardwired to exist in pack life, and predatory. (All of which is grist for the mill of romantic and adventure fiction!)
Alexis Glynn Latner writes speculative fiction and belongs to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She also works at the Rice University Library in Houston, Texas and teaches creative writing through Rice University's School of Continuing Studies. When not taking flights of the mind - i.e., working on books and stories - her favorite activity is flying sailplanes. She has a private pilot glider rating. The sky always beckons.
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