What started off as a typical Wednesday morning walk quickly turned into a terrifying incident earlier this week when a Mattapoisett woman had a run-in with a coyote in her neighborhood.

Michele Demakis Barry, who teaches second grade at Central School in Mattapoisett, got up around 5:45 a.m. on Wednesday to take her golden retriever puppy, Daisy, for an early morning walk. She left the house without her contacts and without her phone, expecting a quick trip around the neighborhood before work.

"Normally, I take a shower and then I walk the dog, but this morning, I just was wide awake so I walked her before I showered, and I'm like, 'I'll never do that again!" Demakis Barry said.

During the walk, Demakis Barry saw an animal run through her neighbor's yard and, at first, mistook it for a German Shepherd. Almost instantly though, she realized that it was actually a coyote. Demakis Barry said she has seen plenty of coyotes before and that they usually get spooked at the sight of a human. Not this time. Instead, the coyote started coming toward her and her pup.

Inside, Demakis Barry was panicking, but she headed in the direction of her neighbor's house. There weren't any lights on and it wasn't even 6 a.m. yet, but she knocked quietly, hoping for an answer. At this point, the coyote had reached the driveway, so she knocked louder and rang the doorbell, desperate for an answer. Luckily, her neighbors, the O'Brien family, answered their door and let her and Daisy inside while the coyote stared them down from the end of the driveway.

"[The O'Briens] harbored me into [their] mudroom and I know we've seen each other, but I don't really know them," Demakis Barry said. "They were so kind to me because I was shaking in my boots. They were just so, so kind and generous and welcoming to me at 5:45 in the morning, knocking on their door. I was so rattled [and] their kindness was really appreciated."

Demakis Barry shared her story on the Mattapoisett Life Facebook group shortly after the incident, hoping to spread awareness to other SouthCoast residents, especially those who may have small animals. She said a few of her neighbors have noticed more coyotes during the daytime and some have even eaten her neighbors' chickens.

"Someone said today, which is such an interesting fact that, due to COVID and so few people being out and about, that coyotes are feeling more comfortable in their natural habitat. I'm like 'wow, another stinkin' COVID thing,'" Demakis Barry said.

After her close encounter, Demakis Barry did some research and talked with friends about what to do if a coyote approaches you. She said you're supposed to make yourself big, yell, and if you really want to be prepared, carry an airhorn.

For now, Demakis Barry's run-in has led to at least one good thing: the ability to sleep in now that her husband has taken over the morning dog-walking duties.

"That works for me. It's a win-win!" Barry said, laughing.

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We reached out to Mattapoisett Animal Control to inquire about other recent coyote incidents in the area, but have not heard back yet.

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