Pay Attention to the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” PSA for Dog Coyote Vests · The Wildest

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Pay Attention to the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” PSA for Dog Coyote Vests

Clearly, Larry David wants your pup to be safe from coyotes. Here’s why you should, too.

by Esther Zuckerman
March 22, 2024
a dog from Curb Your Enthusiasm wearing a coyote vest
Photo: HBO

In the most recent episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Susie Greene (Susie Essman) — the loudmouthed frenemy of Larry David — extended her reliably bananas fashion sense to her new puppy, Frankie. While Susie wears a very loud yellow sweater with feathers, Frankie outdoes her with a spiky ensemble that makes it look ready for a Sex Pistols show. 

“What the hell is this?” Larry asks, gesturing toward the dog. Susie explains, “It’s a coyote vest. They’re all over the f*cking neighborhood.” (She’s Susie Greene, of course she uses an expletive.) 

I, of course, already knew what the outfit was. I am very familiar with coyote vests from my brief time living in Los Angeles three years ago when I found myself in a very similar situation to Susie. (Minus some of the outlandish outfits.)

Why I got a coyote vest for my pup

Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, I was always aware of the threat of coyotes to pets. When I was just seven years old, and my family had moved into a new house, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lady was attacked and died. So, when I came back to LA as an adult with my Corgi mix, Daisy, I knew to be on the lookout. I didn’t expect just how quite prevalent they would be near my duplex in Los Feliz. 

I needed to be on the lookout for coyotes, who seemed largely unfazed by humans, at all hours of the day. Reports would routinely arrive via NextDoor about dogs who had become victims. At one point, one followed me and Daisy back into the unfenced yard behind our home. Last year, Nicholas Mozas of DOGORA recommended some tips for coyote encounters in The Wildest

He writes: “First and foremost, remain calm, keep eye contact, and slowly back away while leaving the area. Never run from a coyote, as you may trigger its predatory response and give it a reason to chase you. If you have any personal alarm devices, such as a whistle, bell, or phone alarm, use them to scare the coyote.”

In my situation, I picked up Daisy and screamed as loud as I could until my boyfriend came running from inside, which scared the animal away. I can’t say I followed the advice to be calm. And so, after another very close call, I decided to invest in a coyote vest. Daisy didn’t love wearing it, but she did look hilarious in her little punk-style get up. 

Beyond the fashion appeal, I felt at least a little more secure when taking her out, even though my anxiety was still high. It was useful, at least until my boyfriend and I got tired of LA for a number of factors — including coyotes — and ended up moving back to New York City. Now the wildlife we encounter largely consists of rats and pigeons. I will take them over coyotes any day. 

However, if you happen to live in Los Angeles, or an area with coyotes, I would heartily recommend making like Susie and getting a vest. 

Why you should just get a coyote vest

Dr. Bonnie Abbott, a veterinarian in Erie, Colorado, says she recommends coyote vests for small dogs particularly and shares that her own 15-pound Terrier was killed by a coyote. She thinks the vest could have saved his life. 

“The coyote vests do appear to be a good idea for small dogs, as they can protect a dog from the most commonly attacked area — the back of the neck,” she tells The Wildest. “While the vest is not a whole body suit, it cannot guarantee full-body protection, but it greatly increases the chances of survival with a coyote encounter. I would likely get one for a small dog if I were to own a small dog again.” 

The Wildest recommends the CoyoteVest SpikeVest, which professional dog rescuer nd The Wildest Collective member Henry Friedman also endorses. “It might look a little funny, but that’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.” 

If you noticed that Susie’s pup has some extra flair, that’s not just because she's a fiend for accessories, though she is. Those are attachable whiskers that are not sharp but intended to scare off predators even more. Susie just happened to pick the most colorful option. 

I must say, despite this demonstration of puppy protection in Curb, I’m still worried about Frankie’s fate in the show. The coyote plotline was first introduced earlier in the season when Larry and Susie’s husband Jeff (Jeff Garlin) heard coyotes yelping while on the golf course and decided to continue playing instead of checking on Frankie’s safety. (Daisy perked up her ears from inside our New York apartment when she heard those noises from her past.) Frankie remained unscathed, but Jeff and Larry heard an earful from Susie. 

At least, no matter what happens, Frankie has some extra protection now. 

Esther Zuckerman poses with her dog

Esther Zuckerman

Esther Zuckerman is an entertainment journalist whose work has been published by The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Hollywood Reporter, and Thrillist among others. She is the author of two books: Beyond the Best Dressed (2022) and A Field Guide to Internet Boyfriends (2020). She lives in New York with her Corgi mix, Daisy, who is extremely long and will beg for treats. 

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