This takes place around 1998 or 1999 in Reno, Nevada. I moved there from southern California about four years prior and had been hopping between various apartment complexes. My stepfather worked as a maintenance worker at this specific place. Tanamara Apartments were only half built at the time and the back half were areas leveled off for future construction. Behind the back half was a deep, steep gulch where my friends and I often went to hike several times a week.
To give you an idea of how the area looked imagine a cleft that was steep enough to walk down but required one of two two paths to get to the bottom: take the winding animal trails down or take the pipe. If the gulch ran east-west the pipe ran north-south and was bigger than most water slide tubes around. At the bottom of the gulch there was a small creek that was surrounded by tall grass and a stand of trees my friends and I had decided to use as a hangout. The branches arched perfectly so that there were various "chambers with arched ceilings" that we could run around in.
The day prior I had been down in our tree fort (for lack of a better term at the time). The leaves from previous years made a floor across the ground and we knew every inch of every chamber. Everything had been normal.
The next day my friend and I, we will call him Bruce, had walked down the pipe, cut along our normal trails, and started walking into the area we considered the door. Halfway in we both stopped dead in our tracks. In the center of our main "room" lay a blue tarp stretched out over the ground with something underneath. We could smell something foul, we both knew what dead animal smelled like, and realized that something was very wrong.
We slowly crept out and started making our way back up the pipe (much faster to scramble up it on all fours than to go back and forth on the trail). We stopped halfway up to catch our breath and that is when we saw it.
Across the gulch from us a black dog was staring at us, almost level in elevation and standing broadside. I have seen deer in the gulch as well as coyotes and strays. This dog was bigger than any deer we had seen but it was too dark to make our what breed other than very thick with a wide head. What Bruce and I both saw, and later confirmed with each other, that shook us the most were the large red eyes boring through us.
We took off scrambling as quickly as we could but stopped a minute later. The opposite side of the gulch was all sage brush from the top of the hill to the creek at the bottom that was no more than knee high. The dog was nowhere to be seen. It couldn't have run far enough to hide. I knew those hills and there was nowhere to go that quickly, even for a dog. Especially not a dog that size.
When we made it home we told our friends what we saw. Nobody believed us about the dog or what we assumed was a carcass under the tarp. We were ten or eleven years old at the time and if was dismissed as us playing prank. Despite the disbelief none of my friends ever went there again. I never told my parents what I saw. Was it a body under the tarp? It could be. And what was the dog?
I researched it a few years later, and found that black dogs with red eyes are seen throughout the world. Some are harmful, some helpful. I still haven't fully resolved myself to what exactly we encountered 17 years later. Why, however, is another story.