good post, glad your ok.
our dogs are pretty alert most of the time for animals, and as soon as we see the hair go up on the neck we know its another dog or a predator, and so far they spot them a long way off, way before we do.
squirrels aren’t really reliable, but there so territorial they chatter at anything that walks by within about 10 meters or within eye sight in the woods. If you sit still long enough and wait for it, you can actually monitor the progress of whatever is moving as it moves from one squirrel territory to another. Pine cougars like to throw pine cones at everything from people to bears if they feel threatened. Griz have been known to go nuts (haha) pushing down trees trying to get the little bastards.
Never be afraid to do the righteous thing, nothing righteous is ever easy.