Dog Tails and Rabbit Trails
Daily Dog Antics
Dogs provide some interesting and humorous moments daily for their owners. You can never really know if you will enjoy owning a pet, until you have your own. I had never owned a dog for a long period of time, because I generally rescued "poor" dogs from the Humane Society. Some were so destructive, I could not keep them, others dug out under my fence and disappeared, only to be picked up and cause consistent financial hardship to me as a single mom. Things have been different with my current experience, however, some too funny not to share. If you are a dog lover, you have stories of your own, equally as entertaining.
My husband arrived home from a trip up north to Idaho. I was alone for a quiet 10 days of writing and exploring more of this wonderful world of HubPages! Life was not without interruptions and difficulties, however, from a sudden snow storm which produced a cold snap, and with it the dreaded power outages. Surprisingly, however, my creativity skyrocketed even after all the sore muscles that resulted from shoveling my way out in the country without a tractor. Truth be told, after I completed the gigantic task, I opted to not even leave the house.
I had 4 dogs to protect me, but really only 2 are capable. The alpha in our pack, is named Lucy. She is our self- appointed hostess, shouldering the responsibility to greet every visitor who comes within 100 yards of our the gate. Don't be impressed, she does it for self-serving reasons, to make you part of her pack. If you acknowledge her by any means, you are hers and she will own you.
For the most part, Lucy spends all her time running the property, fending off UPS and FedEx trucks. She's not particular, she is entirely unaffected by the colors of the trucks, and might think it insignificant that they are competitors. Whether the classic brown and gold, or the ultra modern white with purple & orange, as they turn onto our dirt road, the chase is on. They become other "race dogs" to her, until they pass our fence line and move on down the road. Some of the drivers egg her on with a familiar honk, or revving of the engine, to which she responds in a faster gait, in order to "beat" them to their destination. She stops one foot short of the fence, every time. Then she returns to her place on the opposite end and waits for the next arrival. Most recently she added on the few trash trucks which visit randomly.
We named our second shepherd, (acquired from someone who couldn't care for him), Chaser because that's all he did, chase her. Kind of confusing, but not really, because that is still all he does, sleep and chase sticks, or anything else you throw.
Lucy is worn down and worn out from the exercise, and the delivery of 11 puppies all in one litter 8 years ago. We had compassion on her after that performance, and relieved her of any furthering mother duties. She wasn't good at it, and it seems that our lab, Hank did most of the work, fetching them gently and carrying them back so they could eat. We had to round them all up in a plastic kiddie pool just so she could step in and feed them. It was my life for three months, bottle feeding again on schedule. My child was much easier to feed, since they were hard to identify at first, and they were all hungry at the same time and she hated it.
She will be ten years old soon, and she is so crazy, I can't imagine life without her. In her early days, she was the source of my husband's consternation, as she dug, chewed, and tore up pretty much everything on our property. Shoes, drains, the entire irrigation system for our trees, all provided entertainment for her during her first year. Who needs dog toys? The finest behavior that won my husband's heart was removing tools and equipment from his race shop. I guess he enjoyed the scavenger hunts each evening as he retrieved everything containing any shred of rubber or plastic, for which she seemed to have a particular affinity. Plastic pipe, it seems, was just an appetizer, until she went on to the hard stuff, wood, and gutters spouts. There is no plastic pipe remaining, except that which is upright, and even the top of that (carefully placed to protect the drainage necessary to prevent flooding into our basement), has its wounds.
She hasn't been able to give up the gutter drain spouts. Apparently they taste better than food. Recently I located a 10 foot spout that was torn off the shop and laying mangled out on the north field, presumably from a former storm which wouldn't be too abnormal. As I ventured out to retrieve it, I realized it was covered with bite marks and blood. Seriously, the collective pack by the direction of its fearless leader, had accomplished their mission. All that remained crimped in the end of the gutter was a rabbit tail, sans body. How did they do that? Apparently our dogs had graduated to more stealth and greater food fare....namely, rabbits.
Getting back to yesterday, As always as we returned home, we were greeted enthusiastically by our pets, but something ugly caught my attention. I was horrified to find her covered with blood about her head and shoulders. I jumped out of the truck to examine her with terror in my heart. She is getting old, and her skirmishes with various species of animals in the area, (with the exception of coyotes and foxes so far) are legendary. I walked back to the house to inspect her more thoroughly for injuries. She once attacked a skunk and a raccoon and had a bloody snout from that with any accompanying odor that lasted a while. I wanted to assess whether another immediate trip to the vet was necessary.
This time it appeared Lucy had fallen prey to one of the intruders, in the ongoing war with the neighborhood dogs who show up as cowards since our dogs are contained. Irresponsible pet owners in our neighborhood let their animals randomly and continually roam on other's property. I can time them by schedule, at 7:30 am Jeff's dog shows up as soon as the last person at his home leaves for work leaves for work (he has lost at least 5 dogs in the years we have been here from sheer indifference to their roaming, mostly to trucks traveling through).
Arnie's about 4 minutes afterwards, supposedly controlled by invisible fence technology which stopped working 5 years ago. They think themselves quite brave, but they really stand a couple of dog-lengths away. Occasionally there are others with enough foolish bravado to climb up on a fence where there are 3 German shepherds who love and defend each other without fail. They have learned little, our dogs have eaten every cat that passed through, walking our fence ever-so-tauntingly. I am not proud of that fact, but my dogs are. I haven't seen a cat for years around here, I think the coyotes probably have caught on.
When I inspected Lucy's neck and shoulders more closely, I made a gruesome discovery. A tendon or entrails or something disgusting was hanging off her ear. My concern turned to disgust as I looked aside to see blood spatter snow and the crime scene which contained the various pieces of fur, all recognizable as the remains of yet another victim, but this did not have its usual markings. I suppose in the thrill of the kill, the tail was either embedded in the snow or accidentally ingested as the meal was shared.
For a brief moment I was grateful, for having spent my money wisely getting all their shots and medication dosed to minimize any aftereffects from this primal diet. In case you were wondering, I don't eat rabbit....EVER! I have seen too many in various degrees of "the kill" and it has cured me of any desire to try eating rabbit in any form.
I think I know why now, rabbits present a greater challenge. There are more of them, they have cousins, and aunts and uncles, and grandparents (maybe) that come to visit often. In the winter, they dig under the house to stay warm. Possibly there are so many of them down there our heating bill is going up, or maybe they are providing insulation, who knows.
Maybe I shouldn't be thinking about such things. Yes, I think I will get back to what I love, writing. There must be other subjects, I think I will find them.