Drama During Our Walks (caution: the following is not for those with queasy tummies)
Walking with the dogs in beautiful weather is just not work. Even though I am not flying full out on my ATV but, rather, just putting along slowly down the back lane, I still manage to enjoy a sense of freedom. To feel the wind in my hair, smell the sweet wheat that is beginning to ripen, and enjoy the pleasure etched on the dogs’ faces is truly a blessing that I am aware not all get to share. That is, until something happens to shatter our serenity, intruding rudely into our routine, shaking up the familiar habits we have formed.
The past two weeks have brought with them a few surprises for dogs and human. One morning as we were enjoying our peaceful walk, out of the field of wheat beside us rose a magnificent hawk. Massive in size, he flew off across the field. Since he rose barely 5 feet from where we were all peacefully minding our business, of course Lu the birder, and True the hunter, immediately took after the hawk with the inflated idea they would catch him. Tess followed suit, but only because the other two were running. She quickly gave up the chase when I called her back. Meanwhile, Avrora continued on her walk. She is rarely affected by what the others do, for she walks according to her own agenda. Maisie almost always stays by my side so after a very brief jaunt into the wheat she obediently returned.
So, not bad. Three out of five dogs were still with me. I could see Lu’s head bobbing through the field of golden grain heading away from me. I had no idea where True was. The wheat is far above his head so no amount of bobbing would help me find him. I continued on my way, intermittently calling for Lu and True. After several minutes of fruitless chase, Lu returned, but no amount of calling produced True. I was not concerned about him, however, as he often “walks” himself and comes straight back home. I knew he hadn’t made his way to the woods so, I figured he had gone home for some reason.
As I drew closer to the barns I spotted “Himself” resting on the grass in the middle field. I knew immediately something was up because every molecule of his being was bursting with pride. Driving up closer I realized there was something protruding from his mouth. A sick feeling immediately began to simmer as I considered what he had and from where he got it. True sat up proudly trembling with excitement. Now I could see ears peeking out of his mouth. “True! Put that bunny down!” I demanded thinking he had snagged a baby bunny. His response was to race off to the house where he took the front stairs two at a time. Climbing down off the ATV, I grabbed his collar.
“If you are harbouring the false hope that you are taking your prize in this house, buddy, you are sooo wrong!” I scolded.
He was totally not getting the message. His eyes gleamed with triumph. He, the great hunter, had brought home a treasure for all of us to admire. Marching into the kitchen and back out again with a mitt full of paper towels, I pried his jaws open. Oh, dear, what fell into my towelled hands was not a baby bunny, but a severed rabbit’s head! Oh gross, oh gross! Steeling myself I wrapped up this most unfortunate offering and made a beeline for the garbage which was immediately dispatched to garbage bins in the barn. What followed was a thorough scrubbing and disinfecting of my hands. Suffice to say, I have the hands of an 80 year old woman.
Next day we headed off on our glorious walk. All five dogs were accounted for, and we were making good time. All of a sudden I realized True was missing. I called and called but no red, curly body appeared. I continued walking with the girls eventually turning toward home. Once again as we exited the back lane there was True sitting pretty much in the same spot as the day before. No, not possible, I groaned inwardly. Surely he doesn’t have another something in his mouth! But the closer I got the smarter I got. Yesterday was the head…well, what did I think today would bring? Of course, yes, for there dangling out of his mouth were the cutest set of feet. “Oh, True!” I cried. Pleased as punch he sat there with his prized treasure spilling out of his mouth. Up he jumped racing to the house to sit proudly at the door.
Now, yesterday had not gone well for him, so why he thought today would be any different is beyond me. I guess it just shows that dogs possess the indefatigable quality of hope. For all 38 pounds of this ecstatic creature stood ready to enter the house with his spoils.
“No, it’s not going to happen.” I told him firmly. In I went for more paper towels; back out I went to pry open his unwilling mouth. Eventually I won and the headless rabbit dropped into my hands. Totally repulsed I raced to the garbage and then back outside with the green bag containing True’s find. Back to the kitchen to scrub and disinfect my hands, which now resemble a 100 year old woman’s hands.
He didn’t seem too unhappy that I took his most glorious find away. I think it was enough for him that his nose had led him to the kill site, yet again, thus allowing him the unadulterated pleasure of putting it in his mouth. Maybe he thought it would make him look more studly to the girls, who knows? For me, it was just another disgusting interlude in our day… one I most certainly hope not to repeat. So, it was complete horror that we scared up the hawk not just two days later! It makes sense. We robbed him of his meal the other day, so of course he had to find a replacement. Anxious that he had already been successful, I sped off full speed ahead while calling the dogs. To my relief all five chased after the ATV.
Days went by with no new excitement and our walks settled into their usual comfortable sameness. But then, two days ago, up out of the same wheat field rose…a turkey!! A huge turkey. If you know anything about wild turkeys, you will know they are not great flyers. This fat guy could barely skim across the tops of the wheat heads. This meant Lu had a chance at catching her first turkey.
“Fly turkey, fly!” I screamed. “Faster, and higher,” I encouraged him. The other thing about turkeys you need to know is they don’t remain in the air long. I just wanted him to get high enough to stay out of jaw reach and fly fast enough to get far enough ahead that when he came down the dogs would not be able to pounce. I envisioned feathers flying in the air. Relieved, I saw him fly far enough away that the dogs lost sight of him. Down he went, but right back up he flew. Off in a different direction, Mr Turkey made a clean escape. Whew, that was close!
I am always anxious that we might run into coyotes while out walking the dogs. With the corn growing rapidly, soon I will not be able to spot any intruders in the fields, but I figure with bunnies, mice, birds and turkeys all inhabiting the fields, the coyotes won’t bother with us. For now, I just don’t want to bother Mr. Hawk during dinner time. Looking forward to wheat harvest this year!