bunn (bunn) wrote,

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RIP squirrel.

Not a good weekend.

No people or dogs were harmed in the making of this entry. .
We went for a walk Saturday morning over to Rix Hill above Tavistock. I was taking some photos of the river for my photography course - looked up and suddenly there was no Mollydog.

Walked down the river: still no Molly. Up the river again (getting pretty frantic by this time, as there were sheep on the hill above, and a sheep-worrying dog can be shot with no notice.) Finally she emerged from a boggy area - I think she had run off after squirrels, fallen in, and then when she managed to get out, couldn't hear me calling because of the river noise.

Her recall has got worse recently though: she looks at me and thinks 'just a minute'... I can see her doing it.

Anyway, back on the lead, and we walked down the river for a bit. She was being terribly, terribly good and making big eyes at me. After a while I started to think "well, maybe it was just the sound of the river and she didn't mean to run off" so I tried her off-lead again. And she walked nicely to heel along the river. It was a lovely day, and I took some nice shots of bubbling ripples.

Then, suddenly, she took off. And if you haven't seen a greyhound run at top speed, it's hard to imagine - probably the closest thing is if you are standing right next to someone on a motorbike and they suddenly zoom away from you. Top speed for a greyhound is only about 40mph, but they can do it practically from a standing start - and of course it's almost silent too.

So no sooner had I noticed she was moving than she was almost out of sight among the trees. I yelled at the top of my voice - nothing - then this awful yelp. So I took off after her at my top speed, which frankly doesn't compete but is the best I can do. I met her coming back, mouth full of squirrel, covered in blood. Really covered, and squirting everywhere.  She has clearly never killed anything before, because she didn't have a clue - she wasn't shaking it, she was sort of dragging it by the skin on its back, and it was grabbing at passing twigs and branches with its little hands in a pathetic manner.

On the bright side, she didn't kill it, and she let me open her mouth and let it go, and it wasn't badly enough hurt that it couldn't race off and up a tree. But given how much blood there was I can't think it survived long. I then had to take my dog to the nearest stream and wash as much blood as I could off both of us, as we were both very sticky. And guilty, very guilty.

I'm not sure why exactly now - after all, they aren't a native species, they are pretty common, and I'm sure the cats do a lot more damage to the local ecology than the (maybe) death of one squirrel.

(The farmer's great-granddaughter in me is saying 'it's a damn squirrel, good on the dog' but that's a fairly watered down component of my makeup.)

Oh, and I managed to scratch the car, and Polo got an uncharacteristic fit of enthusiasm and did some strimming, and ended up strimming a lot of rather precious things I'd been carefully nurturing. 

So all in all, rather wishing I'd stayed in bed.

Came back to finish this off today, and am pleased to report dog is not relentless killing machine after all. The cats left a live vole in the living room this morning (note, relatively rare native species, yet as it is cats responsible, no severe guilt. odd). Mollydog poked it with her nose, and it bit her, at which point she shot across the room and hid trembling behind the sofa while I shepherded the scary monster into a welly and ushered it outside.
Tags: cats, dogs, garden

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