August 10, 2014

It's Easy To Forget You Live With A Beast

Some of us put bunny ears on our dogs, or reindeer antlers. We let them share our sofas and our beds. We cuddle them and kiss them.
"I EAT antlers. I do not WEAR antlers!"
It makes it easy to forget that you live with a beast. Until they kill something.
Friday I was working at my desk. Our house is L-shaped with sliding glass doors along the back. My office is in the inside corner of the L, so I have a view of the other half of the house. We had several doors open for Rita to come and go since it was a lovely day. As I worked, movement on the deck caught my eye - a squirrel was haltingly approaching the farthest open sliding door. 

I about had a heart attack. I did NOT want that squirrel in my house! I ran over and shut the doors, and alerted Rita who had been snoozing on the sofa. 

I pointed out the interloper to The Defender of the Realm. Her barking encouraged him to move to the end of the deck. Then I opened the farthest door and let her out, figuring she'd chase him the short distance to the fence and he'd escape into the canyon. I followed her along outside.
"Hand over some nuts and I'll be on my way."
Well, there must have been something wrong with the squirrel, because he moved pretty slowly. Rita ran at him, and he ran back toward the house, bonking his head on the now-closed glass door. D'oh. Then she chased him at ME. I shrieked and waved my arms (the door was open behind me) and he turned, heading for the stairs, but Rita caught him. One little flick of her head and he screamed, scaring her enough so she dropped him. 

Rita was freaked out. I was freaked out. Mr. Squirrel was most definitely freaked out!

"Let me at 'im, Momma!"
I grabbed Rita and dragged her back in. She paced the windows while Mr. S sat up and seemed to recover his wee wits. He moved to the edge of the patio. Rita went nuts scratching at the window screens, so I figured I'd take her out on leash and we'd scare encourage him to exit our yard.

Mission accomplished, we headed back in. Only... he hadn't left like I thought, or he left and returned. Shortly thereafter I let Rita out again. And then I heard a squirrel scream.

Uh oh.

Ran out in time to see her down in the canyon at the fence, shaking Mr. S and flinging him. (Our yard is fenced about 1/2 way down the canyon and it's super steep and overgrown. We've never even been down into that part of the yard). I couldn't see him since it was so overgrown, but I managed to get Rita to climb back up out of there.

She was completely hopped up on adrenaline, racing around the house like a nut, panting, slurping water. It was really bizarre. She's such a fraidy-dog, so I'm sure it took all her bravery to go after the poor little thing. 
The self-satisfied huntress
I was hoping that Mr. S. had survived the flinging and crawled under the fence to safety. I was posting as such on Facebook, discussing with my sis that I didn't know whether Mr. S was dead or not... when I hear a "BONK" in the other room.

I knew instantly what it was... it was precisely the sound that a dead squirrel would make if flung against a glass door. Precisely.

I ran out to the living room, and sure enough... there was the huntress, playing with her kill. I shrieked again. "Leave it!" Luckily she did. She came over to me and I ran and threw a rag over poor deceased Mr. S. (He was not bloody at all - we have long suspected she's got some terrier in her, because of the way she violently shakes her toys. She obviously snapped his little neck - or maybe she gave him a heart attack.) 

I used the garage broom to push him the foot or two necessary to get him out the door, and left him discreetly under his rag until The Daddy came home and disposed of him. (Luckily he was on his way home while all this chaos was happening.)
The deceased awaits The Daddy's arrival.
Like I said, I'm pretty sure there was something wrong with Mr. S. He was hurt, or maybe he'd eaten some poison (not in our yard, maybe from a neighbor?) as he seemed so addled. So, hopefully Rita put him out of his misery.

This is not Rita's first time killing something. There was the bird, and the mouse. But at least she didn't eat any of them!

Cat owners are probably a lot more used to this, but what about you dog owners? Do you live with a beast?

Thanks to Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog, and My Brown Newfies for hosting Monday Mischief!

47 comments:

  1. Wow! We chase squirrels, but have never caught one. We would probably do the same thing.

    Livvie, Kessie and Twinkie

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    1. Yeah, never had a dog catch one before! Our beagle used to chase them like crazy. (We had tons in our previous house's yard.) But the only time she ever came close to catching one was this one that must have had something wrong w/ it. It tried to run away up a tree, but fell back down and just sat there. She had NO idea what to do - she only wanted to chase it! Didn't want to actually catch the thing!

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  2. Wow what a story! Actually, one of Shiner's nicknames that I call her is Beast lol. I think she might have killed a baby possum one time. Other than that, she really just can't catch anything. My old cat used to bring in these adorable baby bunnies ALL the time. Like on a weekly basis. Most of the time, there was nothing I could do for them. It was the worst when she brought them in headless... or when she ate the whole thing except for one body part she didn't like (kidneys?) and I stepped on them in the kitchen... -.-

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    1. Oh! Headless baby bunnies!!! That's grossly hysterical - especially about leaving behind the bits she didn't like. Eeesh. As for Shiner/Beast and the baby possum, my sis's beagle killed a baby possum once. So gross.

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  3. We've dealt with this issue many times in our house. Two of my dogs go after anything that moves, including mice, voles, chipmunks, squirrels, foxes and a groundhog. Thank goodness we have a fenced-in yard, or they'd go after deer, too.

    I wrote a post on how to keep wildlife safe. You can find it here.


    An encounter with a sick-looking animal is a little scarier because here in NJ, our first thought is rabies. That's one of the reasons I am a stickler for keeping my dogs vaccinations up to date. My cats, too, even though they're indoor cats. What if an animal got inside, or one of the dogs brought something in.)

    Wags and purrs Life with Dogs and Cats

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    1. Yeah, Rita's vaccines are up to date too, so I'm not too worried about it possibly having rabies. Will check out your post! Foxes - wow. We don't have big wildlife like that here - thank heaven!

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  4. I'm proud to admit, I'm a serial killer. I have killed some 20+ wabbits in our yard. I race out, grab, kill and bring back to the door where I drop them off for Mom and move on. For some reason, it makes Mom sad, but it is my instinct and I am so fast, she doesn't have a chance at stopping me. I dream of getting a squirrel one day, as do most dogs. Nice work Rita, even though humans can't really understand it.

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    1. Wow, Emma! 20+!! I knew you hunted wabbits, but I didn't know you were fast enough to catch them! You must be very speedy!

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  5. I can completely relate to this post! My parents dog, Clancey, was a serial killer in his day. He killed a squirrel one winter in probably the same way because the squirrel wasn't bloody at all. My mom saw him running toward the house with a proud look on his face and a funny looking stick in his mouth. Nope,not a stick at all. A frozen, dead squirrel. I guess he had been playing with it, coated it in slobber, and then it froze. Yuck :(

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    1. Ugh!! Frozen dead squirrel! Rita had that same proud look on her face too!

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  6. We are so jealous, we've never actually been able to catch those pesky squirrels! Mom would have totally freaked on us! BOL!!

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    1. Rita was very pleased with herself and didn't seem to understand either why us Moms get freaked out!!

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  7. Oh yeah, I can relate. Interestingly, only our males (Jack & Tino) have killed critters - and both of them lived on the streets, so that was their sustenance. I react pretty much as you do - get the dog away from it and leave it for Steve to clean up. Although one time, Tino got a possum and Steve was not around...that's whole different story because the possum wasn't really dead. Check the blog for all the gory details if you haven't read it...

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    1. Oh no! He was playing possum??!!! The horror. Will have to check that on the site. Rita also lived on the mean streets, so I'm assuming she sometimes killed or ate already-dead things. Poor babies. :(

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    2. Ah yes, I remember that story now!! **massive shudder**

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  8. I caught parts of this on facebook, what an adventure. When we were staying at a state park in Oregon, we got home and opened the doors to go in the house. Torrey jumped out and was gone so fast I didn't notice she chased, caught, and killed a baby squirrel. Al had to hide the evidence.

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    1. These are the times it makes you especially happy to have a hubby, no?? :)

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  9. I can relate to what you described. Our sweet blind girl HIker is a killer beast. Being blind has not stopped her from catching, (and swallowing whole) a baby rabbit. Then there was the young raccoon that she caught and killed and then the pigeon that hse killed. Hiker is the blind dog that everyone says is so cute and they want to take her home. She has a dark side.

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    1. WOW! A BLIND dog catching things?! That's impressive! A pigeon even! Geez - you'd think those things coudl all easily get away from her. She must be super fast and have an excellent nose!

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  10. We had one summer when my dogs sent countless magpies to that great aviary in the sky. It was a reminder that even Poodles and Chihuahuas are not far from the beast within. I am reminded when they shake a toy how glad I am to be above them on the food chain.

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    1. Same with us/Rita. If you play tug w/ her - man, she can practically pull your arm out of the socket whipping her head/the toy back and forth. It seems like she would snap her OWN neck doing that! Nutty.

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  11. RAH! Go Rita! Did the mister take the squirrel to be tested? Our dogs all hunt, chase and kill. It's super awesome!

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    1. Oh, nope. I wasn't too worried about it since Rita's up on her shots. And she obviously wasn't bitten or scratched or anything - and didn't eat the squirrel. We just put him in the trash and were happy when trash day rolled around!

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  12. Mr. N doesn't really get a chance to catch wildlife (he's usually on leash outside and we don't have a yard) but he sure tries! He almost caught a mouse in our parking lot and our condo is always rodent-free even when our neighbors have rats.

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    1. Rita is always on leash too - except in our yard. Luckily we don't get a ton of wildlife. This was the first squirrel I'd ever seen in our yard. (Hopefully it will be the last...)

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  13. Yikes! Especially when she chased the squirrel in YOUR direction!! Egads, man, what was she thinking??? Blueberry will sometimes do that with bugs - I can't imagine the meltdown I'd have it were a squirrel. Especially a squirrel that wasn't quite right in the head. Sad for the squirrel, but maybe it is for the best. Seems like something was wrong with it anyway and if she hadn't gotten hold of it, something else would have.

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    1. Maybe she thought I'd provide backup?? I do think it was for the best. Wondering if maybe the neighbor's cat had already had a go at him and hurt him. Our neighbor has a BIG mean hunter of a cat - even Rita is petrified of the thing!

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  14. Wilson and his Lab buddy tag-teamed a squirrel one time, taking turns going in for a bite. The poor squirrel had no intentions of going down w/o a fight! It managed to get a hold of Wilson in a bite that got him under the chin and over the bottom teeth. Wilson was then the one doing the screaming, shaking his head trying to dislodge the squirrel. It finally dropped off, the Lab got in a couple more bites and it ran off into the bushes. Wilson was covered in his own blood from the puncture wound and ended up earning a trip to the emergency vet. The vet did say that squirrels rarely have rabies and of course Wilson has been vaccinated for that.

    Jimmy isn't innocent either. Out on a walk one day, he managed to kill not one, but TWO groundhogs, from different dens. He was a proud dog that day!

    And more than a few bunnies have bit the dust in out backyard. When the momma bunny is dumb enough to build her nest in a yard where two dogs live, she's not giving her babies the best chance at a good life. LOL!

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    1. Oh my gosh - the tag-team story is a horror. Rita probably never would have recovered from the fright if this thing actually bit her! (Glad to hear about squirrels rarely having rabies. Although Rita has her shots, so wasn't really worried anyway.)

      Wow - 2 groundhogs in one day?! Rita's impressed!

      And I agree about the dumb momma bunny. You just reminded me that our beagle did actually kill a squirrel once. Same deal - a momma squirrel made her nest in our yard, so Bailey caught and killed one of hte babies. What kinda dumbass momma builds her nest in a yard with a scent hound in it!?! (In fact, that inspired the Kona-eating-the-squirrel-scene in "What the Dog Ate".)

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  15. First of all - when I saw Mr. S the first time, it was going to be all over for me. I would have passed out cold! Don't know where this fear emerged from - but I am terrified of squirrels. However, I enjoyed this post today! I laughed out loud, and I'm still smiling. Not so much at the demise of Mr. S but your description was priceless. I could see every sentence in my head. Thanks for a great laugh on a Monday afternoon!

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    1. Oh, hooray! Glad you had a laugh. I was worried folks would find it a cringe-worthy story! Interesting that you are terrified of squirrels - but lots of folks say they are just rats with bushy tails, so not an unjustified fear!

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  16. This made me laugh! "I knew instantly what it was... it was precisely the sound that a dead squirrel would make if flung against a glass door. Precisely." I could only imagine!

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  17. LOL - sorry, but it really is funny. Jeffie is thrilled that Rita knows exactly what to do with tree rats!! Living in the country we've have many beasty stories starring rabbits, armadillo, birds, voles, possums, and more... It's a dog eat whatever-moves out there. Plus, in her younger days, our cat Skeeter was quite a huntress, too.

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    1. "Dog-eat-whatever-moves' world. Too funny. That reminds me... forgot to mention that Rita loves to eat bugs too, speaking of 'whatever moves'. Armadillos.... egad!

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  18. I have three rescued Treeing Walker Coonhounds, including my senior girl, Suki; my deaf girl, Ran (who I adopted at 3-1/2 months and who never has had the opportunity to "hunt"), and Kenji, Kyoko, and Seiji, who I adopted long-distance from kill shelters in NC and SC. They are great with our indoor-only cats, and have seen small animals without any issues. Heck, one of the Coonhounds with my rescue was being fostered by a wonderful woman who was also fostering some baby raccoons who lost their mother, and that dog would let us put one of the baby raccoons on his head without any problems). My dogs have barked at squirrels and local feral cats and other small animals and birds, but have never tried to hurt any of them. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I let my "pack" out into our fenced yard and the two boys, Kenji and Seiji, went running back behind our garage, barking like crazy. I figured they had caught a scent. I didn't think anything about it until I heard a blood-curdling scream coming from the baby raccoon they found. I tried calling them, even getting out the little whistle I use for them and using the dog whistle app on my cell phone (and that usually gets them right in). They didn't come, and then Kyoko went running to join her brothers. Suki, our senior, had already gone back in and my deaf girl, Ran, was just hanging by me - totally oblivious of what was going on. I let Ran into the house and then tried calling the dogs. Well, this time they came, only they brought the raccoon with them and put it on the deck just outside our back door. I honestly don't think they intended to hurt the poor baby - there was no blood, but I think their large size (they are inthe 70-77 pound range) and the fact that they play rough with their stuffed dog toys, I think they were just trying to play with the baby. He was obviously not doing well, and by the time I got the dogs all in the house and went to check on him, he had died. I was SO angry with my dogs, but again, I honestly don't think they actually intended to hurt the thing. They were just playing with him and were too much for him.

    We had one dog - a Beagle/Lab/Border Collie mix named Muffie - who was great at catching mice in our garage. Only thing was, she never killed them. She'd catch them in her mouth and then lay them down on the ground and look totally confused when they ran away.

    Two years ago, my deaf girl, Ran, discovered a baby bird on our driveaway - it had fallen out of its nest in the tree hanging over the driveaway. She was so gentle with the little bird, and seemed more intent on letting me know it was there. I was able to get the featherless baby bird into his nest and watched as he developed and flew away. I was happy - but not totally surprised - that Ran didn't try to hurt him.

    Sometimes a dog's instinct just kicks in.

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    1. Wow, that's amazing that Ran was so gentle with the bird. What a sweet soul she must be! It sounds like you're right - they probably thought that baby raccoon was just a squeaky toy. Yikes!

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  19. Wow...Rita....she seems so mild mannered!! We once had a terrier mix named Shelby. One time a chipmunk got in the house (most likely due to the cat door we had at the time). It was stuck under our stove. Shelby hung around that stove for HOURS, staring and waiting. Finally, we had to give in, and try to get it out of there. My hubby moved the stove, the chipmunk ran out, Shelby grabbed it, snapped it's neck, and it was over. She left it on the floor, walked away, and went to take a nap. We'll never forget that!

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  20. I know Morgan and Flattery would both take the chance if they could get it. Morgan came close, getting pulled back out of the bayberry bush by my husband (after she knocked him literally off his feet in her pursuit) with rabbit tail fur stuck between her teeth.

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  21. You are right fond memories of mom's previous life with cats. The most infamous would be when a cat brought in a baby rabbit from outside and up to the second floor and let it go, still alive, while she was getting ready for work. We assume that hearing a squirrel scream sounds a lot like a baby rabbit being toyed with by a cat. Great story. RIP Mr. S. Love Dolly

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  22. Thats an amazing story. I can't picture her doing it for some reason. My dog Laika once found a baby rabbit and gently carried it to me. I was really surprised because she's a reactive dog, I thougt for sure when she dropped it off at my feet it was going to be dead. But nope, just scared as far as I could tell.

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  23. lol, I can just see Rita chasing you with the squirrel. Yes there must of been something wrong with it.

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  24. Coco has caught many armadillos and I've managed to make her drop them before she killed them. And I'm 100% positive that she'd love to kill a squirrel if given the chance. In fact, I'm pretty sure she plots most of her day away thinking of how to catch a squirrel. Your reality will be mine one day, it is just a matter of time.

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  25. Stupid squirrels come into our yard sometimes. They normally barely escape. Brown dawgs would have no issue getting them. One time while pheasant hunting Storm ran down a rabbit. :)

    I can imagine the scene and I would be screaming too...lol.

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  26. Wow, she caught one? I spend every day chasing them along the fence in our garden, they're not brave enough to actually come into our garden, which makes Mum happy as we don't know what the outcome would be.....

    Wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

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  27. hello rita its dennis the vizsla dog hay i am sorry yoo didnt git to keep yore prize nekst time try dooing wot i did just wayt until mama is not watching and then bring in the thing wot yoo kawt and leev it on the middel of the karpet in the living room!!! my mama was so happy wen she fownd the peeses of bunny i left for her she litrally skreemd with joy!!! ok bye

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  28. Of course I followed this saga on Facebook and knew what happened. Delilah is always after the chipmunks but they are too fast for her. Besides she announces herself like she was the queen of England. LOL

    That must have been so awful for you, I'm glad you could find some humor in it.

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