As many of you know, Hayley is our two-year-old(ish) adopted Lab-Whippet mix. She’s fairly well-behaved – doesn’t chew things, totally house-trained, and knows most basic commands such as sit, stay, paw and kill Lochte – but she has a lot of energy. Almost too much energy. Energy that usually manifests itself by punching me in the face while I’m working, or in the yard when, God forbid, a small animal dares to enter the confines of Hayley’s Rancor Pit. I’ve been rooting for her to catch something since we got her in September. Hayley is fast, driven and an alpha, but there are enough gaps beneath the fence and other escape routes for her prey to get away, so she hadn’t caught anything other than a few mosquitos, a bumble bee (really), and the nose of Coco, the Chocolate Lab in the yard behind ours who now sports an Adidas racing stripe on his snout.
Until last Sunday.
She hadn’t caught anything… until last Sunday.
We were outside most of the day doing grownup stuff (not the Cinemax kind… the HGTV kind) when I went to get the lawnmower out of the shed and came face to face with a squirrel, Christmas Vacation-style. SQUIRREL!!!! It leapt past my ear and near Hayley, who, disappointingly, was a bit slow on the uptake. She finally spotted the prey and chased it to the perimeter, where the squirrel desperately tried to squeeze itself between the grass and the bottom of the fence. Hayley went sliding into the structure as the slippery bastard somehow found daylight. Hayley connected with one paw, but it was too late– the squirrel got away. Hayley was still 0-for-the yard. Poor thing. But now she was on high-alert. Ears back. Tail up. Head darting from side-to-side, up and down. She was ready.
She stayed like that for much of the afternoon. Eventually, I fired up the grill and forgot about her pursuit. The difference between humans and animals was never more evident than at this moment– I was gently placing prepared Kabobs loaded with red meat, poultry and seasoning on a controlled fire… and Hayley, who could have gotten some if she wanted it, was busy fortifying her torture chamber for the next poor rodent to enter her lair. I was drinking a beer… she was trying not to vomit on her own saliva. It was the great dichotomy of nature. My meat was just starting to sizzle as I gently rotated the skewer and… sqwack sqwack sqwack!!!!
Hayley’s was fighting for its life.
She caught something.
Yes. YEEEEESSSSSSSS, I was thinking. That’s my girl! She finally got one. I could see her thrashing her head about like the animatronic from Jaws. Get him!! I didn’t know what she had, but the thing was on the ground and her head was bobbing and weaving like a champ as she poked the creature and looked for the kill shot. I was the proud trainer, I was Burgess Meredith, running to the back of the yard, screaming for my fighter to bring home the prize. TAKE THE BODY!!! WEAKEN THE BODY! YESHSAHEHEHRRRRHHHRRSSSS!!!!
I got closer.
YESSSS. YESSSSS!!!!!! FINISH HIM!!!
Oh Lord no.
It was a baby. A little tiny baby. A baby squeaking squirrel. A BSS. Continue Reading