Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘carnivorous

Split Second

with 2 comments

I thought Delilah had tripped. She appeared to stumble as one of her paws slid out from under her on the landing in front of the door to the house.

We had just returned from tending to the horses for the afternoon feeding where Delilah had uncovered one of her prized possessions: hoof trimmings. She had retrieved it from a hiding spot and was clenching the precious find in her teeth as we walked straight back to the house.

There are no detours at this point, because Delilah knows that the next order of business involves serving her dinner. I’m sure the cut of hoof was intended for dessert.

I guess she wasn’t expecting there would be appetizers, too.

As I was sweetly questioned Delilah about what had just happened, using a soft, comforting, albeit confused tone, the wingtip of a songbird appeared out of the side of the dog’s mouth.

I stuttered in surprise for a second and before I could utter a command for her to drop it, the bird let out a little tweet. This brought about two reactions.

I switched to my loud voice to demand that she drop it, and Delilah quickly began chomping.

Sorry about the image that may create, but keep in mind, I had to see and hear it first-hand. You get off easy.

All it takes is a split second.

Then, in one complete second, Delilah swallows and bends down to pick up her piece of hoof. She looks up at the door handle, and then me, ready to go in for dinner.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I’d lost my appetite, but it didn’t slow her down one bit. For my part, I cut back her portion of canned food in her serving. She just had her protein.

If you could use some consolation, there was a mark on the glass of the storm door that revealed a reason for a bird to be laying on the front step. It might not have been dead when Delilah snatched it, but its demise may have already been determined.

I’m sure Delilah’s intentions were entirely directed by compassion.

Mmm hmmm.

She’s such a dog.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

September 2, 2018 at 9:47 am

Wild Game

leave a comment »

What a day that was. I initially chose the title of this post as a reference to Delilah’s diet yesterday, but the US Women’s soccer team decided to play the final match of the 2015 World Cup tournament in such a way as to steal the meaning. What an outburst of effort they put forth in that first half last night! Carli Lloyd getting a hat trick as quick as she did was astounding to witness.

They played the final two games of the tournament as if they were the best team in the world. I’m happy they were able to lift the cup at the end. They earned it.

Earlier in the day, our dog took it upon herself to hunt for her own breakfast. Her usual fare from us is a mixture of dry food and some meat from a can, twice a day, but yesterday she seemed particularly determined to get her protein from live-catches.

With Cyndie gone to the lake, I was on my own to try to keep track of Delilah as she romped off-leash in the manner she has grown accustomed after just one week of being watched by a new master. In just a few days, Cyndie accomplished more control over our dog roaming freely than I was able to achieve during the entire time I was home with her.

Not long after I had become engrossed in my tasks of putting out morning feed for the horses, and cleaning up their manure, I realized Delilah had gotten out of sight. Eventually, I found her on the other side of the barn, excitedly engaged in a “negotiation” with a young rabbit. It was not an exchange that the rabbit was going to win.

Meanwhile, the horses were demonstrating their high sensitivity to the predator-prey drama unfolding, even though it was out of their line of sight. They knew exactly what was going down, and remained on high alert until it was fully concluded. It prompted an increased sensitivity in me for the poor victim whose life was ended for our dog’s meal.

Back in the house, I opted to serve just dry food for the morning feeding. After her early morning excitement, Delilah was confined to her kennel in the yard while I went under ear muffs and used the power trimmer and then the diesel tractor to mow down more rampant growth around the property.

When I had finished, and it was time to feed the horses again, I hooked up Delilah to her leash and brought her with me. When we got to the back pasture, where I had just mowed, I decided to let her run free inside the fence. Before I could even get her unhooked, she reacted to a scent, despite the strong wind, and pulled hard to get after something. When I opened the clip on her leash, she bolted for the spot uphill in the direction from which we had just come.DSCN2675e

It looked like a mouse that had probably been killed by the mower. It appears that the scent of death is something Delilah is exceptional at detecting. I moved on without her and headed toward the barn, to put out the horse’s evening feed. Delilah caught up to me eventually and lingered for a while, briefly annoying the horses with some aggressive barking and threatening gestures. One of these days she is going to get kicked and it will be no surprise.

To her credit, when I finished in the paddock and was ready to wheel manure out to the compost pile, she heard my call and came running from somewhere out of sight. The success thrilled me, until I got the gate open and she sprinted up the trail into our woods without me.

I finished puttering with the compost piles and contemplated how I might get her to come back. Then I heard the tags clanking on her collar. She returned with her 3rd prize of the day: a freshly killed squirrel.

Our intrepid hunter seemed driven to not eat canned dog food this day. She, and the US women’s soccer team, had their hearts set on wild game, for sure.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 6, 2015 at 6:00 am

More Carnivore

with 2 comments

Content Advisory: The following post contains probably more detail than necessary about predator/prey animal activity. If you have sensitivity about such content, you have no obligation to read any further. I do not wish to offend, so proceed at your own risk.

Our dog, Delilah, has been on a run of success for finding rodents of late. Maybe the cold temperatures slow them down, or maybe their scent becomes easier for Delilah to discern when everything else around them is frozen solid. The other day I watched one get away after she “soft carried” to an area of packed snow on our trail. When she dropped the poor thing, it squirmed a bit. She pawed, licked it, and took tentative nips at it. She would pick it up in her mouth, but never got around to applying a fatal pressure.

All the activity eventually moved them to the deeper snow beside the trail. Each time the mouse would get dropped again, it would attempt to burrow into the powdery snow beneath the upper crust, forcing Delilah to hurriedly search with her nose to locate it again.

After several go-rounds of this game, the critter landed on good footing and immediately darted between Delilah’s legs toward the safety of its previous lair. By the time Delilah could spin around to chase, the mouse had gained its advantage.

All I could think was, never give up. I had totally written off that mouse as doomed. It survived a lot of abuse, but took advantage of the opportunity that presented itself just moments prior to death.

Make a run for it, and there’s a possibility you live another day.

As an aside, this gives me a twinge of sadness to think of the humans who commit suicide when consumed with a perception of doom from their condition, instead of mustering the equivalence of what that mouse had, and making a run for it.

After Delilah does end the life of her rodent prey, she has a habit of strutting around with her prize. For some reason I don’t comprehend, she stops frequently to drop it. She then licks it and smells it. When I show an interest in proceeding, she picks it up again and trots ahead. A short distance later she drops it again.

Usually, she surprises me by inconspicuously leaving it behind somewhere as we resume the regular pace of our walks. A day or two later she will retrieve a previous catch and decide to consume it. Maybe it is her way of “aging” the food, or maybe she just prefers it frozen. When she chooses to do this right as we reach the front door it presents a conflict. We have a rule that she can’t bring dead animals into the house.

Yesterday, she wouldn’t leave the small carcass behind, so I stood and waited for her to do what she does. It was disgusting. I struggled to reconcile what she puts in her stomach.

DSCN2855eThen it occurred to me that it is probably similar to the meat by-product ingredients of her canned food. The already-processed canned food just looks more palatable. An average person comfortable feeding their dog canned food might find the sight of a fresh killed meal unacceptable.

Dogs are carnivorous. Living with Delilah, I find myself gaining a better understanding of what that actually involves.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 19, 2015 at 7:00 am