Very Bad Things

March 2014

The Little Girl is a hunter.  It makes sense, since her fur-mom is of a hunting breed.  She stalks.  She sniffs.  She points.  She trees.  She also has wicked jumping skills (remember the flirt pole?) and is a missile when she gets her wheels going.

stalking her prey from the comforts of her couch

stalking her prey from the comforts of her couch

If it can run, MJ will chase it.  Fences don’t stop her.  Neither do tree branches or bushes.  Or Zozo.  Or me screaming hysterically to “come”, “drop it”, “leave it”, or unintelligible mushing-togethers of all three.  In her few, short years in our yard, MJ vs. Nature has yielded the following casualties:

  • 2 incidents of shaken-squirrel-syndrome
  • 1 scuffle with a neighborhood cat or raccoon.  It was very dark and this opponent got away.
  • 1 robin red breast (RIP, 2014)
  • 1 love bird (this was a tag-team effort between MJ,  Zozo and the side of our house)
  • innumerable paw and belly scrapes from attempts at climbing trees
  • nose scars from sticking her face where it doesn’t belong

We call these altercations “Very Bad Things.”  She fixates and she latches, and no high-value treat or cue or distraction can shift her focus.  If she suspects there’s a squirrel in a tree, she’ll circle the trunk for 25 minutes.  Look at the fence, look at the tree.  Look at the tree, look at the fence.

She’ll disappear around the back of the garage and Catahoula-who-ate-the-canar-ily return with feathers sticking out of her face wrinkles.  We scold her.  We clean up the yard to remove traces of the incidents.

Like eating an entire mixing bowl of cookie dough, she knows she’s done something indulgent and “wrong,” and hunkers on her bed ashamed of her behavior.  But the minute she’s out the door, the yard is her hunting ground, and her eyes, ears and snout are up, looking for unsuspecting play things.

And now that it’s springtime and the neighborhood woodland creatures are poking their little heads out, I might as well post a “Frolic at your own risk!” sign in our yard.  It’s going to be a long spring.

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