on a night hunt
I was hard at work this afternoon when my daughter walked in the house, back from the bus stop. I asked where her brother was, "outside, Dad", and within a few minutes he stuck his head in the door and said that our wiener dog Oscar was chewing on a dead squirrel in the back yard.
Oh great. I remember once having to pry a dead frog out the roof of his mouth and began reliving this in my head as I walked out the door. I found the dog hovering over a baby squirrel. A baby squirrel that was not dead, but was laying on its back and moving its front paw and opening and closing its mouth as if to say "save me".
I told the dog to back off and he immediately locked it in his jaws again. So I yelled at the dog and smacked his snout. I got him off the furry little critter, but clearly this was not a good thing as I had to explain to the kids that I might have to put it out of its misery. I felt sick to my stomach. It gasped a minute or two longer, then gave up the ghost. I buried it in our pet cemetery full of moles, birds, rabbits and the snakes from last year.
And as mad as I was at our dog for killing the baby squirrel that unfortunately wandered into our back, fenced in yard, I realized its just instinct for him. In fact, instinct that is reinforced by my own actions. You see, wiener dog has a small, stuffed squirrel about the same size as the deceased, that squeaks. I torment the dog with this and get him riled up about "getting the squeaky squirrel" throwing it and wrestling it out of his jaws.
He just happened to find a real one this time. I still felt awful as I gently shoveled the dirt over the shallow grave.