Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The temporarily crippled Dude

My wonderful dog is quite a ground squirrel enthusiast. He spots 'em and chases 'em and knows exactly what their whistle sounds like. Most of all, he knows what their fur tastes like because he's had them in his mouth many a time.

The Dude is a terrier, and that means he is bred to hunt, chase and kill small animals that live in and on the ground. If he thinks there is an animal under the surface of the soil, then away he goes digging at the ground until he's satisfied. Sometimes that means he's digging for quite some time.

His favorite means of getting at a ground burrowing animal is to find them hiding in pipes and tubes around the property. Whether it's PVC, steel or corrugated black drain pipe, he knows that there's a good chance that it holds either a rabbit or ground squirrel inside.

One day while I was working outside, I noticed that Dude had been away from me for quite some time - an hour or more. I called for him, but he didn't respond, so I went looking.

Sure enough, I found him busying himself with a ground squirrel "stakeout" near the barn. He had cornered one inside a large piece of ABS tubing and had been trying his best to get at that little varmint.

He didn't make much progress except to chew up the tubing a bit and tear up the nail on his dewclaw. It was a bloody mess. This showed just how dedicated a hunter he was. He was willing to hurt himself just to get at this little animal.

Off to the vet we went as his nail had to be trimmed back or removed. A bunch of money later he was all bandaged up and limping around the house. It's funny that he didn't seem bothered enough by the pain to call off the "stakeout," but back in the house his pain was clear to see as he kept his foot off the floor and spent lots of time laying around in his bed.

After a couple of weeks and a bandage change, Dude was literally back on his feet and ready for the next ground squirrel episode.

Not so fast! From now on, the pack leader keeps an eye on the Humper Dude just to make certain his play isn't so enthusiastic as to cause additional vet bills. Until he starts paying the vet bills, his playful episodes with the local varmint population will be monitored with appropriate adult supervision.

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