About Me

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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dog walking adventure

We had finished another half mile of pundit walking, and were starting to retrace our steps.

That's when Fred went crazy.

Whatever the scent, it stirred his passion, and he bolted ahead pulling the snout loop of his Gentle Leader up to his eyes.

He didn't even sniff the ground -- he was trailing air-born particles like a bloodhound, pausing only to box his muzzle like a punch drunk pugilist -- he hates the Gentle Leader.

"Bleep bleep, what the hell is it?!"

Fred only tugged fiendishly.

Had a cougar been tracking us?

I know a couple of dog walkers who have seen them here, and one of them said the cat was clearly after his Akita.

In my mind's eye I saw us naively strolling with a cougar slinking in tow.

And sure enough there it was -- a large track in the soft ground -- no claws -- but no pad with the diagnostic 3-lobes was visible either.

"Dammit, slow down" . . .

We rounded a bend and saw 5 dogs -- medium-sized mixed breeds trotting toward us.

Immediately they reversed direction.

Fred fought the leash and yodeled to commence the chase.

They were gone.

I was tracking them here and there along the trail when I heard the plaintive whining of a dog.

A minute later we found a short-haired yellow pup floundering in the flume.

Without collar and perhaps 7 months old.

It  was struggling to claw its way up the bank and join its buddies who had disappeared in the woods.

"Come here, pup. It's okay."

It wanted no part of us. It was feral.

Thinking "blog post!", I pulled out my camera.

Fred jerked and the camera's batteries fell to the ground.

As I cursed Fred and loaded the batteries the pup got its footing and disappeared into the brush.

Who said walking the dog is boring?


Buford Nature said...

Feral dogs and pet dogs both typically run away from humans that they suddenly meet out in the woods (and that's a GOOD thing!), but growling by the pup gives a feral away whereas a stray will probably not even snarl at you. A family pack will not accept your dog and might even kill it. A pack of strays, however, are competition for you, 'cuz stray dogs have a lot of fun roaming the woods together.

randomtruth said...

"Gentle Leader" - is that the name of the leash, or your future name when you become a benevolent dictator? :)

Camera Trap Codger said...

It's a double strap with a loop over the muzzle and the neck and it hooks to the leash from under the head. It offers better control on dogs that think they are mushers, and you can rein them in pretty easily because it pulls their muzzle down when they tug.

I may try Fred out on bikejoring so he can give vent to his mushing instinct.

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