Fall Waxing Autumn Moon
Warning: weak stomachs should not read further.
Kate yelled, but I didn’t hear. Rigel, let inside after breakfast and a morning’s romp in the woods, came in, lay down on our small oriental rug, and, as dogs sometimes do, threw up. Gross, I know, but after a while with dogs, many dogs as we have had, this becomes part of the experience.
In this particular case however, it was not eaten grass or clumps of cloth (some dogs love to shred and eat cloth), but most of a recently ingested rabbit: the head, a hind quarter and much of the softer parts. Since none of breakfast came up with it, this was a post-breakfast hunt, likely followed by bolting because three other dogs Vega, Kona and Gertie wanted some, too.
Since we have about an acre and a half of woods with many brush piles, which we create intentionally for the purpose of harboring wildlife, our dogs always have hunting options, but we’ve not seem many offerings brought up on the deck in recent times.
Since our dogs are all sight hounds, or at least half sight hound coupled with half coon hound, they come equipped at birth with the instinct to hunt and kill on their own. We’ve had various levels of skill among our dogs, but some have been exceptional.
Rigel is one. Sortia, our Russian witch, a female Irish Wolfhound who weighed around 180 and was never fat, was and remains the champ. She took down a deer by herself during an interlude at the breeders. She brought us raccoon, ground hog, many rabbits and, to our chagrin, the occasional neighborhood cat who strayed foolishly over our fence.
The whippets are no slouches either. Kona has killed many a rabbit, one time bringing a very fresh head and dropping it at the kitchen door.
Long ago I slipped over to the Farmer McGregor attitude toward rabbits so I have no problem with our dogs keeping the rabbit supply on the thin side. They’re protecting our vegetable garden. I imagine their presence also keeps out deer.
It’s not why we keep dogs, but it is a good side benefit.
All this hunting reminds us, too, that beneath the cheerful, loving persona our beloved dogs show to us, there is still within them an untamed and primal beast, a carnivore not really so far removed from the wolf.