Monday, April 16, 2012

more than just a Bone Collector

I'm starting to think that the latest addition to our family - our male mongrel pup,  believes he's more feline than K9. The little scavenger loves to forage about in the woods, unearthing old bones and carcasses, in order to deliver them at Mommy's feet. I guess he wants to impress his owner - or perhaps give me (the undisputed pack-leader) the 'lions' share.

If I don't intervene he'd gulp those winnings down in a jiffy... Eugh! Of course mean Mommy always confiscates the nasty pile of remains so as to prevent the delightful diarrhea episode which inevitably follows these fanciful feasts. Whoever heard of a mongrel with such a tender tummy? And somehow we've managed to rescue two mutts with dicky stomachs!

But confiscating the germ infested bones and other dead animal remains is not an easy feat, especially when I always forget to bring a baggy and plastic gloves on our walks. My half-ass method (which still does the trick) is to first procure a stick, hook the manky specimen onto the end of it, then transfer the doggy treasure to a close by cedar limb - out of reach of our salivating pup. He always looks at me, ears hitched, head to one side - like I'm the biggest party pooper on the planet - yet he still insists on delivering his bloody booty to me!

In the past I've tried hurling said bones up into the tree tops, and watched them fall down through the branches hoping the deer skull, or rabbit carcass would strategically hook itself out of pup's reach. Sometimes this worked - however, more often than not, it turned into a race between Mom and pup to the base of the cedar trunk to reclaim the putrid prize - and the performance would start over again!

Yesterday's early morning walk was nice and uneventful, and thankfully we arrived unscathed back on our land without any dead creatures to speak of. Just when I was thinking we were 'out of the woods' pup proudly bounded out from the cedars heading our property, with his morning spoils dangling from his jaw.

The little scrounger had managed to find something dead after all - and today it was a species I'd not yet had the displeasure of extricating from pup's possession - a baby snake! Even though he'd brought the snake over to gloat, our hunter hound had no intention of sharing this rare and tasty morsel with Mommy.

By the time I was on him, he was already hoovering it up like a spaghetti noodle, but after a few insistent "drop" commands, he begrudgingly let go, and the remains of the baby snake fell at my feet. My eldest toddler and I crouched before the rubbery looking corpse in wonder. It was the first wild snake either of us had ever seen up close - albeit a dead one (and gratefully so).

Our eldest boy holding the dead snake. 
(Scavenger pup is hovering
hopefully behind in his kennel.)
The fact, we were well within our borders when our wannabe retriever found the snake, gives me the jitters a little. How far behind a baby would Mommy serpent be? It's hard to imagine that pup was responsible for the dastardly deed (or should I say heroic act?), but I can't say for sure. Save for the mangled chewed tail section, it had every appearance of a fresh kill.

Our eldest boy was dancing around signing 'snake' with both arms, while I employed my trusty trick and dangled the snake on a stick, only this critter's corpse I held out at full arms length (on the off chance it were to come back to life and bite me) and together we went in search of Daddy to identify our scaly trespasser.

Of course Daddy would say it was a rattler (if only to put the willies further up Mommy) although I couldn't see any sign of a rattle! Later on in the day he amended his deadly diagnosis to just a plain old harmless 'rat' snake. Whatever its poison, the serpent soul ended up being unceremoniously dumped in the trash - much to our ravenous pup's dismay.

After three years of drought, the rain of late has been a god send for Texans - and I'm not just talking about the two-legged kind! Every other species - including the deadly ones - that dares to tread (or slither) in this hardy territory have also flourished with the downpours.

Something tells me we haven't seen the last of these viperous visitors........

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