Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dog TV

The dog has found something in a wood pile out back, something small and quiet that we’ve never seen, but can see evidence of in the tiny burrows beneath the pile of twigs we cut off our mulberry tree in vain efforts to keep it from taking over then entire deck with its long, low-slung branches. We have a variety of wildlife around us, from the horses that live up on the hill behind us, to a variety of hawks, smaller birds, and squirrels that like our maple tree, to nightly visitors of raccoons, opossum, the occasional skunk, and, for one horrible summer, these tree-scaling rats that would scurry up the fence after dark.

Whatever this current resident is, we’re guessing a vole, it has captivated our dog like no other creature. He’ll stand out back, ears pricked forward, tail wagging, just studying this small pile of tree limbs. He never barks or digs at it, seeming content just to watch, sometimes for hours. Our dog, a Vizsla (so not a calm breed by anyone’s standards), will be 6 in October, and he seems to be mellowing out ever so slightly now. He can still go pretty nuts when we have company, jumping and wriggling so exuberantly that you’d think he might squirm right out of his skin, but after such an episode of excitement, he’ll nap for a good hour to recover. So it’s only recently that he could muster the kind of focus he seems to be showing the wood pile.

Personally, I like the new guest. I gave up on my vegetable garden years ago, when all of our nightly visitors stripped my plants clean each day, so the vole can have the planter box he’s living in. And I like how his presence is keeping me from tripping over the dog all day. I get a little worried during heat waves, when the dog is outside panting like mad in 105 degree weather, refusing to abandon his newfound entertainment to come in and cool off. But who am I to deny him his favorite show?

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