Has your dog ever caught a critter?
If only he'd gotten the mole, I wrote, I wouldn't have been so mad about the whole ordeal.
Well, I'm not sure, but I think he might've got one this week.
Much like that Sunday morning, I let Sensi outside early Wednesday for his after-breakfast potty break and noticed he was spending longer than usual outside. This time, I didn't waste a moment going out after him. I slipped on my sandals and ran out the door, calling his name as I closed the door behind me.
But this time, he came charging at me. He was not dirty. And so, I praised him for responding so beautifully to my call, let him inside and forgot about the whole thing.
A couple hours later, I decided to sit outside on the porch to enjoy the gorgeous day. I let Sensi out with me and he meandered over to the side of the house where he last dug for the mole. My view was obstructed and I couldn't see him, but once again, I thought, "Gee, he's been over there for a while now. Wonder what he's doing."
I walked around the garden beds to see and found him lying on the grass — unusual for Sensi. He only likes to lay down on sod. Our grass is not carpet-soft, however, and he's only ever laid down on it a couple times in the three years we've lived there.
So again, I praised him — bending down to give him a good neck rub. As I bent down, the direction of my body twisted a bit and that's when I saw it. A dead mole, lying belly up, about three feet in front of Sensi's face. He wasn't lying down because he thought the grass looked good for it. Oh no, he was keeping an eye on the dead animal.
A few feet beyond the little mole carcass was a rip in the grass. It looked like the mole had been traveling along in one of his holes when snap! Something just grabbed him up, ripping the mole out of his little hole and leaving an mole-sized opening in the top of the tunnel.
Did Sensi do this? I think so. I'm not sure. But here's the behavior history that makes me think why he's responsible:
1) He got bathed the last time he dug for a mole — definitely a punishing consequence. Perhaps this led him to try a different method of getting the mole, hence the rip-out?
2) The mole had no external injuries. This totally screams Sensi's name. He doesn't know what to do with real moving prey. The closest he's ever gotten to "real moving prey" is the baby bird last summer that tried to fly out of the nest. And what did he do with that? He bumped it with his snout, catapulting the poor thing further in the air before it crashed down on our driveway and died. And then he didn't know what to do with it. I think the chances are good that if he did catch something, he'd toss it around like a toy and leave it.
3) Why would my dog leave a dead animal? We've come across dead mice and rodents here and there on our walks over the years. Like all dogs, he's tried to roll on a dead animal, but I've always been there to tell him no. He doesn't try anymore. He understands that, "Mom says leave dead animals alone."
4) Was fear of getting caught with a dead animal the reason he came running so fast toward me when I called him from his morning potty break? Maybe.
Now, my biggest doubt that he's the responsible for the dead mole comes from the fact that he simply has never caught any critter ever before. Even the baby bird was a fluke. He bumped it and the resulting fall on concrete is what caused its death — very different from chasing, seizing and holding prey.
Then again, what else would rip a mole out of its tunnel and leave it for dead on my lawn? Any wild predator — from the feral cats to the raccoons — would've eaten it.
I guess it will always be a bit of a mystery. If Sensi is responsible, I approve of the way he handled the situation. He didn't destroy the yard to get the mole, he didn't sink his teeth into it and he didn't drag it back to the front door. He just laid there, keeping an eye on it.
My Aunt and Uncle's cat and dog used to work in tandem to catch rodents. The cat would catch it, the dog would steamroll it and they'd both stand proudly by the front door with the dead rodent between their paws.
I never thought I'd have a dog-critter story to tell. Catching critters has never been my dog's strong suit.
But I know lots of dogs live for chasing down a chipmunk, so tell me, what is your dog-critter story?