I don't often get to see the intensity of the hunting instinct in the Ridgebacks. I am largely amused by the headlong dashes into the woods, the earnest crashing about in the bushes, and the self-satisfied strut after they've put those squirrels in their place.
But today I caught a glimpse of the real working dog buried in Leeloo and Raimi's psyche. There is a squirrel of particular note who lives in a copse of trees that runs parallel to the path and it tends to scold us as we walk. The dogs will never be accused of taking squirrel taunts lying down and both dogs have often beelined toward the noise to have a snort in the undergrowth. They are terminally convinced that one day the squirrel is going to surrender to their wily ways.
The intensity of their hunt, as pitiful a hunt as as it may seem to true hunters, was deadly serious business to them. Had that squirrel been accessible Leeloo would have certainly dispatched it. She comes by her hunting instinct honestly, let's not forget the rabbit her dam Taylor caught on New Year's Day and her half sister Kylie, who lives with Taylor, has been taught to catch and kill gophers. Raimi is useful for tracking down the culprit because he loves to track but once found Leeloo steps in to take care of business.
I'm fortunate to have caught a glimpse of their deepest instinct; it was not play, it was not done in fun, the intent was to catch and kill and although I am thankful I didn't have to rescue a squirrel from Leeloo's jaws, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The squirrel might disagree with my sentiment ...