Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dangerous Liasons

Squirrels are quickly becoming an obsession for the dogs. They seem capable of finding squirrels no matter where I walk them. Not that I mind this activity as such, but the single-minded focus of the hunt can get a bit wearing, particularly when it takes them into areas from which I can't easily retrieve them.

Who knew squirrels lived at the beach? They do and their residences are in those trees there, among other places. Leeloo knows this and insists on hassling them.

Esme does not hunt squirrels. She does, however, have no problem at all with stomping on their roof. This hill is where a couple squirrels live. This is the front of the hill being eroded by the sands of time, the back of the hill has bushes growing up it where they are protected from the wind coming off the ocean.

And this is one of the squirrels. There were two but one shot into the burrow when it realized Leeloo had a bead on it. She followed it to no avail and it got away pretty easily. This one, however, was the cause of some pretty intense Ridgeback interest. For perspective, I am standing at the top of the hill and looking at the squirrel directly in front of me because the bush's roots are actually about 8 feet down the side of the hill. This means that when the dogs are next to me they can *see* the squirrel about 5 feet in front of their noses, but can't get to it. Imagine the mind-blowing distress of both parties.

Leeloo scanned the bushes for the squirrel who, when it stopped moving, looked just like a leaf or part of the branch. They couldn't see it unless it was moving. Jurassic Park anyone? Once it did move and they had a handle on it they had to keep looking at it or they lost track of it again.

Two sets of eye are better than one, but although the squirrel was right in front of Raimi's eyeline, he couldn't see it. I think he thought he could but wasn't entirely sure.

And then all hell broke loose when the squirrel moved and Raimi shot down the hill while keeping an eye on it.  He followed it through the branches until it stopped to consider its options. It's there up in the lefthand corner of the photo, it looks like a brown leaf. Raimi was so close but so far - it's enough to make a dog insane.

You can see it better here with Leeloo hot on it's furry little tail. It's in the top left again and she is looking right at it. This was the moment of truth when the squirrel decided to make a break for its burrow. See Esme's furry little head there ... she thinks the Ridgebacks are just racing about for her amusement.

I had a moment of panic because when the squirrel made its move to escape it leaped onto the ground and I knew that if the dogs were in the right place they would catch it and dispatch it before I could stop them. Forunately by the time I got down from the hill it was safely in its little home. It lives with its buddy in one of these holes on the side of the hill. No way the dogs could get to them now but not for want of trying.

Boy tried his best to get his head stuck though. I gave them a few minutes of snorting and snuffling but if I hadn't leashed them up and dragged them away they'd still be there waiting for the little critters to offer themselves up on a plate. Unlikely in the most extreme of circumstances. The squirrels will be there another day and no doubt these two Great Hunters will remember where to look.

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