Friday, January 22, 2010

I think she ate a squirrel

The other day I was walked around the Upper Lake at Mount Holyoke, not the best idea, because the path is icy, mushy and rutty. But I like it there, and so does the dog, so most of the time I go there, except on days when it's just too hard to get around.

The Upper Lake, about one mile around, is more woodsy. The Lower Lake, about three-quarters of a mile, is paved, and therefore it's easier to walk there. But I wouldn't let Maddie off the leash there.

You could actually call them ponds, but that's besides the point.

I usually let Maddie off the leash at the bigger lake. She dashes through the woods and comes back to me –most of the time. The other day we had just started her walk when she disappeared. I called, but no dog. I walked back and saw she was very close, eating a squirrel. I approached her and thought I saw a flash of something raw. Then she started crunching on the tail.

On one level, it didn't really matter. She's an animal, and she was just doing something that came naturally to her. But still, I wasn't happy. I thought about what she might throw up. I also wanted to continue the walk, not stand in the cold while she enjoyed herself. I went near her, and I thought I heard a little growl.

So I turned around to go back down to the path, falling and sliding down an icy bank. My arm and leg hurt, but not for long. I tried to make the best of it. I turned around and looked at the glistening lake for a Zen moment. But it's hard to have a Zen moment when your dog is devouring a squirrel behind you. Finally she came, and I leashed her up. I'm never sure if I should say "Good dog" when a dog comes after being disobedient. Bad to disobey you, but good to come.

What would Caesar (the dog whisperer) say? I think most dog trainers would say the same thing: If your dog is not totally under your control, don't let him or her off the leash. And also, your dog should not growl at you. This means he or she thinks they are the alpha dog, while you are supposed to be in control. Maddie is a really sweet dog who actually knows her place. I'm not sure what kind of work I'm supposed to add to get that extra bit of control. I guess I'll look for a local dog whisperer.

Today I kept her on the leash and walked twice around the small lake. It's not as good for her, because she loves (and needs?) to run. SOMEBODY had to run, so it had to be me. I've been feeling a little peppier once again (although I'd love to lower my dose of prednisone), so I jogged short distances between walking, tree-to-tree or anything I picked out.

I probably looked strange wearing my winter coat, but whatever. I can't say it felt good. My legs still feel weak, but you have to start somewhere, and I was pleased that I accomplished what I did. When I got home, I did some exercises and some yoga. Then I fell asleep on my yoga mat.


Susan C said...

It's hard to have a Zen moment when your dog is devouring a squirrel."

That's what I always say.

susiegb said...

I think that saying probably works for possums too ... :)

Ann said...

There used to be an albino squirrel that lived near the clock tower at LSU. My friend's pit bull mix was crazy for it. Anytime she spotted it on the ground she'd strain at her lead to chase it. She was never as enthused over pedestrian gray squirrels, which makes me wonder what it was about that one odd duck albino. Thankfully, she never got it.

PJ said...

My 2 dog cents: any animal will growl if they're protecting a "kill."
It's raw instinct.

You're inspiring me to get out more and try some jog-walking, although I don't know if that's going to happen since I just acquired a stationary bike and a treadmill. Still, fresh air is a must.

Nelle said...

When I was in kindergarten we had to take these "mats" for a nap. How I loved mine and believe it or not I still have it! This is 50 yrs. later! When I first saw a Yoga mat I thought about that, so I think that the duel usage for that mat is wonderful. I am happy that you are running, even if short distances. You continue to make great strides and it makes my heart smile.

Dennis Pyritz, RN said...

Ronnie, Please contact me. I am working on a new project that I am very excited about. I am writing a book about the cancer blogging phenomenon - its scope, aspirations, and reasons for being. I plan to highlight some of the best writing from our blogging community.
As I have previously published your writing in my weekly Guest Post feature at Being cancer, networking people transformed by cancer, I am hoping to get your preliminary permission to use some of your material in the book. I will, of course, give full credit as well as link information. I would also like to arrange for all contributors to receive complimentary copies.
I have not yet secured a publishing contract. But I want to get started compiling some chapters prior to submitting my proposal to a publisher. So if this sounds like something you might be interested in being a part of, please contact me by email. I will be able to tell you the specific posts I am interested in. Please include off-blog contact information. Also include the name of your blog in the email.
Take care, Dennis