Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Doe a deer, a female deer!

Well, I try to take my dogs for a long walk at least once a day (except for today it is pouring!). We walk our 10 acres of land, through our field and woods then we roam the open field behind our woods and sometimes wander through the woods past that. On our walks we've seen plenty of critters and crawly things like rabbits, turtles, snakes, pheasants, turkeys and all kinds of bugs (I despise deer flies!). Casey and Jessie might chase after these now and then but can easily be called off or distracted long enough for the little animal to make a clean break for it. Of course turtles get a different kind of treatment from Jessie. Never has she hurt a turtle though. I think her curiosity keeps her at bay; she seems to not be sure it they are critters for playing with or smelly rocks. Casey appears to go with the smelly rock theory. If Jessie finds a turtle she bounces and pounces towards it, circling and pawing at the ground around it barking and growling. This is one of the funniest things she does. It takes a few minutes to get her distracted away from turtles and she'll always make one more trip back to them.

Because I have Labrador Retrievers who seem to have a natural hunting instinct I've always been a little curious and worried about what they would do if we came across a deer on one of our walks. Well, yesterday I found out and boy was I exhausted on our return trip home! We were walking through the woods in a area that has a huge slope down towards a small swampy spot. The trees are spread out enough to make it easy to walk through and there is a nice path along the top of the slope. Casey and Jessie were exploring and I was at a nice pace behind them getting eaten alive by mosquitoes when we heard a crack. We looked over and there was a doe standing by some brush and in a split second she shot off! It took just that split second for Jessie to react and she was close on the doe's tail (I was really impressed by how well she kept up, the trees helped her and not the deer). I yelled at Jessie to stop, but she was on the hunt. Of course when Casey heard then saw the doe she froze with her ears popped up and in her ready to go stance and just watched the whole scene with excitement (I think she knew she had no chance of catching that doe or she hoped Jessie would then she could help take credit for catching it).

Anyway, in about 10 seconds time Jessie and the doe were getting out of my sight and Jessie seemed to have no intentions of letting that deer escape her. We aren't really familiar with that particular wood so Casey and I ran off to try and keep Jessie in view and convince her that it was a lost cause. Finally the doe broke away from Jessie's pursuit and was gone. That didn't stop Jess from trying to find it's scent and get back on her trail. After about 10 minutes I finally got Jessie to calm down and stop circling the area searching for the doe's scent. We were a little lost but finally found the path that led back to the open field. Of course with as fast as the whole thing happened and my fear that I would lose sight of Jessie, my camera just bopped along my side as the moment happened, so no Jessie chasing deer pictures, which is disappointing. I usually don't think fast enough in those type of moments to grab up my camera, I'm always too busy yelling at Jessie to leave the animal alone, we don't want any bunny, turkey or what ever animal it is casualties on our walks, I think that would spoil the tranquility of it all. Yeah, like there's a lot of tranquility on dog walks in the woods!

So, now I know what Jessie will do if she spots a deer. Let's hope the deer out there stay tucked away and hidden from Jess's view from now on. Of course it was exciting and she really enjoyed herself, so if it makes my doggies happy I'll deal with it. I think it's time to mix in some jogging with the walking though =)

There's never a dull moment on a walk with Casey and Jessie!

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