Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rusty the Hunter

Rusty is a Redbone Coonhound (ya know, like on "Where the Red Fern Grows"). They are bred for their tracking skills - more specifically - racoon tracking. Rusty likes to chase anything furry really - cats, rabbits, squirrels, etc. He doesn't care much about birds. It's fun to see him get excited when he sees a bunny and chases it. The hair on his neck bristles, and he starts baying with all his might. (It's really something to hear him howl. It sounds similar to a beached seal crossed with a wolf howling at the moon.) He never catches anything, but he sure gets all worked up when he sees one.

Well, recently we brought Rusty up north with us as we stayed at a cabin with friends. He was in heaven- his "sniffer" was really working. Early one morning, we were wandering around in front of the cabin with Rusty and the kids. I spotted a fat squirrel on the ground and alerted Rusty. His ears instantly perked up and he waited for me to point the way so he could follow the scent. Now mind you, I knew he would never catch the squirrel as we were surrounded by trees and Rusty can't climb trees obviously. I just wanted him to have a little fun in the chase.

Well, he instantly spots it and takes off to tree that squirrel. The squirrel realizes it had better move and instantly darts up the closest tree. Here's where it all went wrong! The squirrel decides it doesn't like that tree and comes back down to go to another tree. (What this squirrel was thinking I will never know.) That was all the time Rusty needed. He snatched that squirrel by the back and proceed to throw his head back and forth as fast as he could. (You know the way dogs do when you are playing tug of war with a rope).

The children all watched in horror as Rusty continued to break the poor little squirrels back with his death grip. The squirrel even let out little high pitched yelps. "Oh what have I done?" was all I kept thinking. I just wanted him to chase the squirrel up a tree and then start baying and howling. Not this!

The whole thing happened so fast, but here's a run down of the dialogue I had with Rusty during the tragic event.
"Rusty!! Look Rusty, it's a squirrel! Rusty go get the squirrel! (I said this in my most excited voice, almost like a mother to her toddler). Rusty get the squirrel!! Oh No Rusty! No Rusty - drop the squirrel - bad Rusty! ( My voice was not so excited anymore - more disgust and concern - like when you witness your child throwing up) Oh Rusty, stop!!! What are you doing Rusty. Drop it - Drop it!"

Here's a picture of the squirrel as it meagerly tried to climb the tree with it's front paws (it's back legs just dangled because of the broken back) after Rusty let him go.
It finally dropped to the ground and wriggled in pain.
Shane decided it was cruel to let it suffer and put it out of it's misery.
Despite my disgust, Rusty was quite proud of his kill.
The boys (only a boy would do this) cut off it's tail and mounted it to the side of the cabin.
EEEwwwwwww! Gross!
Do all squirrels have such nasty teeth?

1 comment:

alysia renner said...

This is awful... Then to cut the poor things tail off and post a picture of it face dripping with blood after you were the one who caused it to die in such an awful manner to begin with is extremely childish. You seem to have found more humor in this than feelings of guilt. Not sure why anyone would post this. Id be pretty ashamed of myself. Yeah you seem REALLY sorry. Have a little more compassion. It may just be a squirrel but that poor thing was no doubt absolutely petrified after nearly being ripped apart and in excruciating pain as it climbed up that tree desperately trying to save its own life. How horrible.