Saturday, 7 March 2009

The Call of the Wild

I've just watched Tess our rescue Springer effortlessly clear the perimeter fence. Already at full gallop, it was as if she had wings. Her stride unbroken, she sprinted off into the distance like a racehorse heading for the finishing post. The boundary defence looks impossibly high for her to scale and we had thought we must have a hole when she'd previously made a break for freedom unobserved.
Today, I watched from the window as Tess decided to go for the jump and there was nothing I could do to dissuade her. Ears flowing horizontally in the slipstream, eyes alight with the thrill of the chase.
Tess is very definitely fit for function. Unfortunately it's not a function I want or need. She is determined to fulfill her genetic destiny and wherever the rabbits go, she wants to follow - no matter the barriers we try to put in her way.
If only there was a rabbit-chasers-anonymous that could cure her of this addiction.
Oscar the Beardie is always left behind swearing little indignant barks under his breath and stamping his front paws. Frustrated that he can't fly, too.
Tess's ears are deaf to our whistles while there's still a rabbit left to chase.
Our hearts are always in our mouths, waiting for her to return to base.
My Beardies never behaved like this. They'd jump a high fence, but only to get back to their people. My nerves are not built for Springers.
Tess is back now and looks embarrassed at the full search party she initiated. But the taste of rabbit is going to lead her astray again and again.
How high do we have to fence to make the jump too risky to attempt?
Watching her go off to hunt I've never seen a dog so happy, so focused.
If only she had found an owner who shared her love of field sports, she'd have been a great hunting companion for someone as keen on killing.
Oscar the Beardie will chase a rabbit so long as it stays within the garden, but he has no wanderlust. If a rabbit makes it to the boundary line he firmly believes they have immunity.
Tess is an amazing piece of engineering, just wish we could find her employment that didn't lead her astray!


maj said...

You need to bend the wire over at the top to stop her jumping it like quarantine kennels.

Anonymous said...

I feel for you Beverley. Tyler is a Whippet x and his prey drive is pretty high. If he see's a Rabbit or even birds he's off and no amount of calling, treat's or arm waving will bring him back until the poor Rabbit is out of sight. Thankfully most places he's exercised at are safe and i can still see him in the distance but he has managed to catch a couple before. He never damages them, they die from the shock rather then any injuries that Tyler causes them. Like a true Sight Hound he soon loses interest in them once caught and just drops them.


Anonymous said...

Speaking as a true sighthound owner I feel you should realise that a true sighthound dispatches its prey as soon as it catches it which is actually more humane than letting the creature die of shock. They don't damge them either simply break their neck