The Day Taz Saved a Deer

The winter had been a series of bitter cold days broken only by days filled with falling snow. Even though it was near the end of March, that Sunday afternoon saw a temperature rising only as far as -20°C (-4°F). The sun was bright and cast long shadows across the yard, which was still buried beneath three feet of snow. The warmth of spring time seemed a long time away.

Despite the cold Taz was out in the small enclosure at the back of our house. There he made his rounds, inspecting every inch of the fenced perimeter. We were happy and content to stay in the warm embrace of our home. Suddenly the quiet of the afternoon was broken by Taz barking frantically. The barking only registering in my mind after if continued on for several minutes. “Any bird or squirrel that had caused such ruckus should have fled long ago,” I thought. The urgency of the barking required some investigation on my part.

Deer in Snow SizedApproaching the patio door, I observed Taz standing in the middle of the enclosure barking at something at the edge of the forest. I squinted through the dazzling sunlight, which bounced off the snow, trying to see what had disturbed Taz and our peaceful afternoon. I recoiled in shock once my mind had deciphered the movement in the trees. There stood a lone deer, emancipated from the long cold winter. Surrounding the deer in a circle was four or five coyotes. I watched horrified as one coyote would lunge at the deer, who would turn quickly to avoid the attack. As the deer turned another coyote would lunge. Strangely this dance of death was being performed in total silence. The only noise was from Taz, who was still barking.

I love animals, all animals. I know that mother nature is often cruel and I have no disillusions about the coyotes that Coyote in Snowwander the land around the house. They are carnivores, they hunt other animals. Usually their prey are the smaller animals. The rabbits, squirrels and mice that shared our land. I also know that weakened by a long cold winter, with deep snow that meant food was scarce, deer would often fall prey to a pack of coyotes.

All this knowledge flashed through my mind in an instant. “That may all be true, but not in my backyard and not within my sight” I resolved. I frantically called my husband and implored that we had to stop this. I could not let the coyotes kill this deer. My limited knowledge of coyotes lead me to believe that you could scare them away by making loud noises. My husband agreed that he would go out and try to chase off the coyotes, but I would have to find a way to make as much noise as humanly possible, to help him. As I dug through cupboards to find something to use to make the loudest racked, he quickly dressed in the required boots, parka, and gloves necessary to venture out into the cold. Armed with two large pots, I went into the backyard; armed with a shovel, my husband approached the coyotes. Things had deteriorated in the few minutes we took to get ready. Now one coyote hung by its jaws from the neck of the deer, trying to bring it down. The deer swung around attempting to dislodge the coyote. I banged my pots as hard as I could as my husband approached the coyotes bellowing loudly.

It worked.

The coyotes melted back into the woods. The deer sank to its knees, then after a moment seemed to recover and it too disappeared into the woods. Miraculously there was no blood on the snow. We silently prayed that meant the deer was alright.

I battle sometimes with our decision to interfere with nature. I think about the pack of coyotes who too were struggling to find food and to survive the harsh winter. However, more often than not, I think we, Taz, my husband and I, did the right thing in saving that deer.


Tree House – Monday’s Finish the Story Flash Fiction

The  Mondays Finish the Story challenge is to write a short story (100-150) words that contain the first line provided and is related to the photo provided. Here’s mine for this week. Enjoy!

House in Mango Tree“She lived in a mango tree.”

She had always been considered eccentric; choosing to spend her time with animals not people. The many cats that shared her humble abode had never criticized her obsession with birds or teased her about her tangle of red hair. The gentle St Bernard that she had found abandoned by the railroad tracks remained at her side when she sat by the window, drenched in sunlight, hour after hour.

Spring saw the robins return. From her perch, she watched them gather bits of string and straw for their nest. Early summer was spent admiring the darting robins as they fed three tiny mouths. Each day she would rise to the chorus robins, wrens and thrushes; each night she would fall asleep to the call of whip-poor-wills.

All in all the tree house was the perfect place for someone who lived life with their head in the clouds.

Thank you Barbara Beacham for hosting this site and for challenging us every week!

The Witch Monday’s Finish the Story for Sept 14th

The  Mondays Finish the Story challenge is to write a short story (100-150) words that contain the first line provided and is related to the photo provided. Here’s mine for this week. Enjoy!

Witches House
The Witches House

From her small balcony, the witch watched the world go by.”

No one would ever know the secret hidden behind her satisfied smile.

Despite his softly whispered pledges of love and loyalty, like a hound dog drawn to a bitch in heat, he left their tiny home and headed to the local bar. Night after night she watched him carefully comb his raven locks and prepare to leave. Her love had never been enough to contain his restless spirit. It was only by the weak morning light that he would return, reeking of beer and strange perfume.

He had never believed the wild rumors of spells and witchcraft that circled Black Labthrough the village. Perhaps if he had paid attention he would not have treated her so badly. It was all too late now. Water under the bridge. A loud laugh escaped her throat as she stroked the shiny black coat of the Labrador Retriever sitting loyally at her side.

The Battle of Wills

It is a battle of wills. I am not sure if either combatant is aware they have been caught up in the battle. I watch as an interested bystander.

On one side is my husband. A man who loves his dogs with unwavering devotion. A man who works tirelessly to make sure his dogs are healthy and happy.

My Husband Feeding Wild Horse in Reno
My Husband Feeding Wild Horse in Reno

On the other side is Willa, the steadfast, devoted dog that follows her “Dad” from room to room. Willa who sits by my husband’s side as he works long into the wee hours of the morning.

Willa Tracking
Willa Tracking

So what could possibly place these loyal companions into a face-off that shows no sign of ending? The root of the ongoing battle is the Blanket. It started innocently enough, like most conflicts. My husband knows that his stalwart companion likes to sit on soft things. He has frequently observed that if anything soft lands on the floor, Willa will lie on it. This goes to the extreme that even as I am changing the sheets on our bed, placing the ones in need of laundering on the floor, Willa will immediately lay on them. My husband thoughtfully spread the Blanket on the floor for Willa to use. He carefully folded the Blanket, gently placing it down, smoothing away any wrinkles.

Upon seeing the meticulously placed Blanket, Willa will studiously paw at it and use her nose to rearrange the flat surfaces into a tangled heap before using it. Thus the vicious circle begins. Each combatant following their instincts: my husband protectively providing a smooth surface, Willa instinctively building a nest. In this battle of wills who will win? I’m not sure but I think Willa is in the lead!

Willa On Blanket

Jean Pierre – Monday’s Finish the Story Flash Fiction Sept 7th

The  Mondays Finish the Story challenge is to write a short story (100-150) words that contain the first line provided and is related to the photo provided. Here’s mine for this week. Enjoy!

Eiffel Tower“As her mount shifted uneasily under her, she grasped the brim of her old felt Stetson, gazed upwards and remembered Jean Pierre.”

Her brother did not share her love of adventure. He did not feel stifled by the crowded streets, or drowned in the traditions of the Parisiens. He had no desire to explore the open spaces of the American west. To him, America was provincial, and he was open in his criticism of “vulgar” Americans.

Saying goodbye to Jean Pierre and the city she loved was heart-wrenching. Twenty years later, her breath still caught in her throat at the thoughts of their last meeting. The image of Jean Pierre standing alone and defeated among the scurrying throng of tourist at the base of the Tour de Eiffel is forever burned into her memory.

Photo courtesy of the Huffington Post
Photo courtesy of the Huffington Post

She gripped the reigns and spurred Jean, her horse, on and glanced over her shoulder to be sure Pierre, her Border Collie, was close behind.



Dogs are Like Snowflakes

Lab with SnowIt is well-known that on close inspection every snowflake is different. Each an individual. To some, dogs are alike, especially those of the same breed. That is simply not true. Like snowflakes each dog is an individual with an individual personality. That became abundantly clear when we challenged each of our dogs with the same puzzle toys.

The first challenge was the basic Cube.

The CubThis is a cube of hard plastic with a hole on one side. Dry dog food is poured into it and the challenge for your dog is to get the food out. It’s a fairly easy puzzle and most dogs will soon learn to push the cube over from one side to the next until the hole is facing down and food falls out. For our dogs here was their reactions.

Tasha in Her Younger Days
Tasha in Her Younger Days

Tasha just ignored the cube.

Willa Caught Sleeping
Willa Caught Sleeping

Willa picked it up using the hole as a handy place for her lower teeth, and after parading around with her prize for a while, carried it to her hiding place in the bedroom.

Taz on Patrol
Taz on Patrol

Taz got the idea that there was food in the cube and he needed to do something to get the food out. Unfortunately he only got as far as pushing the cube around and never got the hang of actually tipping it over.

Moe in his Younger Years
Moe in his Younger Years

Moe mastered the cube immediately, rolling it around the room and emptying its contents onto the floor for consumption.

Challenge number two was a Tug-A-Jug.

Tag A JugDry dog food is placed into the bottle by unscrewing the bottom of the bottle. Your dog then has to master a series of moves to have the food come out of the top.

And the results were –

Tasha ignored the Tug-A-Jug and wonders why we kept insisting she work for her food and actually eat food off the floor. Ugh disgusting!

Willa picked up the bottle by the rope and carried it around for a while before placing it in her hiding place beside our bed.

Taz quickly got the ideal that the rope was stopping the food from coming out. The early version we had used a rubber “rope”. Taz quickly chewed the “rope” off making the toy unusable. He got all the food and he eliminated the pesky rope.

Moe loves this toy. He has devised a series of moves whereby he tips the bottle onto it’s base pushing the rope in thus ensuring the food and knot of the rope are at the bottom, next he tips the bottle onto it’s head ensuring the food falls towards the mouth of the bottle with the knot landing behind the food and finally he tugs on the rope which pulls some food out. He contently repeats these maneuvers until the bottle is empty.

Four dogs, four solutions to the same problems.