Cat Patrol

My Adventures in the Country, Part Two: Cat Patrol

My dachshund Nixie is, in many ways, a prissy princess--a city dog. She prefers the sidewalk to the grass. She barely tolerates the yard if it's not freshly mown. She puts one paw into snow and steps back in disdain. And she'll do absolutely anything to avoid getting wet. The closest she's come to normal dog instincts was the unforgettable day a few years ago, when she actually caught a squirrel. The fact that it was a young, confused squirrel that ran toward the house instead of the trees, and the fact that because she was on a leash, we were able to pull her away from her catch within seconds, did not in the least take away from her glorious victory. She was able to shake that squirrel thoroughly for a few satisfying moments. I'm convinced that squirrel was severely mocked by his squirrel friends.

But now, Nixie may actually be starting to enjoy being a country dog. We have let the grass grow into hay in part of the pasture, but we've mowed paths throughout. Nixie bounds across the backyard to reach the paths, apparently because paths are the closest things to sidewalks the country has to offer. She explores each path rigorously, every day.

For several days we've noticed a stray cat wandering through the paths, stalking our birds. Well, yesterday, Nixie finally caught the scent of the cat. I didn't even know she had a single tracking instinct. The only thing I've seen her scent out is barbecue brisket cooking in the crock pot, or a stray jelly bean under the couch. But her excitement when she picked up the scent was all-consuming. She bounded around the yard like a deer, her tail straight up behind her like a hunting meerkat. She was positively quivering in anticipation. Of course, though she tracked the cat all the way to the creek, she didn't manage to capture it. But she was clearly satisfied to have chased it off the property--she pranced about proudly, having successfully ensured her yard was completely cat free.

Just another rousing day in the country!

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