In which Pyrrha catches a squirrel

Sitting pretty. Or a bit sloppy.

It’s every dog’s dream to catch a squirrel.

Squirrels skritter so high above ground, though—running along telephone lines, shimmying up tree trunks, flying from branch to branch. Dogs never even come close to them. Yet dogs continue to dream, imagining that glorious day in which they actually catch a squirrel, those fuzzy, taunting chimeras of the treetops.

That glorious moment for Pyrrha was today.

This morning, we’re headed back toward home after our early morning walk. Pyrrha spots a squirrel at the base of an oak tree. I let her drag me over to it, because, hey, she wants to sniff and she’s never even come close to catching a squirrel before. They’re always up the tree in a millisecond, even before she can get her nose to the ground. Then she tries to jump in the air after them, which is foolishly adorable, because they’re 30 feet in the air by that point.

But this particular squirrel, however, made a serious tactical error. I don’t know if he was sleepy, lacking in some vital senses, or simply stupid, but he decided to circle around the base of the tree in the other direction. Big mistake, dude. Pyrrha was there in a flash and the next thing I know, my dog has a LIVE SQUIRREL in her jaws, giving it a gleeful death shake.

I think this was the happiest moment of Pyrrha’s young life.

As for me, I was completely frozen. I could only stare at this predatory scene unfolding before me. When I came to, I started to scream, which, naturally, was the most logical thing to do in this situation. The squirrel jumped out of Pyrrha’s mouth a few times, but she was always able to pick it back up again before I could drag her away. I was at a loss. I wasn’t about to try to pry a live squirrel from her jaws. So, I kept screaming a bit.

It felt like a million years, but in about 30 seconds, the squirrel finally made a break for it and was able to scramble back up the tree while I pulled Pyrrha away.

As I did my best to drag Pyrrha away from the scene, I could hear the squirrel fussing and cussing at us from the tree. Fair, squirrel, fair. What an unfortunate way to begin your morning. I do really apologize for whatever injuries you sustained, but wow, you really did give my dog a huge boost of self-confidence this morning. She walked home like she was Queen of the World. So, sorry about that. I, at least, won’t underestimate Pyrrha’s latent hunting abilities again…

Has your dog ever caught a live animal? What did you do?

13 thoughts on “In which Pyrrha catches a squirrel

  1. If it weren’t so sad for the poor squirrel, this would have been a positively hilarious post. Screaming is always a good option in situations like this 😀 Maybe it was a Rastafarian Squirrel and had been smoking a little something under the tree? You do realise, of course, that Pyrrha will be even more intent on squirrel chasing from this point on! Good luck on your walks (please always take video and still camera with you, so that we can watch you being dragged around after furry critters – thanks 🙂 )

  2. Oh gosh. Talk about accidental reinforcement. Yikes.

    I’m not actually entirely sure that Elli knows how to catch prey like squirrels. She really just likes the chase. I’ve seen her get extremely close — within catching range — but never seen her even try to bite/grab. She also recalls off them once they’ve scurried up trees extremely easily.

    Truly, I encourage this type of hunting, I help her spot the squirrels and I cue her chase. I like watching her sprint and I figure it’ll do us good with lure coursing. Call me crazy. Heh.

  3. What a story haha! That squirrely certainly must have been ruffled up! Our luna doesn’t seem to chase squirrels as much. She’ll actually sit and blatently stare at them and watch them climb the trees though, which I thought as odd! I’m sure one day she’ll start to chase the,, but for now she’s more entertained by playfully chasing out housecats around :/

  4. Ha ha ha! My sister in law’s yellow Lab bit half a squirrel’s tail off one spring!

    One time I took the Greyhounds out to the turn out pen, (back when we had four Greyhounds and no Shepherds) and young Bunny was the first one in. I didn’t see the baby bird in the pen until after I’d unclipped her leash and she saw it! I told her to “drop it” and she did, but she picked it back up three times before the silly thing hopped through the chain link fence. Oh, was she proud of herself that day!

    And the first summer Morgan was here, she made a leap that knocked my husband off his feet as she dove into a shrub after a rabbit. She came out with tail fur stuck between her teeth and my husband had one arm about a foot longer than the other! The funniest part was that she’d tried it earlier in the day, and he went back out to the same spot with her, so in my mind, he got what he deserved! lol

  5. Yep, Pyrrha will definitely show a lot of interest in squirrels in the future.

    My dog Christie once caught a baby raccoon and killed it. I don’t think my husband ever forgave her.

    It’s natural behavior. I can see why Pyrrha was so proud of herself. And it must not have been too fun for you either.

  6. Speaking of baby birds, my late great hunter Emma would stake herself out under the fan exhaust from my kitchen; a bird made a nest yearly and I finally gave up. Emma nipped several baby birds – “peep peep pee….” croak. Gag.
    Good for Pyrrha, better for the squirrel. Please record your scream so I can use it.

  7. Pyrrha sure is proud! Lucky for the squirrel but there will come another day when dog triumphs over squirrels again. I once caught a bunny rabbit in grandpa’s farm. That little guy was eating up the cabbages! I came out from the tall bushes of crops surprising dad with my kill. So proud of myself, it felt like I won an award.

    Dad felt it would be more dishonorable to the bunny if it went to waste so he cleaned it and gave me the bigger portion. Yum! I attempted again numerous times for the creatures feasting on grandpa’s crops but no luck.

  8. I confess, I have little sympathy for squirrels, having had to pay for their removal from my house twice now.

    I don’t let Elka chase them on walks (though evidently the fiance encourages her to chase them in the backyard…hmmmmm), but I wouldn’t expect her to catch one either!

  9. We have been trying to deprogram our dogs here to minimize rabbit and squirrel obsession. It’s going ok. They can keep their little doggy minds together until about 10 ft. I can’t imagine how bad the obsession would grow if they caught one.

    I have no idea what I’d do. I’m sure I’d say “drop it” Ha! As if that would work.

  10. Laly always chases after squirrels and birds and I always wonder what she’d actually do if she got her paws on one. Poor squirrel in this case. Pyrrha better watch out because the squirrels are going to gang up and take revenge. Beware of a flying acorn attack. : )

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