Small Poem about the Hounds and the Hares

Release the hounds!
Photo I took of a local hunt in central North Carolina, November 2012.

Small Poem about the Hounds and the Hares

Lisel Mueller

After the kill, there is the feast.
And toward the end, when the dancing subsides
and the young have sneaked off somewhere,
the hounds, drunk on the blood of the hares,
begin to talk of how soft
were their pelts, how graceful their leaps,
how lovely their scared, gentle eyes.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Even though I am not a fan of hunting, I love this little poem, and the notion that the dogs could be having such dreamy thoughts about their prey. Most likely, they’re just like, “OMG HARE MUST EAT.” But still. It’s a nice idea, Lisel Mueller.

Has your dog ever killed a wild thing? What do you think was going through his or her mind?

(Oh, yeah, and happy Friday!)

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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?