Animal Control. Or Not.

Mia is the first dog my grand daughters will remember.

At three months and less than two pounds, I rather doubt she’ll reach the “up to 30 pounds” adult weight they were told to expect. Part Cocker (is there a miniature Cocker?) and part something else (Abby says Dachsund), Mia is a most self-possessed and fearless creature for her size, who, like most toddlers, has an amazingly short attention span and the need to have something in her mouth at all times.

She is also, of course, not house-broken. And when I took her out of the crate at first light, nature called.

Now I’ll have to tell you that Maggie the Cat and Mia the Dog have not made their peace, and the aggression (merely curiosity and wanting too much to be friends) is at Mia’s account. The cat hisses, the dog chases. And so it goes.

So it was not fortuitous that, just as I was coming up onto the back deck to come back in out of the cold wind and drizzle with dog following along behind me, Ann let’s the cat out the door we were headed toward.

Zoom goes the cat across the deck, down the steps, across the length of the yard, and right behind her zipping past me, the weeny dog, an elongated black blur in the dawn light.

The cat comes to and goes through the iron fence. The dog, likewise. The cat heads down the rocky overgrown canyon behind the house. The dog disappears in pursuit.

I should mention that this is the same rocky canyon where, on our last trip out, the cat encountered a three foot rattlesnake. I should also mention that, in order to chase the dog down into the snake pit, I’d have to leap up out of the yard onto a shoulder-high wall into the neighbors yard–an athletic impulse unbounded by gravity or orthopedics decades ago. But that was then…

In the end, dog captured, captor not snake bitten but winded and battered, his brief morning muse rounded up and sent to the pound for safe-keeping.

I’m getting the feeling that there will be more stories forthcoming. And some pictures. Stay tuned.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  2. Hee hee! At least they are all keeping you on your toes! It’s good for you!

    No miniature Cocker spaniel… Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, perhaps? I think some pictures are in order!

  3. Our pup is now 5+ months old and still hasn’t figured out the bathroom-outside thing. He’s a Pomeranian, so he’ll never be big, but I don’t think I’ll ever take him to the woods with us. A single infestation of ticks or chiggers might be fatal to his small body, but I worry about predators. He also doesn’t come when called, and I suspect that all sorts of predators watch us when we’re in the woods. All they’d need is for a 5 pound ball of fur to make an appearance for them to have the courage to dash toward us.