Wind and rain have finally cleared our atmosphere. It’s good once again to be able to see the definition of the hills and the blue of the sky. And so closes the chapter on the great fire season of 2012.
Nellie, Mike’s German Shorthair Pointer, doesn’t question her mission in life to go off in quest of game birds. Anything we have in her by way of being a good pet is over and above her instinct to hunt, though in recent years the Shorthair has been bred to bring out better sociability. (Listen to me talk about dog breeding!)
Mike and Ken are both avid bird hunters, and last week they took the dogs, our Nellie and Ken’s Mac, and went to the Nampa area to hunt in Idaho and Oregon. Two days of strenuous hunting were hard on Nellie, whose front paws showed the effects of the rugged conditions. Mike arrived home with her Friday night (Oct. 12), and she spent Saturday resting on her pillow. She didn’t even get up to eat. We treated her paws with aloe vera.
As Ken and Mike loaded the car for Sunday’s outing, Nellie refused to go. I mean, Nellie loves to hunt, but she went up on the bank above our house and stayed there, as if to say, “I just can’t. You guys go on without me.” As Mike put it, “She knows something isn’t right.” After they left – and a hunter doesn’t like to leave his dog behind – she came when I called her and curled up on her pillow again.
By Monday Nellie felt a little better and we took several walks. The afternoon was unseasonably warm and pleasant, and on that day – October 15 – we had the house open. And here’s something that further indicates what a strange year we’re having. Nellie and I were walking up South Slope Road in our town neighborhood when I spied a small snake in the road. Thinking it was just a small, non-venomous snake I sorta stomped in its direction to shoo it away – and it coiled and began to strike toward me! It was actually a baby rattlesnake! To see a rattlesnake at this time of year is unusual, but to see a baby is really strange. I could hear only a slight buzz from its undeveloped rattles. Nellie and I looked at each other and wordlessly turned around to head back home. Mike says that even the venom of young rattlers is dangerous. (I know – I should never walk without the camera.)
Nellie was back to her old self today, and when Mike got out her hunting collars she greeted the signs of a hunt enthusiastically, climbing on my lap to share her joy.
“She did great,” Mike responded to my inquiry as to how Nellie fared. “She’s a good hunting dog.” KW