The Killing Fields

All right. You’re a dog summering at Orange Springs Farm. You’re out in the fields and kill a groundhog. Congratulations! But now, what do you do with the corpse?

Empirical evidence suggests you have three options. One is to do nothing. Another is to bury it. And the third is to dismember and bisect the body, then bring back a chunk of it as a present for your master(s) back at the farmhouse.

Clyde, Snoots’ bestest buddy, is a huge fan of Door Number Three. He’s a killing machine; this we know because of his constant “gift-giving” of groundhog heads, torsos and whatnot.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, Clyde rolled in at about 4:30 in the afternoon. Before sundown, he’d brought back this:

For better or worse, Keller has literally dozens of pictures just like this.

Snooty, on the other hand, does not bring his victims back, making it much tougher to get a body-count estimate on his end. As a matter of fact, before last week, he had only one confirmed kill. It happened a few years ago, when I noticed him on the horizon with something enormous and floppy in his mouth. I followed him, and soon he buried it under a bunch of leaves and branches. I retrieved the body and, with Keller’s help, staged a photo shoot to mark the occasion:

Fast-forward three years to last Saturday. Five of us are out for a stroll with Snoots and Keli (Keller’s sister’s dog). We’re way out by a fenceline when Keli tears into the bushes to chase something. Assface joins the fray and quickly finds himself pouncing on a groundhog. Boom! He immediately gives it the old “figure eight of death” business, whipping it back-and-forth and up-and-down in his jaws (presumably breaking its neck). Keli eventually got her mouth on it, and briefly had ideas of walking away with the body, but Snoots was running the show.

After the dust had settled, we resumed our walk, and fucking Snoots was strutting like a show dog. His posture was nothing short of regal and he was practically prancing through the field grass, the groundhog limply dangling from his Snooty snout. (As for where the body ended up? He dropped it, and completely forgot about it, a few minutes later when he chased a cow).

Now fast-forward a mere two days. Keller and I are out on the deck wrapping up dinner when I head inside to grab a beer. Snoots, seeing something out in the field, launches himself off the deck ( easily five or six feet off the ground) and goes to chase something. Both dogs do this from time to time, with sparse results (whatever they’re chasing has an enormous head start). But this time, Keller hears a blood-curdling animal-scream and I run back outside.

And…. here comes Prancy! Only this time, he doesn’t have a groundhog in his mouth. He has a fox.

And sure enough, after a minute or so of carrying it proudly around underneath us (not unlike a gladiator in the Colosseum), he simply drops the body in the grass and starts snooting around other parts of the field.

Naturally, Keller and I run down to verify that this animal is a freaking fox (and of course get some pictures), and as Keller gets near it, he jumps a foot in the air. “It looked at me!”

The fox was still alive.

Before we could discuss the possibilities of  “where to go from here” (namely, [a]  getting the shotgun or [b] asking Snoots to finish what he started), the fox got up, limped around for a second, then ran off, looking no worse for the wear. That fucker had survived Snoot’s “figure eight of death” routine (a misnomer in hindsight) and perhaps gone so far as to play dead in Snoots’ mouth during The Prancing, and was going to live to tell about it.

Call him the first beneficiary of Snooty’s New Catch-and-Release Policy.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “The Killing Fields

  1. karen

    Love it! Great story, great writing, priceless dog.

    Hope summer is going well. Keep the entertainment coming.

  2. Wendy

    Our Snoots is an Awesome Snoots. He is benevolent, He is all-powerful, He is forgiving in His Mercies. Amen.

  3. Brooke

    I think my favorite part is when he forgot about the groundhog and chased a cow 🙂

  4. He’s like a furry Terminator.

  5. Nana D

    That is why someone, ( I assume an ancestor farmer/hunter) who coined the saying, “sly as a fox” when the same thing happened to him and his dog, must of been a distant cousin of the fox who fooled Snoots and all you humans!

  6. Amen, Winky. Amen. Our Snoots is truly an Awesome Snoots.

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