Chatty is issuing this warning forthwith!
If you are a lovely bird that hangs out with friends and flies around the neighborhood and nests in local trees, minding your own business – this warning is NOT directed at you. If, however, you are the big flappy bastard who attacked our dog – TAKE HEED! Those waving flags are there to TRIP YOU UP, and moreover, Chatty and The Wiz will be randomly patrolling the back yard – armed with barbecue forks and hot wing sauce – and we are NOT AFRAID TO USE THEM. Stay far, far away, or you might just find yourself on the opposite end of the food chain than you had planned…
Here’s what happened:
While Chatty was in downtown Glendale, guzzling peach-flavored tea and sampling goat-milk chocolate peanut butter fudge at the annual Chocolate Affaire – and The Wiz was crouched over his computer, racking up yet another staggering high score in “Bedazzled” – our 3.2 pound Chihuahua Cleo was fighting off almost-certain death in the backyard – almost silently.
Apparently our baby had been out in the yard, doing her business, when The Wiz heard her yelp, and then what he later described as a “weird cry”. He didn’t think much of it – because we have visiting cats that are quite vocally interesting – until Cleo came flying through the dog door and rushed to huddle between his feet. He picked her up and saw blood, so he immediately ran outside, but there was NOTHING in the yard. We have a 6-foot concrete fence surrounding the back yard, and there were no cats, no dogs – nothing that could explain what had happened moments ago.
Chatty arrived home a few minutes later, and The Wiz informed her “There’s something badly wrong with the dog.”
Chatty picked Cleo up, and saw a gash in her back. Don’t read the next sentence if you are squeamish. The inside of her puppy looked like raw hamburger. Cleo let mommy look at the gash, and then allowed her to look further, which was when mommy found three more gashes on her left side – two ugly but fairly shallow wounds on the left side of her chest, and one much deeper wound puncturing the tender skin between her tummy and her left back leg.
Chatty freaked, as did The Wiz. We called our neighbors, who rushed over with the number of their vet. The vet was closed, it being late Saturday afternoon.
Through all of this, Cleo was quietly stoic. Chatty decided that anti-bacterial ointment was an immediate must, and Cleo submitted without even a yelp, but she was very subdued.
Meanwhile, The Wiz and Steeler Boy combed the back yard, looking for ANYTHING that could have caused such gashes. They found nothing but a single feather in the middle of the grassy area of the yard.
The penny dropped.
Some big flappy bastard had swooped down and tried to carry our baby away. In broad daylight. From a small back yard.
We can only assume that it was an immature bird, or an adult bird that miscalculated. Either way, it is sheer luck that our dog is still alive, and not crippled by her injuries.
It could have been a hawk – Chatty hopes so, because hawks have a large hunting area, and the chances of it coming back are relatively small. But it is just as likely to have been an owl, and owls are very local, and hunt in the same places over and over again. Chatty always thought of owls as nocturnal, but an immature owl is a different story.
Whatever got Cleo had LARGE talons – the gashes were over an inch long and ½ to ¾ inches deep. Very, very ugly but clean wounds – which made any other kind of attack unlikely – another dog, or a cat, would have engaged in a brawl – with LOTS more noise, and ragged wounds. It was definitely a predatory bird.
What to do?
Well, beat them at their own game, obviously.
Chatty immediately went on-line and found a web site that sells those triangular flags we all see at car dealerships, gas-stations and open-houses. They are strung on ropes, and Chatty figures we can stretch them diagonally between the trees so that they move over the entire yard with the breeze, thus – hopefully – confusing any predatory bird flying overhead.
So, Chatty AGAIN issues the warning:
If you are the big flappy bastard who attacked our dog – TAKE HEED! Those waving flags are there to TRIP YOU UP, and moreover, Chatty and The Wiz will be randomly patrolling the back yard – armed with barbecue forks and hot wing sauce – and we are NOT AFRAID TO USE THEM. Stay far, far away, or you might just find yourself on the opposite end of the food chain than you had planned.
Ummmmm… roasted owl! What a tasty dish that would be to set before the Princess Cleo!
Meanwhile, you will all be happy to know that Miss Cleo is nicely on the mend.
Yesterday, when the refrigerator door opened, she suddenly commenced to do the “ham dance”. This consists of rearing up on the back legs, hopping two steps back, then three steps toward the (hopefully) proffered ham, whilst waving the forelegs, waggling the tail, twitching the nose and wiggling the bat-like protrusions that can only be called ears because of the position they occupy on the top of her head.
And tonight was STEAK NIGHT! She successfully wrestled a T-bone larger than she is into her bucket, and has already gnawed it to a pearly whiteness.
All of the pictures in this post have been taken SINCE her attack (although from the right side, as the left side is still ugly), and from them you can see that our Cleo is – as ever – cheerful, enthusiastic, and a huge food fan!
Our Cleo is also brave and uncomplaining. She is 3.2 pounds of determined puppy, and we are awe-struck by her courage in the face of almost-certain death. Truly.
Don’t you just love an exciting story with a happy ending?