Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Oh Dear, Oh Deer

NOT a deer.

It's deer hunting season in Wisconsin again. I dread it all year long and shrink about two inches (living in a perpetual cringe) when it finally arrives. Every gunshot I hear--and I will hear several while writing this brief post--forces me to imagine a tragic scene for a lovely, serene creature I cannot protect. 

I can, however, protect our own dogs. Brown-colored Rose leaping through the brush on our land does a fairly believable impersonation of a deer. Which explains the school patrol guard uniform she dons from sunrise to sunset. As you can see, the girl knows how to rock an outfit.

But why should a dog on her own land need protection? We live in a rural area with lots of deer and plenty of neighbors who delight in killing them. In Wisconsin, you only need to be 100 yards from a person's home when you fire. And the average deer rifle shoots about 300 yards. I'm no mathematician, but I do know when the most prudent choice is to quake in fear.

Here's wishing all of us (especially Bambi) a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving. 

I actually have a few deer hunters in my life. So today I'm going to spend some time remembering that they are as impassioned about their opinions as I am about mine. And we are unlikely to ever change each other. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Get the Point?

Fiver on the Lookout

It may interest you to know that dogs are one of only three animals on the planet who can follow your finger to see what you're pointing at. They get it. They see you point, and they understand you want them to look in that direction.

Latest studies show that elephants are probably hip to the game; but only one out of hundreds of house cats can do it. And nobody else. Even chimpanzees, who share our exact genetic make-up (except for about a teaspoon of DNA) couldn't follow your point, even if their lives depended on it. "Look over there! A guy with a big tranquilizer gun! I'm not kidding! Please, look!" 

They won't look. Which is how so many of them end up in frilly skirts, riding bikes in the circus. (Actually, that's not why. It has more to do with hugely flawed human beings, but that's another kind of blog entirely.)

Dogs, however, are freakin' brilliant at following your gesture. 

In fact, a six week old puppy will look to see where you're pointing--because years of domestication have programmed his tiny brain cells to grasp the concept. After all, you might be showing him something expensive to chew on, or some new place in the house he hasn't peed yet.

Forgive the boast, but our dog Rose is an expert at The Art of Point. Actually, you needn't bother yourself to raise a finger. You simply look out the window, and Rose appears at the sill to see what she must be missing: 

"Is it Fatty Blue Jay eating all the suet again?"

"Is there a feral cat out there? Huh? Is there?"
"Do not tell me that guy is back to fill the propane tank."

And by the bye, it's not a sometimes-yes-sometimes-no proposition at our house. If you look... Rose will come. So it took about 30 seconds to plan, "pose," and snap the above photo this morning. 

Today I think I'll keep a better eye on what's happening out in the yard. The cold and snow can make me burrow in too deeply if I'm not careful.