Thursday, March 26, 2009

Moxie The Bird And Squirrel Destroyer

Darn Spring, arriving with its chirping birds and chattering squirrels, all seemingly on the same mission-to torture my dog. The Army Man and I could tell from day one that Moxie is a bird dog. It’s obviously in her blood, and according to her, birds are the most exciting thing on the planet. If we’re on a run and she spots one in a yard a few houses up, well you’d better just pick up the pace, because she will literally drag you to that house in an attempt to capture the bird. And if the bird only flies to the next house in its escape attempt, then yep, you’ll be dragged to that next house too. Have I mentioned before that running with Moxie isn’t always that pleasant?

Since Moxie came home with us in the dead of winter, we didn’t really see right away just how hell-bent on capturing a bird she is. Now that the birds are out with gusto, she can think of nothing else. We have a small patch of woods behind our house which is now teeming with wildlife. The birds and squirrels are all so grateful to use our bird feeder, and this has created an unpleasant situation for everyone.

Moxie the bird and squirrel destroyer CANNOT allow any animal to linger in her backyard. They must be chased off, or preferably, caught. If Moxie is not allowed to be outside defending her property, then the only position she can be in is at the back door, looking out menacingly. Every time someone walks anywhere near her, she is sure to go into full body convulsions of excitement, thinking she is about to be let out the back. If she is not let out the back, she starts weeping. When she is out the back, it’s amazing to see her instincts at work. She hides, she low crawls, she sneaks. She is determined. Yesterday she hid on the deck behind the grill and when a bird finally landed, she catapulted herself off the deck through a small opening. She walks on her back legs attempting to see over the back of the fence. She is starting to worry me. She never wants to come inside anymore, something which used to be so thrilling to her that she would wiggle while sitting. Her one-track mind is not allowing her to enjoy life anymore. Normally during the day she would take some naps, look out the front window, play with her toys, and get petted excessively. Now she is obsessed and cannot relax when she is inside.

Today I thought perhaps if I closed the blinds on the backdoor she would forget about everything in the backyard and just lay down. Nope. That actually brought out the whining and pacing. So finally I gave in and let her out the back. I should have had my camera ready, because this time there were TWO squirrels on the premises and she actually threw herself against the fence in her attempts to capture them. When we adopted Moxie, the story they told us about her leaping the four foot fence and returning with dead squirrels to feed her puppies made me tear up at the thought of her being such a devoted mother. In fact, that was even part of the inspiration for her name. Now I know, that just like a used car, every positive attribute of hers is just disguising a negative one. She’s so devoted to her puppies really meant she is so obsessed with wildlife that you will never again have a pleasant day until the winter comes again.

I know what you’re all saying-the backyard is fenced, so just let her stay outside all day if that’s what she wants. But therein lies the rub. Moxie is also a digger. There are creatures underground that require her attention too! Lately she has been so obsessed with the birds and squirrels that she ignores her digging responsibilities for about 20 minutes. That’s a long time for this dog who used to start digging after being outside alone for about 3 minutes. But I can never be quite sure-will this be the time she digs or doesn’t dig? Yesterday she dug up the one lone tree in our backyard, digging so deep that the roots were damaged. She sure is a champion digger, our dog. We’re so proud! I really don’t enjoy going to check on her every 10 minutes to make sure that she isn’t digging. I’d rather she was inside, where I can keep my eye on her. Inside, where she will be at the back door, freaking out.

The Army Man is convinced that soon she will actually attempt to jump our six foot fence. I’m starting to consider injuring a squirrel and putting it in the backyard for Moxie. This afternoon I took the bold and unpopular step of completely removing the bird feeder from the backyard. Moxie the Bird and Squirrel Destroyer is not placated or deceived. She will keep at her post no matter what. Last night she lay there in the dark for about 30 minutes, in a perfectly crouched position, waiting for the kill that will never come.

I would feel bad for her if the whole situation wasn’t so annoying.
Moxie guarding the bird feeder, in one of her more relaxed moments


Bee and Rose said...

Oh my goodness! We are experiencing a bit of the same here with our recent adoptee, Gordie the black lab! He loves to chase (and bark at) all the rabbits and squirrels! He sleeps inside at night and can even sense when there are javelinas in the yard...and of course, he 3:00 am...

Maya said...

Moxie has very strong instincts and she's very persistent. Sorry to hear that she's such a handful. My parents had a pointer (another hunting dog) that dug incessantly, climbed their 6-ft brick wall, and chased anything that moves. She even caught a possum! Such a contrast to our dog who's a wimp and gets scared of squirrels, especially if they're rustling in leaves.

DomesticDivasFancy said...

Yes...I know what you are experiencing. My dogs love to chase anything...squirels, rabbits, birds, and my cats too. It is funny though because we have an invisible fence and I think the animals are learning that if they are on the other side that the dogs cannot get them. I think they are taunting them. My puppy Henry is a digger too. I need to try to figure out a way to stop him from that...any ideas?

Have a wonderful weekend.

Ashley Nichole.