Today would have been Tank's 13th birthday. No surprise that I began the day feeling blue. I miss him.
A few hours later my mood had lifted. I'd come back inside laughing and I'm still grinning, not that Starbuck was or is particularly pleased.
Just as always I opened the back door this morning to take him out for the first time, and off he zoomed. His first stop was the back gate to see if he could see the feral cat that's been hanging around that he chased out through the gate . . . umm, about two weeks ago.
After I've made sure the gate is not just latched but strapped closed to make sure Starbuck doesn't get out, I head out (Starbuck zooming by me) to the front gate (and unstrap it) to search for the newspaper and check the mailbox.
By the time I've finally found the newspaper and sorted through the mail (and putting the mail mistakenly crammed into my mail box into the appropriate neighbors') Starbuck's done peeing and usually ready to go back in.
I say usually because if his nose has found something, it overwhelms his single-cell brain and he might be out there for a while running with his nostrils to the ground over the same path again and again. And again. And again. And . . .
Or if something moves, Starbuck's always in hot pursuit.
He'll run with his head up in the air chasing squirrels as they jump from tree to tree until he loses sight of it / them. Then he'll take off completely across the yard because he just spotted it / them over there! "There it / they are!" And off he goes again.
I know the squirrels laugh at Starbuck, as they chatter messages back and forth in squirrel speak that if translated into human might go something like this: "Okay, I've ducked out of Dummy's sight now. <tee-hee-hee> Your turn. I'm giving odds today on who gives out first: Dummy or his screaming human. Any takers?"
Starbuck chases and plays with wiggly stuff, too. Wiggly stuff like snakes.
I know there are some bad ones out there that Starbuck may meet up with one day. I gave up trying to stop him a long time ago but not through lack of trying.
See, when Starbuck flips ‘em, snakes "break" and then he has his choice of two wiggling things to run around with. So while I'm trying to get him away from one, he takes off with the other. When I chase him down he's broken that piece into two MORE wiggling things and he's heading back to the first, larger piece. Back and forth and on and on. I finally just gave up.
So after finding the newspaper and sorting mail and strapping the front gate behind me once I got back inside the fence this morning, you now know why seeing Starbuck focused intently on something was nothing new.
The difference was this time whatever it was he pounced on, flew. It didn't go far, landing only a few feet away from him with Starbuck already in pursuit.
Oh jeez, I thought. It's a hurt bird or a baby one.
The mail went flying and so did the newspaper. Maybe, just maybe I could get to Starbuck before . . .
Starbuck landed but just before he did, the bird took off landing on a branch about ten feet over his head. The "maybe hurt, maybe baby" bird was neither.
There's a nest in that tree somewhere and that bird along with its mate began dive bombing Starbuck. Courageous canine that he is, Starbuck turned tail running straight back to me. Behind me, actually, peaking around my legs to see if those mean birds were still after him.
A few hours later the Pissed-Off Parents went after Starbuck again, but waited until he was in the middle of doing a Number Two before they attacked. Butt down and tail cranking with his head bobbing up and down ducking, Starbuck couldn't push it out fast enough.
When done, he zoomed completely by me heading to the back door.
He was moving so fast, I know he didn't the squirrels laughing.
(When we need it most, Starbuck, always seem to find some way to make us smile.)
LATER (04-15-06): Carnivalized (I liked that word so much I'm stealing it.) at Mickey's Musings in this week's edition of the Carnival of the Dogs.