For the past fortnight we have endured a heat wave, with a still wind temperature cracking the pavement sidewalk at 30 degrees. On the odd occasion whilst sat with my back against the tree log, I have caught a whiff and a reminder of the past, death; in its most odious scented form! Yesterday was as bad as it could get, so I decided to trace the departed source. Upon which, I discovered that there had indeed been a murder most foul, for under a large laburnum bush lay a dead ‘jasper’ (adult male rat). From snout to tail it was at least two foot long. The thought that mystified me was what ever killed it had not taken it for its tucker; after all it’s the law of nature to do so?
As I have used controlled poisoning in the past to lace a few deep rat holes, I knew that this termination had not been the result of such. Rather than take a chance and toss the departed creature over the hedge, I buried it deep less it had been poisoned. I had no wish to see the poison work twice, just in case a buzzard or some other carrion claimed it.
As late evening approached to a sensible cooler temperature, I whistled the dogs and we moved off into the fields for a
clearing patrol casual bimble. I tend to be a bit loud as we walk the fields as it gives the pheasant’s and partridges time to scatter with their young, as well as the rabbits and foxes. Hannah the young pup tends to walk point as lead scout, and Joss the elder is happy to be tail end charlie, obviously I assume the role of team commander (well, why have two dogs and bark yourself)?
As we turned the corner of the cut track I saw some thing dark flash across the corner of my peripheral vision, which I presumed to be a weasel. The lead scout took off like a rocket through the chest high meadow, though I called her back as she knows weasels are classed as friendly forces (without them we would be inundated by rabbits). Either the lead scout had lost comm’s, or she had disobeyed a direct order, as there followed a high pitched-hissed-scream, then silence, save for the movement and sound of high swishing grass, as the lead scout re-appeared wearing a Staffordshire Bull Terrier grin. I summonsed the scout and cajoled her, promising her a place at the cats & dogs home as her fate, iron discipline being my trademark. Click the pic for a true Staffie grin…
On with the final leg of the
patrol walk, upon which, I noticed that Joss was no longer watching our six-o- clock, he too had decided to abandon his position of responsibility and left our rear exposed. His movement was easily followed as the long grass gently swayed, comm’s were once again down as I was receiving no response from my ordered commands, which is some thing that has never happened in the past with Joss. Lead scout was ordered to sit and stay, and observe her arcs , as I crawled walked towards Joss’s position.
Joss was stood with his
weapon snout covering the object of the pitched scream, it was another ‘Jasper’ now deceased, as long and as big as the one previously found. Lead scout, was summonsed and Hannah approached gingerly and sat next to her kill (they always say the first is the hardest, and it gets easier thereafter).
Many a field disciplinary action has been rescinded, after a singular act by the individual gained redemption for their sin. Hannah’s court martial was dropped on the spot, her reward being a
field promotion small bonio treat (the last one in my pocket) much to the disgust of the old ‘time served’ tail ender, who turned in disgust and blundered across country cutting a new trail leading back to the fence gate (knowing full well that there was a half tin of bonio treats awaiting).
This time “Jasper’ was tossed unceremoniously over the high hedge to allow nature to benefit from its demise. Hannah now has two confirmed kills accredited to her; it appears I chose her name wisely. Joss will always be tail end charlie, as he is the most passive Staffie I have ever owned, he would only ever chase after a ‘Jasper’ if a bonio treat was taped to its back, even if caught, he would probably sit and share it with him.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way… It’s a jungle out there! Yours Aye.