My dog Ivan, he thinks he's Jake LaMotta. He just loves a good fight. Not with people, mind you. With people he's as sweet as apple pie. Most dogs, too. But if you're a cat, coyote, deer, bobcat, squirrel, or just about anything else, he wants to rumble. It's just in his genes.
Take this morning. It can be dicey, walking in the hills this early in the morning in spring. Coyote raise their young between March and May, and they get out just after dawn to hunt rabbit, who are likewise early risers. That's Mother Nature's logic for you. The rabbits feed off the lush, plump greens, the coyotes feed off the lush, plump rabbits. Everybody's happy (well, except a few rabbits). Then toss Ivan into the mix and things get interesting.
Sure enough, five minutes before the end of the walk, Ivan spotted a coyote and took off. Within seconds, I heard it, that high pitched warning chatter the pack makes when danger is near. It went on for what seemed like ages. Then silence. Then Ivan trotting up behind me, tongue lolling, legs limping, face bloody. But he was smiling. This is fun for him.
Ivan's cut up pretty badly around his right eye, but I know the vet can't patch it up so we'll just have to wait it out. He's also got about a half dozen puncture wounds around his neck and haunches. I washed him off best I could, gave him a couple antibiotics I have in store from his last tussle, along with his morning liver treat, and left it at that.
He looks a little pathetic in this photo, but believe me, that's just because I won't give him any of my breakfast. Soon, he'll commence to grooming his feet and then go patrol the property for intruders.
So the lesson for today, courtesy Ivan?
1. Dogs may be canis lupus familiaris, but they're still canis lupus.
2. Despite all our optimistic anthropomorphic urgings, canines remain blissfully free of moral judgment, shouldas, couldas, or wouldas. They can be trained, but they cannot, under any circumstance, be reasoned with.
3. Dog spelled backwards is God. Laughing.