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A Little Hunting Story

January 27, 2007 | By | No Comments

I thought this might be a good opportunity to tell a little story about our two dogs…

Last fall, my wife, Patty and I were enjoying a nice Sunday morning. Fall is without a doubt my favorite time of the year. The cool air is invigorating as we finish up all of the pre-winter work around the house and yard. But the best part of Fall is spending Sunday mornings with my wife. We get to relax, have some coffee, read the paper and kinda talk about what we want to do during the day. After a long and tiring work week, Sunday mornings are truly a precious gift to be treasured and savored.

Well, Patty and I have two German Shepherds named Indie and Bear.  Lately, they have become rather successful hunters in their domain, otherwise known as our yard. Usually they just hunt squirrels, but they’ve also managed to catch a rabbit or two. It sorta goes badly for the prey after that. Patty and I never signed-on for having hunting dogs, but nonetheless, we’ve got ‘em.

Patty and I have been married for a little more than a year. I’ve never been happier, and like any modern-thinking progressive Midwestern couple, we share most of the household duties. There are, however, some jobs that only I can do. Now, before you get all “Gloria Steinem” on me, please be advised that several of “Chris’ Duties” were actually suggested by Patty. In other words, carcass removal and disposal is my job, just like snowblower maintenance and bookmaking, er um, book-keeping.

To properly and quickly clean up a dead squirrel requires two shovels, a bucket and a small plastic bag. You place the bag in the bucket, use one shovel to oh-so-carefully nudge the squirrel onto the other shovel, and then dump the squirrel in the bag. You then tie up the bag and dispose of it in an appropriate trash receptacle. No fuss, no muss (whatever the hell that means.)

Well, on a recent crisp Minnesota Fall morning, Indie & Bear cornered an unfortunate squirrel and Bear dealt it a fatal blow. It just so happens, Patty and I witnessed the whole thing while looking out our front door. Kinda put me off my Toaster Struedel. I quickly put down my coffee and I whipped open the door and while surely appearing very menacing in my slippers, sweat pants and novelty Simpsons T-shirt, I yelled at Bear, “Drop it! Put it down!” Being the well-trained dog he is, Bear dropped the squirrel, which lay still on the ground. I called for our two urchins to get in the house, which they reluctantly did.

After about 15 minutes, I donned attire more appropriate to working in a suburban yard on a Sunday morning. I had my carcass-gathering supplies and walked up to the dead squirrel. One problem: the squirrel wasn’t quite dead. Oh, it was dying and was not going to survive, but it was still alive. I immediately thought, “Oh, jeez.” I’ve never actually faced a situation like this before, and I didn’t want to ponder it too much. I knew I had to be a man; I had to do the right, albeit unpleasant thing. I needed to put this creature out of its misery. Luckily, years of watching TV and the occasional Quentin Tarentino film have given me an acceptable amount of de-sensitization. I carefully lifted the shovel over my head and took a deep breath…

I have to stop here for minute. While I was out in the yard, Patty was on the phone with her friend, Tami. They were talking about Tami’s new puppy and having a pleasant conversation. Patty commented to Tami that it was too dark in the living room and that she was going to open the drapes. Patty opened the drapes to a beautiful Minnesota morning. She also saw her husband standing over the squirrel with a shovel over his head…

As I firmly brought the shovel down on the squirrel, I thought I heard a muffled noise coming from the house. I turned to see my beautiful wife looking at me with what I believe would be described as “abject horror.” I learned later that Tami suffered no permanent hearing loss from Patty’s sudden scream into the phone. I was glad to hear that; Tami is good people.

After I disposed of the squirrel, I came into the house to greet my slightly horrified wife. Needless to say, “carcass removal” is going to be “my job” for a long time.

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