A little morning death

Yesterday as I was walking Perl, the retractable leash started making funny clicking sounds, and then it quit. Quit retracting that is. Here I was, walking my dog with a fifteen foot line of cable dragging on the ground behind her, occasionally pulled taut when she was far enough away from me. Today I used the short, six foot leash. It was way too close to me. I want my dog to be able to poo with at least a couple of yards between us.

I managed to sleep in until 8:30 or so. Still not long enough considering I went to sleep around 3 am. Blurry eyed and without my contacts, I ventured outside for our morning walk.

We approached a tree in the parking lot area. A squirrel was taunting us from its branches. I made some noises to get it to realize that we were standing there watching it. Perl likes to watch the squirrels. Perl likes to chase the squirrels. Usually I don’t really care about this because I think the squirrels need to be reminded occasionally that they are lower on the food chain. A little bit of a scare never hurt any of them. Until today.

Perl pointed at the squirrel for a moment. I made warning sounds. The squirrel decided to come down the tree anyways. I made more sounds. Perl rushed the tree. The squirrel finally got the hint and ran back up. Then my morning took a turn for the worst. The squirrel, a creature that usually makes gravity defying leaps from roof to tree to power line, did something I wasn’t expecting. The squirrel FELL OUT OF THE TREE!

And where did the squirrel land? In Perl’s mouth. Of course. Now I am about two feet away from my dog and what she thinks is a squeaky toy. Dogs fighting, you pull them apart. How do you get a squirrel out of the jaws of death? It included screaming, swinging my dog around by her harness, and striking her with the leash. She finally let go, but it was too late. The squirrel was dead and its mate was chattering in the tree, cursing us.

Perl sat two feet on one side of me while the squirrel wriggled its way to squirrel heaven two feet away on my other side. Guilt consumed me. Guilt consumed Perl. Head down, tail between her legs, ears pinned back, she cowered before me. She knows I am angry. Very angry.

The rest of the walk, she never pulled on the leash. She never stopped to sniff a bush for a second too long. Her tail never got above a half hearted wag when we saw other people. She stopped and sat at the curb without me saying a word. She looked once at a squirrel, then remembered me, and turned her head. When I unleashed her in the apartment, she went directly to her imaginary kennel. She is still there right now. She attempted to wag her tail as an apology, and I didn’t go to her or speak to her. She came out once to see that I am on the computer and then retreated. I am still angry. Not necessarily at her, but at myself for having let her get that close. The world must be upside down today. Since when do squirrels fall out of trees?

Now the corpse is lying dead in the parking lot. People will probably assume that it got hit by a car, since no one will care enough to do an autopsy or even look closely enough to see bite marks. At least that is what I hope happens. Otherwise, the dog police might show up at my door and take my dog away from me. And no matter how angry I am right now, she is still a dog, and she is still my dog, and I will forgive her. But not until I’ve slept for a few more hours.

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