Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Meditation on Scottish Deerhounds

My wife and I got most of our two Scottish Deerhounds, Mary Lincoln and Merry Andrew, from a friend in Auburn. Scottish Deerhounds are keen of eye, fleet of foot, and possess the uncanny ability to gratify their desires while they ignore yours and all the while make you love them for it. What would be graceless intractability in any other dog becomes charming eccentricity in a Scottish Deerhound.

Scottish Deerhounds are a large breed of sight hound. Imagine an eighty pound Greyhound with grey, shaggy, wiry hair. Alternatively, imagine an Irish Wolfhound who is a hundred pounds lighter and doesn't take the world so seriously.

Since the woman who gave us our dogs breeds deerhounds, she must also show them. This involves some travel. Deerhounds like to lay down and nap. Next to running, sleeping is their favorite sport and they might indulge themselves twenty hours a day. Even more if the weather is bad. And when they nap, they like to maximize the floor space they take up. That instinct lies deep within their DNA. Since it doesn't take very many horizontal deerhounds to overflow a Camry, it follows that any deerhound transporter needs a larger vehicle. At least an RV, if not a U-Haul.

Our friend and her dogs were in Southern California and stopped for the evening at a dairy farm. She let two dogs out. They saw a coyote in the distance and immediately gave chase. Silently. They don't bay like beagles.

The coyote saw two large, hairy beasts coming at him and took off. Deerhounds can cruise at 30 mph and the coyote had no chance. But he gave it his best shot. He juked and jived, zigged and zagged, cut left, cut right, and flat flew as fast as he could. But no matter what he did, the deerhounds got closer and closer. Finally he thought to himself, “Nuts, you guys win. Kill me now.” And he rolled over onto his back and submitted.

The deerhounds tagged him with their noses and went off looking for something else to chase. The coyote was left sniffing his arm pits and wondering if there was something wrong with his deodorant.

That was all good entertaining for everyone, but sometimes a deerhound's activities can be an embarrassment. It was spring in Northern California, near Easter. Our friend was en route to or from somewhere and decided to give the dogs a break at a well known restaurant, rest stop, restroom, shady place and picnic area. The parking lot was filled. The grounds were oozed with families, men, women, children, chihuahuas, Charley's Aunt, they were all there.

The deerhounds got out of the RV, sighted a rabbit, and they were off. Their owner tried to call them off, but good luck with that. Calling deerhounds off a target will exercise your vocal cords and raise your frustration level, but that's all.

Soon the dogs returned, one of them proudly dangling a dead rabbit from his mouth. The performance was witnessed by shocked mothers and crying children. Our friend retrieved the rabbit and said, “I'd better take him to the vet.” Then she and her dogs hopped into their vehicle and drove away. Expeditiously, I might add.

Understandable. What was she going to say to a bunch of kids who just watched her dogs kill the Easter Bunny? “Sorry, kids, no eggs for you this year.” Or how about, “Eggs are bad for your cholesterol.”

Our friend and her dogs proceeded down the road leaving some very upset people behind. She was lucky. I understand they lynch people in some states when their dogs kill the Easter Bunny.

Copyright Ken Harris 2009

1 comment:

NorCal Cazadora said...

That's awesome - LOVE the bunny story.

And I was really wondering what was goign to happen to that 'yote too - I know a lot of cattle ranchers who'd love to have 'yote-killing dogs...