pets, part 2

The following post is by MYRLN, a non-blogger who is Kalilily Time’s guest writer every Monday.
PETS (2)
Many years after the Gordon Setter, a Labrador/Collie mix in a coat of shiny black fur came along. He was christened Biscuit as a tribute to the long-ago dog originally so-named. This one shared with his namesake an insistence that people, above all, were friends to be cultivated. He like to achieve that by bumping standing legs or seeking to be a lapdog on sitting legs, ignoring the fact that his size and weight precluded that approach even with a willing human.
This Biscuit’s hunting prowess was restricted to following scents over the entirety of his hillside property and occasionally listening intently in the direction of the woods on the rest of the hill behind the house. Such listening saved him the effort of a steep climb. Overall, the notion of capturing anything other than a good belly rub or ear scratching from his human companions always seemed of no real interest.
But in deep winter, this Biscuit excelled. No, he had no ability to shovel a path or help clear the steep and rutted dirt driveway, but he loved being out with anyone charged with those tasks. And the deeper the snow, the higher the drifts, the more he enjoyed it. For it was then that he, in effect, morphed from dog to something best described as a 4-legged arctic seal.
Yes, seal.
Turned loose in the frigid environment, he began his usual scent-searching. But on the snow’s surface, he clearly had even less luck than usual. Then every so often, he stopped sniffing and stood as if listening, and then in a flash, thrust himself head-first into the snow. He didn’t dig into it. He dove and kept pushing with his legs until, often, half his body penetrated the drift, and he stayed down in it a bit, twisting side to side. Then, snow-coated, he’d withdraw, snuffle loudly or sneeze his nose clear of snow, move a short distance away and repeat the thrusting dive. From a distance, he indeed resembled a seal (save for the waving tail) surfacing then plunging into the sea, albeit a frozen one.
As with his non-snow hunts, he caught nothing. But then again, he never at any time seemed to want to. There was plenty of game around — field mice, moles, squirrels, rabbits — but for him, the fun was in the search, and the diving, not the capture. But in the deep snow? What was he thinking? Then years later, long after he was gone, a t.v. documentary showed how, in winter, wolves hunted: by thrusting themselves headfirst into the deep snow, just as “Seal” Biscuit had. The wolves could hear and feel movement at the point where snow and earth met. There they would dive.
Must have been a genetically ancient memory Biscuit obeyed. But he might have starved had his human family not fed him well.
Or maybe he understood that point all along and knew self-preserving capture was irrelevant. Again, it was the fun of the diving that mattered, particularly when his human family laughed and praised his antics.
Good dog, Biscuit, good dog.


Biscuit 2 and friend, 1968

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