I live in peace with Nature, as much as I can, and in return, Nature doesn’t promise me a damn thing. Nature is inherently violent with very little consideration, nay, no consideration for the young or the old, the injured or the weak. Nature weeds out those unable to adapt, and does so without compassion or mercy. If you cannot live in the wild then you are already dying once you get there.
Human beings, without the trappings of civilization, will die very quickly in the woods. They can’t go anywhere without boots or other clothes, and they are mostly harmless without weapons. Comparatively speaking, humans are slow animals, and they cannot fly, swim, run, make webs or inject venom. Without guns and things that run on gasoline, we’re pretty much dead as soon as the water runs out, or as soon as the nearest apex predator can spend a few moments alone with us.
When we took wolves and turned them into dogs, some dogs were left with more wolf in them than others. Even dogs like pugs, dachshunds, and Chihuahuas, still have some wolf in there, somewhere, and the fact that we’ve locked a wolf up in the body of a barking rat doesn’t diminish that urge to be a predator.
For many years I made a conscious decision not to get smaller dogs. Lilith Anne pushes the scales over at a respectable sixty-five pounds, and Tyger Linn is a bit over fifty pounds. Yet the new boys on the block, Wrex Wyatt and Budlore Amadeus, both are about thirty-five pounds; very light for Hickory Head Hounds. Chamber Linn, young and foolish, is also light, at about thirty-five pounds. I don’t have the pack I need to keep the Coyotes at bay, and I know it.
So Friday morning I let the dogs out, and they ran into the darkness, which is fine. A few minutes later no one came in for breakfast so I went looking. The time was just before five. I found Bud heading towards the house. Whatever it is, in Bud’s mind, if it isn’t breakfast, he isn’t interested. Bud was abandoned and he’s not missing meals in the name of a damn thing. I got him inside, fed him, and went back out. Wrex showed up as I was walking out. He was secured and fed.
I found both Lilith and Chamber in a cavern dug by the Cousin Canines a year ago. It’s a sizable bunker under the shed, and both surrendered to the idea of going inside without comment. They both were fed and I went out looking for my Problem Child, Tyger Linn.
At the bunker, I could hear Tyger chewing on something hard, like a shell, like an armadillo shell, but I couldn’t see her in the cave. I feared for a second she might be trapped by the sides falling in, but the dirt seemed packed. I went to the rear of the shed and there’s a foxhole the Cousins dug there, I got down on my hands and knees and shined the flashlight deep under the shed. An armadillo had dug a burrow there, apparently, and out of the entrance of the burrow, I saw the hind legs and tail of Tyger Linn sticking out.
Now, I called, threatened, cajoled, and sang her favorite song to her, but Tyger Linn was not coming out. And I wondered if she could. Her back legs were up in the air and her head was pointing downwards, hidden from view of course. After the wettest six months in South Georgia history, the dirt under the shed was a sea of mud. But I had to go in, and I couldn’t take the flashlight because I was going to have to use both hands. I slid on my belly like a snake until I felt a leg, then two legs, and I started to puuuuullllll.
Tyger began making light pitched noises like a pig squealing. WHHHEEEEEEE! WHEEEEEEE! WHEEEEEEEEE! And I could tell she still had something in her mouth. After a minute or so of steady pressure, she released her bladder, because she likely went into the burrow right after I let her out of the house, and she really had to go, and she let go of whatever was in her mouth. Tyger began slipping out of the hole more easily, and as soon as I could, I reached in and slipped a leash around her neck. I thought there was a fair chance Tyger might come out swinging, and if she did, I wanted to have something to hang onto her as I retreated. But Tyger seemed to have enough. She let me pull her all the way out from under the shed, and then she lay on the ground and panted.
Tyger lay there for a while, let me look her over, and other than a skinned place on her back, there were no visible wounds. She allowed me to walk her on the leash around the property, and her right shoulder seemed tender but otherwise, Tyger was unharmed. I took her into the house, got her cleaned up and fed her. I went back outside and piled some fence posts around the entrance to the caves and blocked them.
All in all, I went back in for breakfast and coffee and realized just over an hour had passed since I found Tyger’s striped butt sticking out of a hole. I felt like a day had gone by! But the rain began again, and the dogs all lay down on the porch and snoozed. I went to work and when I came home, there were all still asleep.
Now, several days after, Tyger seems perfectly normal, but she doesn’t want anything to do with burrowing anymore.