This does not end well

When we took the dogs out for their evening stroll down to Fouche Gap Road on Thursday, Zeke had his alert stance. He was staring intently down the road, but I couldn’t see anything. I tried to snap him out of it, but couldn’t. We were in front of a neighbor’s yard, and as we approached the woods at the edge of their yard, I saw what Zeke was interested in.
zeke and the armadillos

These two young armadillos were rooting around at the edge of the road. They looked about half the weight of an adult armadillo. Zeke went crazy, barking and lunging at them. It was all I could do to keep him from breaking away. At one point I was able to take out my phone and snap the picture. And then he went berserk again.

The armadillos were completely unconcerned with us or with the commotion Zeke was making. They scuttled back and forth at the edge of the road and even approached Zeke. That was a mistake.

Zeke pulled so hard that his collar came unsnapped and he was immediately upon on of the young armadillos.

I have mentioned that my dog Jesse, who I had back in the 1970’s and early ‘80’s, was hell on possums. If she ever got away from me and attacked a possum, I just had to let her go and hope she finished it quickly, because otherwise it would suffer grievous injuries and die slowly later. This was a similar case.

I finally managed to get Zeke back under control, but by that time it was too late for the armadillo.

I thought that the armadillos’ behavior was quite odd. They seemed to have no fear, no flight instinct at all. It makes me wonder how many predators they have if they show no more sense of self preservation than they did.

Zeke, on the other hand, has a good measure of predatory instinct. He was not interested in investigating the armadillo, he got right down to business. This is the kind of behavior that opens a window into the origins of the domestic dog. It was pure, wolfish, killer instinct.

I’m not a fan of armadillos, but I didn’t want to see this.

Friday Felines

Last Sunday evening we noticed that Chloe’s right cheek was swollen.

cheeky cat 2

It’s not easy to see, but if you compare her right cheek with her left cheek you can see the difference.

swollen cheek cat

We aren’t sure what happened to her. Maybe it was a wasp sting. It didn’t seem to bother her, and the swelling had gone down by the next day.

Dogwood problems

The dogwoods on the mountain are not looking too good. Most of the dogwoods on our property are showing leaf wilt. The natives and the transplants are both showing the same problem. As I walk the dogs I have noticed quite a few natives in the woods showing problems as well.

Here is a transplant of a native I found on the property. This one had been growing well. The top third or so of the tree seems to show the most leaf wilt.

transplanted dogwood

The one below is one of the original dogwoods on the property. I posted a picture of its blooms this spring. It has been very healthy for as long as I have been up here, going back to around 1999. Now it’s looking sad. About half of its little children growing nearby are also infected.

native dogwood

Fortunately the two specimens we planted out front don’t seem to be affected, at least yet.

At first I thought it was anthracnose, which has been troubling dogwoods for some time. But when I look for some of the signs I read about online, I am not finding them. I think it might be powdery mildew.

I think our wet spring is to blame for the problem. I don’t think we got an extraordinarily high amount of rain, but we seemed to get rain fairly often.

Dog tired

Thursday evening Zeke wanted to stay outside. We know he can slip out of his collar when he’s motivated, and we know he can climb over the gate we had specially made to keep him on the front, so we always clip him to a lead and close the gate. That keeps him inside. But on Thursday, I clipped his lead to his collar and left the gate open because Leah was coming in. She forgot to close it.

After a while we heard him bark and ran to the door just in time to see him disappear down to the right, towards where the foxes used to live. I put on my shoes and went out just in time to see him run up road to the left. He ignored my call.

When Zeke is running loose he’s kind of like an individual gas molecule — there’s no way to predict where he will be at any given moment. So I gave up looking and went inside. After about an hour, when it was getting dark, I got into the car to look for him. I drove down Wildlife Trail and didn’t see him. Then when I came back up, there he was, sitting in the grass at the side of the road. I opened the back door and called him in.

When he plopped down in the living room, he was puffing like a steam engine.

I put a towel under him to try to catch some of his drool. He panted like this for maybe 15 or 20 minutes.

I guess we’re just going to have to expect him to escape every once in a while, no matter how careful we are. Maybe this tendency will fade as he ages. I know he’ll never learn any better.