The other day my dogs went hunting. They chased an adolescent deer all over 2 and a half acres of our yard. They cornered it over and over. Each time it fled, sometimes jumping over them. I took photos and movies I wonder if I can add a video on this post? (NOT)
It was alarming because I was nearly helpless. Having come home from work early, I was planning to go to the market. So it was logical to let the dogs out first for a romp. My first indication that there was trouble came with the high pitched “hunting” howl that my 10 lb dachshund Sisi uses when hunting animals. I heard it and worried right away that she was on the hunt. I knew she would not be happy until some small animal was dead.
For a few minutes, I did nothing about it, just went back inside and sorted mail and took my extensive list of vitamins. Then in a few more minutes looked out of the door. Its floor to ceiling glass panes gave me a clear view of the yard -no dogs
I felt I had better see what they were up to, out there. When I opened that door and stepped out onto the flagstone terrace, I could hear that high pitched cry of little Sisi. Her distinctive hunting voice is hard on the ears; high pitched does not even come close to describing the decibel strength of her voice. She was clearly moving fast. I stepped out into the grass beyond the terrace, walked to the gateway separating the two sides. The brick wall divides the two halves of the yard. Covered with vines and climbing roses, it is a visual barrier and focal point. On top, at intervals, sit urns full of geraniums. The wrought iron gate is open all the time, but it makes a barrier even so. A muted turquoise paint coats the wrought iron, wide spaces in between the struts allow a good view. I walked through carefully, looking around to see if there might be more to see than just flowers. Then I saw them! Down near the pool, the little reddish short hair dachshund bitch, my larger black and tan long-haired boy, Magnus hunting. A young deer still marked with the white spots of a fawn though he was clearly not a baby any longer ran before them. When I called to the dogs, they faltered and the deer ran directly in my direction until it was nearly upon me. Then, seeing me, it wheeled around and went back the way it had come jumping over the dogs who were confused by the change in direction. I got the whole thing on my camera. Quite a movie it is but my lack of skill does not allow me to post it.
The dogs followed after the fawn, relentlessly. I could not stop them. The chase continued, back and forth for several minutes. It was HOT! Humid and well over 90 degrees the sun beat down as it does in Washington DC in midsummer. Finally, the deer and pack of two dogs came back a different way but still in my direction. When the small dachshund got just past me, she more or less collapsed on the ground panting. I scooped her up and took her in the house. I left Magnus outside because there was no way I could carry both of them. I knew he was not as overheated as Sisi. So I brought her into the house. She almost threw herself on the ground next to a water dish and began lapping up water from the bowl, at a rapid rate. She was dehydrated and exhausted. After she drank her fill, I took her and held her in the pantry sink, running a shower of cool water over her body. She was so hot when I began. Later, I could feel the temperature dropping after the water had been pouring over her for a few minutes. Then I dried her off. She seemed cooler and calmer.
I left her in the house and went outside where I could see the deer standing stock still near the fish pond. I wondered why he did not drink from it. When I got to the other side of the wall, the answer was clear. Magnus was in a standoff with the deer. He and the fawn both staring at each other and each refusing to budge. I was finally able to chase Magnus towards the house and ultimately to catch him. And I drove him with words to the door, opened it and shoved him inside. The deer followed us. And he stood beside to the trunk of the ancient oak tree still standing in the center of the yard. I was tempted to give him water, but I knew he could drink either from the fish pond or the pool. So I fought my wish to help him. I just wanted him to leave my yard. Living in Washington, D. C. must be hard for deer. On the other hand, there are extensive parks in which to hide. They crisscross the city and can support a lot of wildlife.
I did not let the dogs out again that night. Somehow they both held themselves in and did not soil my rugs even though they did not get to go out before bed. When we came downstairs the next morning, there was no deer to be found. I hope his mother came back to rescue him. I hope she joined him in an escape from our yard. All is well that ends well.
Copyright. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson