Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Microstory 1713: Trapper and Dash

We are the hunting dogs, Trapper and Dash. While Boots is off wrangling his cows, we’re busy sniffing out prey. We catch our kill, and put food on the table. We’re not saying Boots doesn’t provide, or doesn’t have an important job, but let’s face it, those cows are dumber than a fallen branch. A really good fence could keep them in line. Hunting, on the other hand, takes real skill. You have to be quick, not just loud and frightening. You have to be able to keep up with your prey, and sometimes wear them out. Most dogs have specialties, but we hunt for everything. Quail, duck, deer. We don’t go after foxes, though, even though Dash is a foxhound. Humans don’t eat fox, apparently, so they have no use for it. We can’t quite relate to that, seeing as we instinctively go after anything that moves, and isn’t also a dog. We suppose foxes are dogs in their own way. Perhaps that’s why our humans don’t like their meat. We certainly wouldn’t want them eating us! We do eat raccoons, Trapper is a coonhound. Anyway, a few minutes ago, Boots caught the scene of a bobcat. We don’t hunt them either most of the time, because the humans also have pet cats. I’m starting to see a pattern here. Or is it just too dangerous to them. This one’s different. It tried to go after poor Moonica, so we’ve been dispatched to take care of it. That bobcat knows where it can find food now, so if we don’t put an end to its life, it’ll come back later. Boots and our parents can’t watch over the cows all the time. We consider it our sacred duty to perform the tasks that they can’t stomach. We were bred for the kill, and we can handle any obstacle that gets in our way.

We can hear our parents following behind us, but they’re giving us the room we need to find the scent. This bobcat is smart; it knows how to hide itself pretty well. It’s not perfect, though, and it’s not undetectable. We move every which way until Trapper finally thinks he knows the exact right direction to go, and then we follow it. Once we’re close enough, we can sense it getting farther away. It knows we’re in pursuit, and it doesn’t want to run into us again. No, it’s not getting off that easy. Nothing will stop us from protecting our family, and our ranch. We keep going, moving faster and faster. The scent grows stronger, and we know we’re close. Pretty soon, we can tell that we’re nearly upon it. We make it over one more ridge, and there it is, crouched in its den. We don’t know if it thinks it’s safe from us there, but it’s not. We stop running, and we transform our barks into growls. We approach cautiously, but menacingly. That is when we see it. The bobcat isn’t just crouching to protect itself, it’s protecting a litter of kittens. We stop immediately, and back off. Can we just let this go? If she has a litter, that’s even more reason for her to come back to our ranch and try to attack our cows. We can’t just walk away and hope for the best. We can’t kill her, though, and we certainly can’t kill her babies—which, in this case, would be the same thing. Since they’re cats, we don’t speak the same language, but a few things do translate. We go back to barking, intermixing the growls as needed. We have to get the mother to understand that we mean business, and that her business is staying as far from our property as she can possibly be. She can go harass Old Man Larrison’s animals on his farm. He doesn’t take care of his livestock, or his pets, so they probably kind of deserve it. When we think the bobcat has gotten the message, we break away, and head back towards home.

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