I was angrier at Bud and Zinnia today than I have ever been with a dog, and I came close to whacking both of them with a walking stick.
The dogs were outside and I was writing when I heard this loud aroused and persistent barking, a kind I’ve never heard before from either of these dogs. It sounded like they were attacking some kind of animal in the yard.
I grabbed a thin walking stick and rushed out to the back door, I saw Maria running out of her studio and heard her shouting at the dogs in a voice I never heard her use before.
She got out there just ahead of me and what we saw was the Bud and Zinnia had cornered the white hen, who was lying still and Bud was lunging at her throat.
The scene was chaotic, and frankly, horrifying.
Zinnia was barking furiously, she was clearly in a state and neither dog responded to Maria, who was shouting at them to get off the hen.
The white hen suddenly started running, which only cranked the dogs up more.
They weren’t listening to her. I came out roaring like a bear and waving my stick in the air, charging at both, shouting as loud as I could for them to get off of the hen.
I was furious. We don’t kill things here, and they know how we feel about chasing the hens. I charged the dogs and they left the chicken on the ground – she was still again – and Maria scooped her up, and I was so angry I scared myself, dropped the stick, and told the dogs in a quiet voice to lie down.
They all did, even Fate who had nothing to do with any of this. I don’t think they had ever seen me that angry.
Bud and Zinnia knew I was angry, and they sat absolutely still while we carried the hen into her roots. I thought she was dead from fright and shock, but she had just been playing dead.
We put her in the roost, brought her food and water. A half-hour letter, she was awake, no longer panting for breath and pecking at the food. By sunset, she was walking around.
I took Bud and Zinnia and put them in their crates, they were rattled by my anger, and I wanted to cool off. I think Bud was the attacker, Zinnia just excited and cheering him on.
The sight of the hen made me kind of crazy and that is no way to be around dogs, they will just get crazier. I lectured them both: “we don’t do that here.”
But the sight of them pounding on the poor hen really got to me. I am often reminded that dogs are all killing machines, and it is wise to never forget that.
Tonight, Zinnia is lying snoring at my feet again, Bud is snoring outside my door. The hen is asleep in her roost, all is back to normal. For now.
I think they got the message when I took them out later, the hen was moving by the pasture gate and neither one would even look at her.
I’m glad I didn’t poke or whack anybody, that’s as close as I ever came to clobbering a dog with a stick to save a chicken (or for anything else.)