I havent been so good lately about hauling myself out of bed to properly walk the dogs before work. So, this morning I figured I’d get out of my rut and take a stroll down to the cove for some blowing off steam time. I have been avoiding the cove, a dual result of Pierre’s-Adventure-in-the-Trash-Cave, combined with Forest’s tendency to scale the cliffs to run off to the big beach. But, it had been so long and Forest has been so good in general I figured we may be on the safe side. Heh.
We got down to the cove, and true to form, it was covered—I mean literally “littered” in the truest sense of the word—with crap. It put me in a foul mood, so I unleashed the dogs and started picking up shit. My haul included 2 sweatshirts, 2 and a half pairs of sandals, rolling papers, a huge 40 oz can of some horrific looking energy drink, a beer bottle, multiple styrofoam food containers, and more. I barely made a dent, just got some of the bigger more obvious items. I was keeping an eye on the dogs at the same time, making sure Forest didn’t head back toward the stairs. As I wandered over to pick up 2 stray kiddie shovels, he zipped around and behind me up the stairs. True to form, I did not keep my composure. I was already in a pissy mood, so the instant he heard my blood curdling “Foooooooreeeessst!!!!!!!”, that sealed the deal—he was off towards big beach and the spoils in that direction.
I have learned, at least, not to chase. Chasing gets me nowhere and Forest is unofficially the fastest little rat bastard in coastal Orange County. So, Diego and I saunter along behind him, trying to keep him in sight. He does stop every so often, 100 yards ahead of me, to scan the horizon for us and make sure we are still following. I have also learned that he truly doesn’t want to leave me altogether. The lure of exploration is just too great to resist, but he wants to do it with me still in the vicinity.
At this point he is blasting around on big beach, flushing pigeons and hunting for scraps. Diego and I start our large arc around his path, trying to keep him relatively contained to one side of the beach. I of course, am fuming. I am considering at this point whether once caught I will calmly collect him and politely walk him home (the correct choice), or I will grab him by the scruff, scream obscenities, then pull him home by his tail (umm, yeah). At this point, something catches our collective eye. It is a pigeon (rat of the skies), whose wings are trapped inside of the loop of a plastic bag. He can fly, sort of, but is trailing the bag and cant get his wings fully open. Forest sees this and takes off after him in delight.
While Forest has a very strong chase drive, I am pretty sure that he doesnt really know how to kill anything (other than bugs, and even those he isnt very efficient with). As his levels of prey drive race through my mind, I seize the opportunity to get closer. He is chasing the bird, and I am stalking him. Diego thinks this is the most spectacular game ever. I finally get close and the bird lands to catch his breath. Forest looks at me and comes over. Good dog. (We will not discuss whether or not I made the right choice once catching him. I’ll leave that one up to your imagination.) Leash is clipped on.
Now, dog caught, but we still have the pigeon problem. I honestly hate pigeons, they are just gross. I really dont like birds much in general, however, this was just sad. So, off we went, following the damn bird around the beach, him half-flying away from us, Forest straining at the leash, choking and foaming, trying to get him, Diego trailing behind and staying out of the fray (thank god). I quickly realized this wasnt the best set up. Yet, I also realized that Forest would be able to catch this thing way before I could. So, I quickly devised a win-win for all involved. We waited for the pigeon to come down to rest about 100 feet away from us. I pointed Forest at the bird, screamed “GO GET HIM!!!!” and let go of the leash. (I know, I am insane, right? Sometimes, I have good instincts.)
He chased that thing down in less than 15 seconds, scrambling after it, finally jumping on the bag. He got it down and put his mouth on the bird as I ran towards them. I wanted him to hold it long enough for me to get there, without maiming it. I yelled “Leave it!!” when I saw him start mouthing it, and miracle of miracles, he did. I somehow got there, and he backed right off. I held the bird and gently pulled the bag off of his wings. I was slightly grossed out, so didnt give him a thorough once over, but he didnt seem punctured or bloody. A few feathers missing but that seemed to be it from my 3 second analysis. So, I just let him go and he flew off. I had to immediately grab Forest’s leash so he didnt go after him again, and didnt get the best view of where the bird went, but he disappeared so at least I figured he was in a better state than when we found him.
So. That was our little incident that started badly then veered bizarrely into a victory. I find it very interesting that when we began working together instead of battling each other, suddenly he listened and everything fell into place. Or maybe it was that I stopped paying attention to my emotions, and instead was focused on action, so made better decisions. Or maybe my little turd of a dog and I just know each other too well. He drives me insane, but things like that make me just love him even more.