Bird Breath

A Blog for the Other Dog:

I was holding someone’s backpack, a granola bar wrapper, keys, phone, and one pink boot. It was all a bit awkward to hold, but I was trying to maintain a clean car (Ha!). Tater waited for me patiently behind the gate with a slow pant and even slower wagging tail. The last girl swung the gate too wide. “I got it for you, Mama!” she said proudly. Faster than I could pull the gate to, our other dog streaked by. She ran so fast out the gate that all I saw was a little black and white fur. Ugh, I thought as I made my way to drop all the things I was holding inside the door.


She’s our other dog. We got her for the girls for Christmas a few years ago. She’s a young and energetic Jack Russell Terrier. A real go-getter.

We have found a whole list of other names we could have chosen based on her daily activities. Here’s a few: Hunter, Spot, Chewy, Greedy, Hungry, Food-addict, Varmint-killer, Toad-alicious, Mole-er. Don’t fret. Tater was a mean mole catcher in her hey-day, and sometimes she will give it a go. Mostly, she’s content to let Dot do the hunting for both of them. Dot has caught a lot of moles, but her life dream seems to be catching a squirrel. It hasn’t happened yet. Those squirrels have a lot of fun with her though. During toad season, she just can’t help herself. Yes, there is poison on them. Dot seems to think a little asthmatic breathing is worth a toad meal.

Dot also has some other endearing behaviors. She never barks at the door when she wants inside. She just leans her whole side against the sliding glass door and looks pleadingly at you. Also, she rips all the stuffing out of any dog bed you give her. Just learn from my mistakes, okay? Don’t give her anything with stuffing. She can sleep just fine in her crate with a blanket. A blanket with no filling.

Ah, but she will patiently let Daughter #3 lead her around on a leash for a very long time. Plus, when she cuddles, she leans her whole weight on you. If you scratch her back, she doesn’t move her leg like normal dogs. She points her nose up to the sky. We just ask her now which way is North when we plan on giving her a good scratch. Sometimes she growls in pleasure while scratching her back on the underside of the coffee table.

I walk out into the driveway and scan the road. No Dot to be seen. I call for her for a while, and then I go in to check on kids. I know my children eat at school, but this is not apparent when they arrive home. They like their snack.

I go back out and call Dot again. This time I see her running home with a  large, twitching black bird in her jaws. I open the gate reluctantly. I know she is bringing it to me. She comes right at me. I can’t help but let out a little-girl scream and jump. Wimpy, right? Now all the girls are outside, and Dot is prancing around the yard with her victim. Finally she drops it and lays down beside it. She looks at me with triumph in her eyes. She is confused that no one seems very happy. We gather around her in a semi-circle. The bird’s eyes are moving around. The girls are sad.

“Alright,” I said with no plan whatsoever. I mention something to the kids about how this dog’s breed is a hunting breed and this is all part of her natural instincts. I know they are wishing she would just finish it. I move a little closer and Dot takes the bird off and completes her mission. My girls are sad for the bird. I’m not saying it out loud, but I am a little impressed with my dog. I mean, that was a big black bird!

I text a photo to my husband saying, “Look what your dog caught.”

He answers, “Cool! Now she is going to be really focused.”

What???? I think. No, now she is going to have bird breath.

“Okay, folks, I’m going to make dinner,” I say and go inside.  I put the taco soup together, and I peek outside. The kids are swinging and playing, bird forgotten for now.

Then I look around the entire yard and spot some white fur in the corner of the yard chewing on something black….maybe not forgotten by everyone. 🙂 Ew.


6 thoughts on “Bird Breath

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