Thursday, May 26, 2011

Up the Tree (First Contact continued)

Our street ends on the North with a country road. As my friends who’ve visited here have noted, “You really do live at the edge of town.” It is on this edge that my dog, Lucy, and I frequently walk.
Because she runs along the hedgerow with her nose to the ground, we often stir up rabbits, quail, squirrels, stray cats, and some unpleasant critters. Only a few nights had passed since we’d
made “First Contact” with the new cat in town when “Lucy the flying goose” as we sometimes call her, disturbed a cat hiding in the hedgerow and caused quite a ruckus in the neighborhood. Molly the blond lab, Finn the golden retriever, Zoe and Gracie the pound puppies across the street often send out the word that Lucy’s on the run. Their barks cry, “Go Lucy Go. We’re your cheerleaders, wish we could be your backup J.
It was an ever so slight rustle in the bushes then suddenly, the chase was on. I’ve noticed that dogs
Cat is one jump higher on left.

bark with zeal as they chase, but cats reserve their energy for the climb or confrontation. This time the black cat found an old cottonwood with a low outstretched arm. With the grace of a sprinter the cat clawed its way up the tree and then stopped. At another “Y” branching limb with room to perch the cat turned to face the barking chaser.
One heart beat behind Lucy raced, while I jumped and ran with the grace of a cow. Lucy reached the tree barking, then circled it twice giving herself time to create a strategy. I stood a bush away watching and waiting to see how long Lucy would circle and bark. The black cat blended in quite well with the spring branches and leaves. The story might have ended here had the cat not risen on it’s legs, arched it’s back, and hissed.

The challenge was too great for Lucy to ignore. She leaped like a fox straight up into the first fork of the heavily barked old tree. From her new vantage point she could see the

cat. Forgetting that she was a dog she climbed that ‘Y’ shaped branch. Then like the cat a few nights before, she slid back down.
By now the corner neighbor ventured out to see what the commotion was about. “Well, I never seen a dog climb a tree like that,” he laughed. Over and over Lucy climbed, slid, fell to the ground and started again. The cat now in a perched position continued hissing tease and seemed to watch the show with glee.
My mind flashed back to a scene from Where the Red Fern Grows when the boy tried to call off his dog from the treed raccoon. I saw that determined look on Lucy and at last walked over to her. “That’s all girl. Let’s go. You did really well. I’m safe.”
Game is over.
She stopped barking. I put the lease on her collar. This time Lucy walked off with her tail wagging, leaving the cat to watch her swagger.

1 comment:

  1. Apparently Lucy is a “closet” tree hugger….funny to see the pictures of her climbing the tree!