Friday, July 1, 2011
Born to Stalk
When the squirrels gathered enough courage and the intruder was deemed a non-threat, they would wander down from their position above to meander a few feet before being passionately chased back to where they belong. Safe from the reach of Erin below the irritated fur toys taunted her with continuous chirps and bushy tails that twitch in alarm, they often glare downward just out of her reach and the combatants stared each other down with neither side refusing to blink. Unbeknown to the squirrels was Erin's patience and dedication to the art of stalking; time and time again they would scurry down only to be pursued back up the tree in a seemingly endless game. She would scamper back to my side when called thus I stroked her and offered encouragement as her entire body would sometimes shake from anticipation of the impending chase. This game of pursuit would continue until the frustrated squirrel realized it had no chance at foraging without harassment thus it disappeared into the tree canopy or it would be spotted leaping to other trees in hopes of locating better feeding opportunities away from Erin.
This instinct passed down from many generations of Springer Spaniels pursuing game around the globe was impossible to contain and the thought never crossed my mind as Erin's passion and enthusiasm were on full display for all to see. A broad smile, rapidly wagging tail, and unbridled happiness were her trademarks of squirrel stalking and it brought me great joy to witness her interactions with nature; remembering those moments bring a smile to my face as they were special times indeed. Tourists often stopped in their tracks to observe Erin patrolling the squares, they found it so entertaining to watch the lovable dog sprint off in the direction of a squirrel, then promptly return when called. Many took photos as she assumed the poise of a statue, motionless she stood oblivious to the crowd gawking and rooting for her; everyone awaited the moment when she decided the squirrel was close enough to pursue and with the hopes of the onlookers she dashed off. The onlookers expressed wonderment at the chase as if they were witnessing a lion pursue a impala on the African plains; as a disclaimer no squirrel was ever harmed during the process of entertaining the tourists :)
Erin's toothy smile never disappeared even as the years rolled by and to watch a squirrel overhead remained a true passion until the very end of her life. We had so many joyful times amongst nature, just the two of us enjoying each others company while the world passed us by but that's the way we wanted it.. During our final moments together, tearfully I told her that she wasn't supposed to get sick as there were more squirrels for us to watch together; there was little Erin enjoyed more than being at my side gazing into the treetops and I'll always cherish those days spent together. I'm hoping Doggie Heaven has an endless amount of squirrels for her to chase and countless trees to lounge under as she awaits my arrival in that magical place. Together again we will lay in the lush grass of paradise where for an eternity we'll look upward as we did for so many days on earth and all will be heavenly...