A year in the life of our Miss Riley


on August 15, 2014

Riley has always put creature comforts ahead of chasing actual prey. She would chase a ball all day long, but deer? She’d start to, then stop to pee, and by the time she was done, the deer would be long gone (Xander was another story, but that’s a story for another time). Squirrels? Not so much. Rabbits? Meh. She once barked — one sonorous woof — at a pileated woodpecker I was trying to photograph (which flew off un-photographed, dammit).

But the groundhog? That’s a different story.

There have always been groundhogs hanging around our property, but several years ago, one especially bold one, whom I named Phred, made his hidey-hole under our sunporch. We learned quickly to make a lot of noise when letting the dogs out, even going out first and making sure the coast was clear so Phred and the dogs would not have a close encounter. Phred brought a mate home, whom I called Ethel, and they raised a litter — I joked that we should have claimed them as dependents on our taxes, since we couldn’t charge them rent. Subsequent generations have moved away from the original porch burrow (which may or may not be because it’s since been repurposed by both a raccoon AND a fox — again, a story for another time), and the latest one tends to stick to the shed at the end of the yard and the woods. But Riley hasn’t forgotten.

Riley has cataracts (which you may have noticed in the photos). I’m not sure how much she sees, but by George, she sure can see that critter. Today was a rare day where the weather was perfect to move my home office onto our sunporch. Riley wandered in and out (I think we need a plusher area rug in there for her comfort), but she instantly went on high alert when the groundhog dared to set paw on the lawn. Hackles up, ears raised, tail wagging in the eagerness of the hunt, and 100% on point to let the groundhog know that this was HER turf.

And when he took off for the woods, she looked at me as if to say, “I’ve still got it.”



One response to “Nemesis

  1. john michel says:

    very vigilant Dog who has a lovely home that she wants to protect too many Groundhogs in the kitchen and property values can sometimes lessen

    Liked by 1 person

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