by underswansea


Willow and I had a bit of a run in. We like walking in the bush down river. Today, I was short on time and decided to walk the lakeshore. Willow loves her swim and I wanted to see she got one. While walking the shore – all of a sudden she tightened up and started her bark – twenty feet away was a buck mule deer.

Now here is the thing, town deer are habituated to people and dogs. Deer, bears and just about every other wild creature in the wild wants to get the hell away as fast as they can. I respect that. But town deer are different.

Last year my neighbour’s Cocker Spaniel was stomped to death. I’ve had to shoo (with hockey stick and rocks) plenty of deer away from tourists walking dogs on leashes and women pushing baby carriages.

Willow and I have run into two bears this year. They both went the other direction. Willow and I were both happy with that. That’s a good relationship.

The deer on the lakeshore wasn’t moving. His head was low and he was sizing up my little dog who was starting to act tough. I picked up a stone the size of my fist and tossed it at his rib cage. It was just enough to let him know I meant business. He turned and ran up the bank.

And Willow took chase.

Fuck. . . then I took chase! Willow stopped at the top of the hill. The deer bounced into the bush. Willow was all hackles and bravado. We went back down to the shore. I’d spilled my coffee in all the excitement.

When I came home tonight three deer were beside the garden. Willow and I went out. She was on a leash. She barked and the deer looked towards her unafraid. I told Willow to be quiet and sit. We watched the deer. We could hear their breath and the grass being eaten. Willow barked now and again. I tightened the leash. We watched for nearly an hour. She never took her eyes off them but the leash loosened until I wasn’t holding it anymore. When we went inside I gave her a piece of left over chicken.

I worry about my little dog. I worry about her on heights and on rivers. More than anything, I worry about her with the town deer. She is young with a lot to learn. She is smart enough to not get stomped to learn it.