This afternoon was the first of which I have really been able to feel, and note, spring’s warm embrace. The sun is shining, the greening grass dancing in a slight breeze. The air is pungent with new growth, moisture, and life. The birds are chirping, neighbor children laughing, and dogs barking. On days like this, I feel as if I could spend my days living on a farm and experience every happiness in the world.
Apparently, Toady (who you know as Koda), feels differently. He enjoys the sun, and the time we spend playing ball in the afternoons. He seeks out shady spots in the yard and dozes and dreams happily and the world passes us by. But, with spring and warmth also come bugs, which Toady views as threats to our existence that must be promptly sought out and exterminated. As crawling enemies are harder to see, he prefers to expunge his energy on the winged missiles that slowly and lazily make their way through the air.
This afternoon, we were enjoying a nice game of catch in the yard. Mylo (who has never understood this game) trotted faithfully behind, stopping to eat some grass here and roll on his back there. Toady and I were fighting over the ball when he stopped suddenly. His muscular body went rigid, his tongue whipped back into his mouth, and his tail pointed towards the sky. I followed his eyes to find a large bumblebee lumbering along about two inches from the ground. I was delighted. I don’t often see those thumb-sized, fuzzy, childhood-memory-inducing bees floating around. I was just smiling to myself, having a wonderfully philosophical moment, when I felt Toady’s coarse hair brush across my arm as he leapt forth. I watched in horror as he bounded towards the unsuspecting bee, and swept his massive paw through the air. The poor bee was thrown to the ground, and landed on its back. I made to grab Toady’s tail but he anticipated my intrusion into his play and casually slipped to the side, out of my reach. I watched in slow motion as the bee righted itself and Toady launched himself forward, front paws together, ready to deal the death blow. I called his name—firstly in fear that he would get stung, secondly because I did not want the bee to be squashed to death—but to no avail. Just as his paws thundered down onto the earth, I saw the bee push itself off of the ground and buzz away into the garden. Toady’s paws met spongy grass and disappointment. He flew across the gap to where the bee had flown, but it must have found a hiding place as he wasn’t able to sniff it out. He spent a good 5 minutes searching for the bee, while I thought about apologizing to it and hoped that it wasn’t injured.
He was determined to seek-out and destroy his crafty prey, but soon became bored. That is, until another buzzing projectile (this in the form of a housefly), made its way into his path. I let him hunt, pounce on, and eat the fly. At least it wasn’t a bumblebee.
There are often times in the spring and summer months when my husband and I will watch Toady streak across the lawn like a ballerina while chasing after insects. He leaps, twirls, hops, skips, lunges at, tears after, and swiftly executes any poor bug that makes its way into our yard. I appreciate his dedication and his skill. I just wish that he could differentiate between helpful and potentially harmful insects, and irritating and harmless ones.
“I just wish that he could differentiate between helpful and potentially harmful insects, and irritating and harmless ones.” My Bernese mountaindog Bach is like that. I fear one day he’ll cut his muzzle when he jumps against the window glass to catch a fly. And I fear he’ll get problems if we really move to the Provence. They got some dangerous insects down there, small scorpions and the like.
Lately he has been chasing after geese that fly over the house, I hope that a goose never decides to take a break in our yard—they can be quite vicious. We don’t have too many dangerous bugs where I live but if we did I would be in trouble.