(02/28/2019)

Lefty Lucy, a dog to be reckoned with

Margaret Smith Volkwein 2010

I awoke one morning with the sound of a danger bark. My dog had something alarming in the garden. It sounded like the bark she used for a snake. Looking out the window, I saw a deer, a big fawn, maybe 80 pounds.

The dog barked an alarm and made a little run at the deer, head down and sounding serious. The deer went after the dog, butting her with its hard head and slashing with its sharp front hooves. She gave a little yip and I went out to back up my dog.

I grabbed a pitchfork and stood my ground as the battle rolled towards me. I braced myself and poked the deer in the shoulder to get it off my dog, who was snarling and barking.

I saw that its tail had been bitten off, leaving a skeleton tail. It's hind leg was broken, and it had torn marks on its back and rear end.

Coyote marks.

It fought on, maddened by pain and the dog's nagging barks.

I poked it again and it turned to me. With a toss of its head, it shoved the pitchfork aside. Slamming me with a devastating head butt, it knocked me flat.

I hit my head on a rock as I went down. I hollered with pain and then hollered for help. My husband came around the corner just as the dog went berserk.

She roared with rage and bit hard on the deer, leg, foreleg, rear, nose, snarling and growling savagely.

She grabbed the deer by the hind leg and dragged it off of me. It turned tail and vanished, the dog in pursuit, both at a dead run, down the bank, across the road, down the steep bank to the river.

I heard two splashes and then the dog bayed. I tracked them down by the deep loud barks. I looked down over the bank, still holding my pitchfork in case I had to do any more hand-to-hand combat.

There was the deer, facing the dog, both in water up to the belly. It ran at her, still wanting to attack. She gave ground and came in to flank it, growling and baying.

The West Fork valley echoed the dog's bay. The injured deer swam to a grassy island and headed up stream, running and swimming. I called the dog, but she chased the deer, swimming and leaping upstream and around the bend.

Then there was silence.

I walked up and crossed the low water crossing. No dog.

We stood and listened but there was no dog or deer sounds. We walked back to the house along the road, me with a pitchfork and my husband with a hammer. "All we need are a couple of torches to look like an angry mob," he said.

I rang the dinner bell, but no dog. Half an hour later, she showed up, wet and tired. No blood on her muzzle, which meant she hadn't killed the deer. No wounds on her.

She looked at me apologetically and wagged just the tip of her tail, telling me she was sorry and embarrassed not to have caught the deer.

I gave her a steak and petted her a lot.

She spent the rest of the day staring at me through the patio door, watching me walk back and forth, dog muzzle on her outstretched paws as she lay, waiting for the deer.

"Better wash that hoof print off your face," my husband said.

Lucy on the trail of another adventure
with back-up following close behind


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