Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chipmunks can fly?

     It has always been my good fortune to rescue the quirkiest dogs.  Our newest four legged child, Sebastian, is no exception.
     The first few weeks proved difficult, but finally he humbly agreed to assimilate into our family and immediately elected himself emperor.  Besides his all too frequent escapes, our biggest problem with him is his ADHD (attention deficient, hyperactive dog).  With each request to go potty, the imagined possibility of seeing/smelling another of the neighborhood dogs, frequently distracts him to the point he forgets the reason he asked to go out.
     All winter long, we dealt with his wishful quest for friends, and thankfully occasionally some of the neighbors’ kids would come to visit.  Angel is a regular; Chance, the boxer who lives above us, comes by to say hello, but our friend White Dog has been inexplicably corralled by his humans.  (I heard rumors of fights and murdered chickens, but I don’t know.)  Sebastian, thanks to his escape talents, has also met a number of other doggies up and down the mountainside.  He is always expecting that someone will be in the yard visiting.
     As spring sprang, the trees leafed, the songbirds filled the air, and our resident population of wasps and chipmunks appeared.  At least as far as Sebastian goes, wasps and chipmunks have a distinct similarity; both are among the best toys a dog could have.
     I have no idea where or when he learned it, but my Little Bubba has a comical technique to catch and play with wasps.  He crouches and crawls and sneaks up within striking distance of his prey and with a feline-like pounce snaps the wasp in midair.  He knows they sting, so as soon as he gets one, with a flick of the head, he throws it down on the ground.  He’ll stand over it as it collects its wits (and to be sure the stinger is not pointed in a dangerous direction), and then with another snatch and flick, he throws the wasp around until it manages to escape or just stops playing and lays there.  He does get stung quite often, but that does not deter him from playing the game.
     Chipmunks are a much more daunting challenge for him.  He sees them in the yard eating the seeds meant for our avian tenants, but he has yet to master a successful technique that would enable him to capture one of the elusive playmates. 
     We are all familiar with chipmunks, but Sebastian recently taught me something new; chipmunks can fly.
     There is a wall of stacked rocks on the side of the driveway behind where my Earthbox garden is.  The other day as he exited the garage on a requested potty run, his sudden leap was an obvious sign that something had been spotted over by the garden.
     Potty?  What potty?  We have got to find where that toy went.  After a general survey, Sebastian began a systematic, nook-by-nook search of the rocks.  He stuck his little brown nose deep into every hole and cranny searching for his would-be new best friend.  At about the twentieth fissure, long after he had lost my interest, he stuck his snout in and a chipmunk flew out.  It was a good two-and-a-half feet off the ground and the flight spanned about four feet of open space ending in some dense shrubbery.
     If Sebastian had not been off-balance, stretched tall to explore the higher hiding spots, I am sure he could have caught Alvin in mid-flight. But the chipmunk made it to safety and left my dog to ponder how much more fun these friends could be now that he knows that they, like wasps, can fly.

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