Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mystie and the Bird

Our younger Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Mystie, has a wonderfully unusual personality.

I’ve been owned by Cavaliers forever and adore every one of them, with all their quirks. Mystie’s quirks just happen to be way different from any others I’ve had in the family.

We call her the nutcase, since she likes to chase sunbeams and reflections. It’s not just chasing laser beams or flashlights, although she does that, too--and starts talking to us if she even just sees a flashlight. She lies in the sunny spots on the floor that enter from our skylight. She talks to us about reflections from the skylight that shine and move on our high ceiling. She observes as I walk past an area in the house where the sun is shining, just in case I’m wearing a watch and its reflection shines against the wall. She also creates her own reflections by licking walls and the tile floor.

Mystie is additionally a bird dog. Well, she is a spaniel, but Cavaliers were bred from the first to be lap dogs, to be held by courtiers in the time of King Charles II of England so fleas would jump off the people and onto the dogs.

We have a good-sized backyard, and birds often land there to eat grass seed or seeds from the large tree in the middle that fall to the ground. Once, when she was hardly more than a puppy, Mystie actually caught a bird! Neither she nor the bird seemed to know what to do about it. I fortunately got there in enough time to get Mystie to back off so the bird could fly away.

Now, there are a couple of gray birds in our yard that might be sparrows or wrens, although I haven’t identified them yet. The fatter of the two loves to torment Mystie, landing in front of her on bushes, then soaring off to perch on the utility wire or tree overhead, or on the neighbor’s fence, and cheep at her.

I suppose it’s a game for both of them, although in leaping to try to catch the bird once Mystie fell onto her back. That worries me, since she’s had some health issues and I’m concerned about her.

Yesterday, Mystie insisted on bringing a bird feather into the house. Was it from her friend? I couldn’t tell, but wouldn’t be surprised. My husband also saw that bird and its usual companion sitting on a nearby branch taunting Mystie.

Later, near sunset, when Mystie was outside for her last romp of the day, the bird perched on a nearby bush and chirped till Mystie looked that way. Then it flew low along the pathway, only rising up to land on the neighbor’s fence when Mystie began chasing it. Then it sat there and chirped its taunt.

Do your pets play with wildlife? If you have cats, I wouldn’t be surprised--nor with many dogs, too. What’s their story?


Janie Emaus said...

My dog loved to chase birds. She was quite fast and almost caught a few, but I think the chase was the most important part. Kind of like how some men prefer the chase and when they finally get the woman, they move on to someone else!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Fun comparison, Janie!

Kathy Bennett said...

Right after we got our pool put in, a duck decided to stop by and swim. Our little yellow Lab, Wyatt, went nuts! He was bred for hunting, (although he's never been).

Wyatt was locked in the dog run, but was barking frantically. It was like he was yelling "Duck! Duck! Mom, there's a duck in the pool!"

When the three dogs have been together, they've occasionally hunted mice and rats who make the fatal decision to visit our backyard. We haven't seen any for quite some time. Word has gotten out in the animal world...

Monica Ferris said...

As I believe I've written before, I once had a Scottish terrier who was also the pet of a squirrel. The squirrel would wait for him to come out on his morning walk and tempt him by running away just barely fast enough to stay ahead of his snapping teeth. The squirrel would scoot up a tree at the last instant and - I swear - would sit on a high limb laughing at Piper, who never caught on that it was a trick.

Linda O. Johnston said...

How cute, Kathy! I'll bet the duck doesn't visit much. And how nice that your pups keep your yard rodent-free!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Your squirrel must have given the birds in my backyard lessons, Monica. One of them just perched on the rail at our back patio daring Mystie to come out and play.

Betty Hechtman said...

It goes both ways at my house. The mockingbirds fly down and peck at the dog and cats. Goldy, despire her aloof personality, remembered she was a terrier and caught and beheaded a rat. Yuck!

One of my cats is a horrible hunter. He sees something in the yard and goes lopping over to it, giving it lots of warning to take off. The other cat has brought in birds and lizards. The birds were all deceased, but the lizard ran off and hid out for a week before we could catch it and take it back outside.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Interesting, Betty. The mockingbirds here don't bother the dogs. The couple that tease Mystie are something else. I'm glad that neither of my pups has managed to kill anything.

Mia said...

When the cats were outside cats, Mr. Boo Kitty, being the incredible provider he was, often brought home kitty gifts of love. I know he did this to overcome my own inability to hunt for myself, but the day he brought home a mouse and presented it to me while I was soaking in the bathtub, was the day my tolerance for his hunting prowess ended. Fortunately, I was able to slam the door in his face when he tried to bring a gopher into the house.