08 October 2009

The potential perils of Dirt Nite.

My dogs would not stop barking at Dirt Nite last night. I had everyone out, let Ruby run a bit and Otterpop too. Somehow, over the noise of my ill mannered 2 out of 3, we started hearing coyotes from the dump. Have I ever mentioned that Dirt Nite is attactively located almost on top of a giant county dump? Lots of coyotes out there.

I'm wondering, how close ARE those mangy old dump coyotes? Sound pretty loud, and Gustavo and Otterpop's shouting like a beacon to coyotedom.


So I'm thinking, should I still run Gustavo? What if he runs out of the ring and across the field and off to coyote land and gets eaten? What if the coyotes are actually sitting in the iceplant outside the arena and waiting to pounce on irritating, bunny sized, running dogs?

Chances seem slim. Off we go.

We're about halfway through the course, and out of the corner of my eye, I see this thing swooping down from the roof of the arena, behind me.

Oh shit.


Vampire! With a cape.

Almost on top of me! I do some shrinky, weird handling move, and pull Gustavo off a jump, just in time to see the vampire which is actually a giant owl, swoop over us and down to the other end of the arena.

I kinda grab Gustavo, and sit there for a minute. Well, at least it wasn't a vampire.

"Should I keep going?"

Someone picks up a pvc jump bar, kind of waves it in general owl direction. Bad Owl.

Gustavo is really small. I'm crouching in the dirt, looking up for owls, holding Gustavo, not sure whether to finish the course or whether that makes him potential owl snack. I have the only small dogs at Dirt Nite. No one's ever been eaten by an owl yet, but I'm sort of freaked out by birds of prey with giant claws who are clearly hungry. You ever see those claws on those things? Massive, pointy hooks, generally holding gophers and rats.

In the not so far off distance, coyotes still howling.

We just called it a night.


Elf said...

Great horned owls weigh only about 3 pounds despite their huge wingspan. "It can lift and carry prey much heavier than itself (e.g. a 3 lb. owl can carry 8-9 lb. prey.)" How much does Gustavo weigh? However, wikipedia notes that they also eat raccoons, which adults can get up to 20 lbs, so are they slamming adult raccoons (which are extremely vicious fighters) to the ground and eating them, or are we talking like the 3-lb baby raccoon size? Curiouser and curiouser-- I am intrigued by the not very encylopedic comment within the article that "The owls sometimes eat farmers chickens and small to medium and largish dogs." Not only is it not punctuated correctly but what exactly is a "largish" dog?

I'm not sure I'm clarifying things here--

Elf said...

OK, so I "asked a scientist," and the scientists are very reassuring.

Elf said...

And if you want more info on owl attacks on very small dogs, here are some articles on an official owl web site. (Yeah, this sort of question always interests me. Could it happen or not?)

Deb said...

That owl was huge, Laura! Did you actually get a chance to see it? The darned thing had a flat face-a barn owl, I think. He sure had his/her sights on Gustavo. Just flew right over the two of you for awhile!

team small dog said...

I sure DID see that owl and it was huge and I am pretty darn sure it could pick up an 11lb Gustavo!

Cedarfield said...

Gah! I'm going to stop letting Devon out off leash at night. He's probably a little too chunky to be picked up (he's a solid 16 pounds) but he could still get hurt even an owl tried to grab him.

solve aggressive said...

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