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Maya, the mighty hunter

Pet Tails

Maya, my mom and dad’s Schnauzer, may be one of the most accomplished hunters I know.

We have found multiple headless squirrels in the backyard. They are otherwise complete so I am mystified as to how she eats only the part that is mostly bone.

I am also surprised she is so successful because I have witnessed several unsuccessful squirrel hunts. Maya drops into a laying position and stares at the rodents with her head raised, leaving no doubt as to what she is staring at. From that position, she crawls toward the creature at a speed of a foot every 10 seconds or so.

In attempts I’ve seen, the squirrel sees Maya from about 15 to 20 feet away and bolts for the nearest tree when she is about 10 away. Maya freezes for a second and then just lays there panting as if to suggest she hadn’t been doing anything.

(She is great at this fake nonchalance, such as when she yawns loudly during a bath despite shaking nervously the same time the water is turned on.)

Her biggest squirrel-hunting fail is much more memorable though.

I was asked to let her in the back door that day and noticed something furry and limp hanging from her mouth.

She didn’t respond to my request to drop it so I grabbed a boom to poke it, hoping that would make her release it.

It did but it also inspired the dazed squirrel to spring to life and run circles around her neck as she snarled.

The prey then jumped away from Maya, who chased it around the laundry room until it was cornered behind the dryer, chattering enough to communicate its obvious distress.

It took several commands to leave the prey that got away and go inside the house but once she did, it only took another half hour or so to usher the squirrel from it hiding spot and out the back door.

Pet Tails is a celebration of the special bond we have with the critters we keep. Readers can feature their pets by sending a picture and a brief description or story (150-200 words) to publisher@dublincitizen.com!

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