The Chase

When we get home from walks A.J. likes to go into the backyard and make sure no squirrels or cats or other creatures have invaded the yard while he was gone. So when we returned from our walk this morning, as usual A.J. went to the back door and I let him out. He ran into the yard, at which point he and I both realized there was a squirrel hiding behind the tree in the back corner of the yard.

A.J. ran towards the tree and jumped up as the squirrel began scrambling to safety. But just before it reached the first branch – the squirrel fell.

As I watched, the squirrel fell seven feet and landed in the soft bark chips we’d placed around the base of the tree. A.J. was after him instantly. The squirrel tried again to get up the tree but only made it about a foot up before A.J. jumped at him and he fell once more. The squirrel ran under the nearest hedge with A.J. right behind him. They came out of the hedge with A.J. right over the squirrel.

This all happened in an instant. I went running out onto the patio with no idea what I was going to do, afraid I was going to have to watch as my dog maimed if not killed this poor squirrel. But when I got outside, with A.J. at a point where he could easily have grabbed the squirrel, I yelled “A.J.! Come!” And the strangest thing happened: A.J. came to me! He stopped mid-chase and ran right over to me. He looked at me with a very happy “See what I found?!” expression on his face. I moved back towards the door and A.J. started to head after the squirrel again, but one “UH UH” from me stopped him in his tracks.

I called him into the house with me. He came running in and I gave him a treat. After the squirrel finally reached the safety of a branch high in the tree I let A.J. back out to sniff around and retrace all the activity. When he was done he came back into the house and promptly fell asleep. That was a lot of excitement for one morning!

And I have the very bestest dog in the entire world.