Monday, 16 December 2013
By Vicki E. Jones
He came to us well-mannered and well-trained. Strider, a 92-pound black and white English Coonhound mix, was about four years old when we adopted him.
No matter how well-trained he was, though, a coonhound is a coonhound - and when anything “tasty” was spotted, his powerful hunting instincts would kick in.
Adopted just about this time of year, Strider had been with us only a few months when we had a break in the winter weather. A nice 50-degree day, we took our dogs for a walk on their retractable leashes on the heavily wooded, walking-bike trail that runs right by our home. At the top of the trail we spotted a friend named John.
We had been talking with John for several minutes when Strider spotted a squirrel running up a tree. Since the retractable leash allowed Strider a good bit of freedom, he ran over to the tree and stretched out full-length with his paws just a few inches shy of the main “crotch” or split in the tree trunk.
Then Strider surprised us with something we didn’t know a large dog could do:
Strider pushed with his hind feet, took a little leap upward, anchored his front paws in the crotch of the tree and WENT UP THE TREE AFTER THE SQUIRREL
John started to laugh and laugh. Terry (my husband) and I stood there absolutely dumbfounded. Strider continued to follow the squirrel upward and the branches got thinner as he progressed upward.
Finally I yelled to Terry, “Get him down! That fool dog is going to break his neck! The branches are getting thinner and thinner!”
Terry called out to Strider, “Strider, come on down!” and pulled gently on the retractable leash.
Strider looked up and saw that the squirrel had disappeared, having had the good sense to leap to another tree and vamoose, and by this time John was laughing uncontrollably - in fact, laughing so hard that he was now rolling on the ground with tears of laughter streaming down his cheeks.
Slowly and carefully, Strider picked his way back down the tree. Please see the photo that goes with this story (not taken that day, but another day when he climbed up a tree and we had the good sense to bring along a camera).
Incredibly, Strider never did get hurt climbing up and down trees. He continued to occasionally do so for many years, stopping only when he got old enough for arthritis to limit his agility.
Yes, he climbed up and down trees like he had been doing it all his life which, indeed, he probably had.
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