Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Dog, a Duck and a Tale of Abandonment

I think I know why Harley was abandoned. 

He's an American Foxhound, a dog far more interested in what's up in the trees or across the water than he is in me or playing with my two dogs here at the Myrtle Beach dog park off Mallard Lake Road.

Harley is a hunter. And he was found on the outskirts of a popular hunting area near Myrtle Beach a few years ago by Margo and her husband, a couple of soft-hearted dog people, who also live near Myrtle Beach. The dog warden (or some law enforcer down in these parts) told Margo that it's not uncommon for a hunter to go into the woods with 15 dogs and consider himself lucky if he comes out with 10.

The lost five are left to manage for themselves. Harley, everyone assumes, was one of the five on a fateful hunting trip.

But I think I know what happened to Harley because of what he did yesterday, at this dog park that has a big lake in the middle of it. Harley, an avid duck hunter, saw a duck in the lake (it is Mallard Lake, after all) and plunged in to get it. Startled, the duck dashed away. Harley got to the middle of this big  (but shallow) lake and sat there, for three hours, waiting for that darn duck to come back. It made no difference to Harley who ran back and forth lakefront hollering for him to come out. Teasing him with treats. Offering up dinner. He was deaf to anything but a quack.

Know where this is going?

Harley wasn't abandoned. He did the abandoning. I think Harley chose some ol' duck over his hunting buddies. I'm sure he did. It's not that he got lost. He just got focused. Probably for hours. Like he did yesterday. But the first time, everyone got tired of waiting and went home. Yesterday, Margo waited until he just came out on his own.

So today, he's paying for his stubbornness at the end of a leash. And he's not getting off, Margo says, until after their walk, the one that goes all the way around that lake.

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