Ask a Terrier: Hero or Hungry?

Dear Budleigh,

Did you see this video on social media where a Golden Retriever called Storm drags a drowning baby deer from the ocean? Then Storm nuzzles and paws it, and probably would have attached a defibrillator if he was vocally able to shout, “Clear!” Dogs are awesome! Do you think I can train Millie, my Rat Terrier, to be that cool or has that ship sailed?

Love your column! Michael M., Madison, WI

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Dear Michael M.,

I’ve heard about Storm’s dramatic rescue, but not seen it because I can’t access social media due to paws.

However, my Giants seemed quite taken with the story, watching it repeated on the news shows, praising Storm with teary eyes, then sighing at me.

OK, Giants, message received!

Why is anyone surprised that a dog would save an animal? Dogs do that all the time, especially showboats like Goldens. What’s praiseworthy is when we save animals even when we’re kinda hungry.

Budleigh attempts to “rescue” a wild tiger and return it to the jungle. Results were mixed.

Rescuing or killing animals. Frankly, I don’t see the difference, but I’m thinking Big Picture. I’ve rescued a number of rabbits, but just for a couple of minutes. Whether my intention was to save or kill them, we were all just having a bit of fun.

Not them, of course.

The Giant Vet called me a “natural predator”, which I thought was rude to say right in front of my Giants. They’re worriers, although they enjoy a vegetable garden free of vermin.

So, is Rat Terrier Millie more savior or killer? Her breed’s name would indicate deep inner conflicts. To help resolve such cases I developed this simple diagnostic chart, The Great Chain of Eating. Score one point for every animal Millie would kill and one for each she’d befriend. Then add a bunch of extra points, if you’d like. I don’t know what to do after that.

FliesSmall. Buzzy. Helpless. Tasty. (Not the green ones!)
CicadasLarge. Clumsy. Often entangled in fences. Sad and delicious.
ButterfliesDon't bother chasing. These things know a trick.
BirdsSee Butterflies.
Larger thingsSquirrels. Chipmunks. Mice. They're all the same, right? Just different costumes?
DogsDo not kill! Bad manners, terrible PR.
Creatures that fight backIncludes anything with claws, spines, fangs, sharp edges or broken glass. Save or kill at your discretion.
HumansWhich ones?

Please share these tips with Millie, Michael M. It might help her fulfill her life-saving, heroic potential. Or barring that, just fulfill her hungry tummy.


Read more Ask a Terrier columns.

6 thoughts on “Ask a Terrier: Hero or Hungry?

  1. Budleigh, Harper the lab mix here. Outstanding guidance and advice as always. I would only add that while going after things with claws and teeth is generally not a good idea, “possums” can be an exception. I have found that barking and jumping frantically after 10 pm at the one who insists on walking across the top of my backyard fence is particularly enjoyable. The possum seems to enjoy it as well as he keeps coming back for more. The only ones who seem inexplicably displeased with this game are my giants. You know, Budleigh, I used to live on the streets before I got this sweet gig with my humans, and man, I’ve seen some things. Someday, we’ll have to talk. Meanwhile, keep up the good work with your column.

    1. Possums, eh, Harper? I’m not familiar with those. Are they the ones that roll by our house on summer nights playing music and selling ice cream? My Giants aren’t bothered, but I think they’re trouble. Hey, glad you scored that great living arrangement. The streets were bad, dog! But we were tight. If we ever meet we can do that secret handshake all us homeless dogs learned. If we remember it. And if we had hands. Keep your nose moist, kid! Budleigh

  2. Dear Budleigh, my name is Ginger and my Giant (Suzette) is not all that giant. Yesterday I saw a deer on the other side of the fence in my backyard and I woofed for all I was worth, but it just stared at me and kept chewing. Such disrespect. I’m a Japanese Chin/Maltese mix. OK, maybe I’m not threatening, but I’d like to rank “annoying” at the very least to these intruders.

    1. Ginger, your Suzette might not appear giant-sized because of where she’s standing. Far away, Giants are quite small and manageable. They expand as they get closer. Same with the deer. My advice: Keep woofing. I’m sure you annoy intruders. You certainly annoy me. But in a good way! Budleigh

  3. If my dog, Deion, was alive (may he Rest In Peace), he would barkingly agree with Budleigh that there are some animals that are fun to rescue. One time our son said,”What’s that string coming out of Deion’s mouth?” And when we opened his mouth a mouse jumped out. It wasn’t long before he caught up with said mouse again and finished the “play time” if you know what I mean. Squirrels and chipmunks were equally as fun to chase and “play” with. In this case, I have to say dogs are man’s and woman’s best friend indeed!

    1. There’s a gulf of misunderstanding between dogs and rodents, Molly. I tried to bridge that by giving a seminar on this subject to a small audience of mice. I thought it went well because when it was over, they were all dead. Yes, there were a few complaints, but it was a free seminar. Budleigh

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