At 7 AM this morning, there was something beautiful going on here in Ashburn, as snow continued to fall since starting some time during the night. It was peaceful too, as the falling snow acts as nature’s soundproof barrier and blocks off all the noise of the world.
Well, it was until a certain hound let out a blood-curdling scream of a bark that made people wonder if my backyard had become a crime scene.
My house is situated right off a bike path that runs along my backyard’s fence. On the other side is a protected nature reserve, where there is a big creek for rain to run off into, and as a result draws far more animals than you routinely see in a metro area. It’s not surprising to see groups of deer, frogs, snakes, hawks, squirrels, racoons and several other species just roaming the area as if it were their home.
This morning, a new type of animal made an appearance. Sauntering down the bike path like it was just wandering home after an all-night bender was a small red fox, occasionally looking up at the snow like it was annoyed by this white stuff falling in his eyes. Those eyes opened just a little wider when his presence was discovered by my dog Maggie.
I call Maggie a WonderBeagle because that’s what she looked like as a 7-pound puppy, but when her legs grew to the size of a giraffe, we realized she was a different breed: An American Foxhound. Maggie is the gentlest, sweetest dog I’ve ever owned, but the AKC web pages on the breed warn when it is in pursuit of something it wants – namely a fox – it genetically can’t control itself and won’t listen to commands.
The AKC wasn’t kidding, as I watched this domesticated hound that sits on the sofa and watches television like a teenager turn into the Tasmanian Devil. The fox – showing it may be a bit of a jerk in the animal world – calmly stared at Maggie as she’s trying to break down the backyard fence, almost giving it a wry smile before slowly trotting off into the snowy woods.
It was if it were saying “my work here is done.”
Maggie, meanwhile, is huffing and puffing like she’s saying “I can’t believe the nerve of this fox” and sprinting from one end of the yard to the other well after the offending animal had left. She was making sure if another one ever came back, she would be ready.
She then came in the house and it was like the scene in A Christmas Story, where Ralphie had just been in a fight and was all upset until his mom calmed him down. I got Maggie to stop pacing, gave her some treats, took a towel and dried her feet from running in the snow, and got her to stop giving me that “Dad, you just don’t understand” look.
Finally we headed upstairs, where she promptly jumped up on the sofa, curled up in a ball, and allowed me to put a blanket over her. She was asleep a few minutes later.
I’m going to guess that’s the “American” part of American Foxhound.
So now it’s peaceful again. The snow continues to fall. The fox-istential crisis has been averted. The hound has been called off. Neighbors no longer wonder what happened over in Ashburn Farm.
Allowing me to return to my viewing of a beautiful, snowglobe type of a Sunday morning.
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Sounds like the first time our Coonhound, well, found a raccoon that had sauntered into our backyard. Complete and utter chaos ensued.
But then after the vet said she was a foxhound, and the AKC had the nerve to post a pic on its foxhound page that looked exactly like Maggie, we decided to agree she was a foxhound
Regardless of label, you nailed it. This morning, chaos ensued...