Yesterday morning, while Jerry was getting ready to leave for work and I was munching on a bowl of cereal, he spotted two of our neighbors through the kitchen window.
"They're definitely talking about our yard," he said. "I can tell because Skip is pointing and Loreena is nodding and looking."
And, in suburbia, that's enough to pique even the slightest curiosity.
So Jerry kissed me goodbye and left vowing to "listen in."
Turns out, Skip saw a hawk swoop down and eat one of the little bunnies I keep meaning to toss our wilted lettuce and dried-out baby carrots to. Jerry and I have spotted them on numerous occasions and now that we finally have a little snow, their tracks are everywhere -- like a schitzophrenic pattern all over the lawn.
But while I was mourning the little bunny, Jerry immediately realized that Toby isn't much bigger. And that a hawk certainly might be stalking our yard for all of its potential prey.
It triggered a memory of a story I read not too long ago about a 12-year-old boy who had a hawk swoop down and try to snatch his little dog while they were on a walk. He fought back, clubbing the bird with his backpack until it let go. The dog required some stitches, but it survived.
So now the fence we had installed to enable us not to have to go outside in the winter with Toby on his frequent tiny-bladder trips is nearly pointless. We've vowed to go with him every time and we've armed the backyard with a shovel to fight off any predator from the sky.
But Jerry is obsessed. He's convinced the hawk is nesting in the three-story pine tree in our backyard, not the nearby mountains. And when he went on the air, he talked in-depth about our situation.
Apparently what ensued was a 2-hour-long calling frenzy from radio listeners of all types. One caller suggested we toss out some raw chicken breasts loaded with Alka-seltzer, long known to kill birds because their stomach can't release gas through burping. Another caller quickly reminded that it would be a federal crime because hawks are endangered.
So when Jerry screamed, "So, WHAT? What am I supposed to do? Let a hawk EAT my dog?" a few experts called in: one from the Department of Environmental Protection and another from the Wildlife Protection Agency.
They suggested everything from placing a decoy in the yard (something brown and furry, incidentally, just like our dog) to coating Toby in reflective surfaces or even attaching balloons to his collar so the hawk can't see him. I got a real kick out of that one. I picture Toby squirming and flipping out, trying to remove the balloons then finally rolling over on top of them, popping one, getting scared of the noise and trying to run from himself.
Not going to happen.
So, for now, we've committed ourselves to accompanying Toby on his trips outside armed with a shovel.
It's probably pretty good being buddies with the top of the food chain, but I guess that doesn't always protect dogs from becoming someone else's dinner. My take on the situation? Those hawks are just jealous. Jealous of all the delicious table scraps.