It was late when Lulu and I got back to the hotel. She was wired and I was tired. This was not typically a good walking combination, but her walks were what kept her energy level manageable. I sighed as she danced into her loosely fitting, pink harness, and headed out the door and down the hallway. She paused briefly to lunge at a door, behind which a German Shepherd lived. As he snarled and barked on the other side, she looked at me me grinning, a very merry glint in her brown eyes. Twirling in a circle, she continued on down the hall.
The night was warm and dark. There was a low hanging cloud layer, with no stars in the sky, and street lights were non-existent on this section of the road. I knew the route well though, and Lulu tugged me gleefully down the sidewalk.
About a quarter mile past the hotel was a “Green Way.” There was a path that curved it’s way through the grass, skirting the edges of neighborhoods and golf courses. Lu and I usually walked when most people were sleeping or well tucked in for the night. I could say our schedule revolved around work, but it really revolved around activity. The less people and dogs, the better our walks.
Arriving at the Green Way, I circled around a large concrete abutment. Suddenly, a large red fox jumped from the abutment to the ground and darted off into the darkness. Lulu was already at the end of her leash, so as she accelerated from 0 to 60 in .05 seconds, she jerked the leash out off my hand. I had it looped around my wrist, but she still pulled free.
“Lulu come! Lulu come!” I yelled loudly as I took off after her. I knew these were pointless commands, but I still maintained some residual hope for obedience.
“Rosebud!” “Rosebud, come back!” I heard a man yelling up ahead. I ran harder.
I could see Lulu plowing into the small, yappy Rosebud, white fluff flying everywhere – the poor owners watching in horror as Lulu’s attention was diverted from her current prey to the new even smaller, more attainable prey. She was in the zone, all instincts in overdrive, and small fast moving animals were all the same.
Side tracking her for a minute…When I had gotten Lulu, I had sent off samples for two different DNA tests. She looked exactly like every Stafford-shire Terrier picture I had seen, but I was still curious about my little machine’s ancestry. She seemed to fit the temperaments and behavioral characteristics associated with the breed, but she also seemed to have a little something extra – an edge to her.
Lulu was fast and agile as hell – a hunting machine. The field behind the hotel was riddled with ground squirrel burrows, and she managed to run down a couple every time she ran free. She had also captured and killed at least two rabbits, several squirrels, and numerous other rodents over the past few weeks. She never played with anything she caught. She ran them down, dispatched them, and moved on.
The DNA results had arrived last week, and just as expected, she was 75% Stafford-shire Bull Terrier. The other 25% was something called a Viszla. I had never even heard of this breed, so I looked it up. It was a “very trainable” hunting dog. Clearly, only the hunting characteristics had carried over to Lulu. This, mixed with her Terrier instincts, made this little dog one heck of a hunter. I really don’t think she retained any bulldog behavioral characteristics, only it’s rock hard muscles.
As I bent over to catch my breath, a large gangly, curly, brownish dog appeared from the darkness. This was certainly not the Rosebud I had expected. She trotted towards me, clearly a friendly dog. To my left I heard the jangling of Lu’s color approaching rapidly. She had obviously lost the fox and was locked in on a new target. I flinched as she approached, a streak of white cutting through the dark. Rosebud turned to see her approaching also, and did what any sane dog would do, as that small, intense scrunched up face bared down upon it – she collapsed.
Lulu screeched to a halt. The target was not behaving as anticipated, and she was at a loss. As she began to circle Rosebud warily, Rosebud slowly lifted a foreleg, as if submitting to defeat. Lulu leaped over Rosebud, tangling her leash in her legs, but Rosebud continue to wisely play dead dog. I just held my breath and watched as Lu sniffed Rosebud’s stomach before suddenly crouching low and sticking her wiggling butt up in the air, tail wagging tentatively. I was shocked! My crazy dog was actually inviting Rosebud to play.
It was at about this time that Rosebud’s owner rushed up breathing heavily. He was a dark haired man in this mid-thirties, and he looked frantic.
“That is a pit bull,” he said breathlessly. “Is it going to hurt my dog?”
I heard a commotion, and turned quickly to see Rosebud leap from the ground, and both dogs began running in circles. Rosebud was actually chasing Lu. I just stood and watched in amazement. I’ve rarely felt such joy. Lulu looked so happy and was actually playing with another dog. She looked like a big puppy, wiggling, jumping, and racing in circles as Rosebud tried in vain to catch her.
We stood and watched them romp for about 20 minutes. Finally growing tired, they laid next to each other in the damp grass, panting heavily. I walked over and took Lu’s leash, telling the man good night as Lulu walked quietly beside me.
Reaching the concrete abutment, I sat down to tie my shoe. Lulu jumped up beside me, and as I turned to look at her, she put her head down and pushed it into my chest, twisting it against me several times before turning to lean against my side as we sat quietly in the dark. Lulu was not an overly demonstrative dog, and I found myself smiling as I looked down at a little dog I rarely saw – a dog happy, and at that moment, at peace with her world.