Grace does dumb things (like eating rocks), but she’s done pretty well landing on her own four paws (with lots of help from some amazing vets & vet techs). She also doesn’t think twice about going nose to nose with her 90lb brother. She’s a scrappy little mutt.
And it didn’t surprise me one bit when she charged to the end of the leash one day when I was back in Massachusetts. The fur on her back puffed up to the size of a softball, and she threw all 38lbs of herself against the leash.
My gaze traveled across the patchy green and brown expanse of the front lawn, expecting to land on a furry gray ball of rabbit. But it didn’t. Instead, I saw a fox. A beautiful fox with orange fur and dainty black legs.
My first thought was: Is that really a fox? It looks big enough to be a coyote. Then: Oh shit, is that thing going to come after Grace? Does it have rabies?
Grace didn’t share my momentary panic. She launched herself against the end of the leash again and barked her head off.
Grace: That’s my yard, you weird dog! Get out of my yard!
Fox: F#$% this!
The fox bolted around the side of the house and into the swamp beyond. Grace–naturally–tried to follow.
Grace: That’s it, you better run! Punk! And don’t you ever think about comin’ in my yard again!
It took a lot of encouragement and reminding Grace that she hadn’t had breakfast yet, to get her back inside. But even once we got into the kitchen, she still ran for the sliding doors and the porch beyond (with its view of the backyard). That was where I left her when I took Sampson outside for his morning walk.
I figured that was the end of it. The fox had disappeared into the woods, Grace was stationed in the kitchen, and Sampson was (thankfully) oblivious. I’d even gotten a pretty decent photo of the fox with my camera, which was a bonus.
Then came barking from the front window, and I damn near jumped out of my shoes. Grace had positioned herself in the bay window at the front of the house, barking up a storm.
Grace: Hey, you! I told you to get out of my yard!
For some reason that must’ve made sense in its brain, the fox had doubled back and stood in the side-yard. It froze when it heard Grace barking and then spotted Sampson with me in the driveway. The fox turned into an orange blur as it bolted back to the swamp behind the house.
Sampson: What was that?
Me: Nothing, dude. Let’s just get your walk done, so I can feed you and Grace.
Sampson: O-k. I wanna eat.
Grace was obviously very pleased with herself when we got back inside and tried to convince me that she deserved some of Sampson’s breakfast because she defended the house. I told her no.