It had been an uneventful walk! I had looked deep into Bart's eyes when we began and implored him to take it easy on me that night! We had a lovely evening stroll and ran into our friend Chloe the doberman and her dad down by the river. The three dogs romped and, as usual, Bart disappeared. He's still not certain of his place in the extended pack and if there is too much rough housing, he prefers to go
We all decided to take the long way out together and since we pass by the tall shrubs, I knew we would find Bart. We called; he didn't appear; we kept walking and calling. Finally, I heard him behind us. He ran down the hill past the two leggers and ran up to both girls. He turned to face them and ... SNARLED at them both. Since both girls are way more alpha than Bart, this was like asking for a beat down! He leaped high in the air and over some shrub and started frantically digging. All of us were terribly confused and we all went to see what had Bart in such a tizzy. There was a dead rabbit in the hole he was digging!
Chloe's dad thought Bart killed the rabbit and that was what the whole snarling thing was about... but I saw nothing in his mouth. Either way, I knew I didn't want to deal with dogs fighting over a dead rabbit and that Bart was acting territorial enough that we could have an issue. I pointed Mabel down the trail expecting to get her in the car and hike back in for Barticus.
Around the bend, we met Mark, a most resourceful young man in his twenties. He's exactly the kind of person you want to meet when you have trouble in the wild! I reminded him of Bart and his antics (Mark favors hats...another fear trigger for Bart). As Mark headed down the trail toward Bart, the rest of us kept moving toward the cars.
And then it was Mabel's turn to get all bratified! She took off into the fenced enclosure. Now it was getting dark and I didn't have either dog. I honked the car horn, knowing that would scare the crap out of Mabel. She always wants to go home with Mom! She appeared at the fence next to the car... crying. Even though she knows where the opening in the fence line is... about 40 yards back west of the parking lot, she will not leave me because the car horn has sounded and surely the car is leaving without her! (This is the one area where my dog seems to lack logic!)
So I hike the fence line coaxing the crying girl along to the opening. It was around this time that I realized Mark had been "shooing" Bart in our direction. Bart ran to a large shrub near the parking lot (I took this set of photos with my phone in the exact spot a full week before this incident!) and continued eating his catch. I was debating how to get him in the car without that dead rabbit while I leashed up Mabel.
Working my way back to the car in the near darkness carefully as there is no trail by the fence, I suddenly hear another voice asking the most ominous question, "Who's dead dog is this?"
I realized it was coming from the bush where Bart had been eating his rabbit. My first thought was that Bart had choked! But as we got closer, I saw the man was hiking two gorgeous, friendly, off leash mastiffs! Bart was simply terrified and knew he was outnumbered and outgunned! So he played DEAD!
I about keeled over in laughter! I told the man that I was certain Bart was faking and that he should move away from Bart's bush and the rabbit he was laying on! And sure enough, when the man and mastiffs entered the parking lot, the little faker sat up and started eating more rabbit!
With Mabel in the car, I decided to call the BFF to see is she could figure out how to get Bart away from the half eaten rabbit but realized my phone was dead. Again, Mark came to my rescue and loaned me his. While I was on his phone, Mark decided to try and scare Bart. It worked! Bart ran and got under my car! I opened the door and he jumped in! Whew!
And then, I figured out I had dropped my keys! Mark to the rescue again. He had some powerful magnets in his car and found my keys in under five minutes and then he even took care of the rabbit!
Thank goodness Mark was hiking that night... between all the growling-playing dead-getting lost- missing keys... I was a mess!