Look away if you're squeamish! I'm putting that picture at the bottom, so you have a choice. Whether you decided to get right to it before you read this, after seeing the thumbnail pop up, perhaps, on your Blogger reading list, is no concern of mine. Sometimes it doesn't pay to be brash and impatient. [Never mind! I put in dog feet! Maybe that's what'll pop up instead of the other.]
You may recall that Puppy Jack is half dachshund. Half his DNA is predisposed to ferreting out badgers. Well, we don't have any badgers here at the homestead. That I know of... We do, however, have moles. They have never been a problem. Maybe 10 years ago we noticed some tunnels in the front yard. And every now and then a dead baby mole turned up on the porch, needing close inspection to determine whether the cats had caught a mouse or a mole. The feet and nose are the clue.
When Jack and Juno frolic in the front yard after their evening treat, they sometimes stop to dig. The yard is big. It's covered with grass. So a few dirt holes aren't a major dog-shaming issue with Hick. Jack is a born digger. He has those wide, sturdy paws that mean business.
Don't be lookin' at Val's favorite sweatpants, with the hole in the hip teasing you with a flash of foundation garment! Look at those shovels Jack has for feet!
Juno's paws are the same size, even though she's a much bigger dog, but seem more dainty with her silky hair flowing between her foot pads.
Jack will dig like a champ, in a frenzy, dirt being flung at a frantic pace. Juno will root him away, stand on three feet and dig with one, a spray of powdered soil arching like the water spray of tugboats in New York Harbor on the 4th of July. I don't know how she does that. Jack, though, goes all out. He digs and stuffs his head in the hole. He yaps and prances.
Last week there was a little dead mouse on the brick sidewalk. I didn't think much of it. Hick walked right past it and didn't see. I figured the cats had killed it.
Yesterday, when we got home from a casino trip, I saw something else on the sidewalk. In about the same place. We normally don't walk across the front of the house, unless Hick comes from the car to sit with me on the front porch when he gets home. We go in the back door, through the kitchen, which is what Hick did yesterday. I petted the dogs and cut under the carport, with a view of the dug-up, re-done brick sidewalk that Hick spent a couple of weeks making look the exactly same as before. Get ready to look away now. You can pick up the story after this photo:
That's a MOLE, baby! A pretty good size one, too. Those old paving bricks, from the alley that used to run behind my $17,000 house in town, are about 8.5 inches long. Which would make Mr. Mole about a six-incher from tail to pointy snout.
I figure Jack finally caught his prey. He's been pretty dirty lately, what with his several-times-a-day swimming interludes, then finding dirt to wallow in. Looks like his wallowing has been in a mole tunnel. There were no marks on Mr. Mole. Just the soggy belly fur where I suppose Jack (after numerous attempts at a good grip) grasped him in his extraordinarily tiny mouth and held on while shaking the living daylights out of him. Perhaps Juno got in on the shaking action. Oh, and that may or may not be a detached eyeball laying beside the head. You have to admire nature's adaptations, even though I find the human-like fingers and the rubbery nose particularly detestable.
I told Hick about the carcass, but I don't know if he did anything. Perhaps I need to go look. Something might have eaten it overnight. Or else Hick will probably fling it down one of the sinkholes. Or maybe toss it over the fence into the neighbor's field like he did with our last dead possum. Oh, he likes that neighbor well enough. Went to school with him. But Hick is not going out of his way to bury a dead critter unless it's a pet. Besides, if Jack dug this mole out of its burrow, I'm pretty sure he'd dig up a dead one from its shallow grave.
Okay. You know you looked. Couldn't resist a picture of a dead mole. Won't you agree with my own personal back-patting that I made it look kind of artsy, with that late-afternoon sunlight streaming through the decrepit picket fence that Hick put up against my wishes?