Related to Father’s proclivity to fight was his seemingly natural ability to kill. I’ve seen him kill two animals, live, and have seen blood dripping from his chin after he had dined on another wild creature that he had killed in the front yard while I wasn’t there. Once a dog such as Father has tasted blood, it is hard for it to eat exclusively Alpo. I imagine the taste of blood is a craving for him almost the way we humans will crave things such as ice cream or pizza. Whenever Father saw a little animal, I have no doubt hunger triggered in his mind that overwhelmed him.
One incident where I saw Father eat a little animal took place by the pool when Abby was still young. My mom, Abby, Father and I were under the patio so the incident took place on a spring or summer afternoon. We heard a commotion in the trees lining our neighbor’s yard. It was out of place and unusual, but it sounded like a heavy wind blowing by the way the leaves and branches were stirring around. We looked in the general direction of the noise and saw a mourning dove heading straight towards our back yard followed by a hawk. Once the hawk saw that people were nearby, the predator aborted its hunt and flew back into the woods. The mourning dove landed in the pool, a little shaken but still alive. The only thing wrong with it was that its head was scalped when the hawk’s talons dug into to the prey. My next thought was that the bird was going to drown to death since mourning doves are not aquatic birds. Fortunately for him, he was able to scramble to the pool’s edge and crawl out. Abby, my mom and I inspected the hapless but alive bird. He had beaten the odds. Abby was curious but she did not look upon the bird as prey or food. With a furrowed brow on her face, Abby sniffed the bird in a bit of confusion. It was about this time that Father walked over, took a look at the bird, chomped down on it, jumped over the fence and ate the thing, feathers, beak, talons and all.
Another time I saw Father kill for food was when he chased down a squirrel in the front yard. I was impressed with Father’s top-end speed. He could really accelerate. Even though the squirrel had about a 40-50 foot head start on Father, he still was able to close the gap and reach the squirrel. The squirrel was with in feet of safety. He made it to the tree by the mailbox. There was a pile of leaves around the tree that it had dived into before it made it to the tree, but Father was able to root around in the pile and pull out the now dead squirrel. Father walked back to his girlfriend at the time, a red chow, and gave the bounty to her.
Somewhere in the front yard on the border of your neighbor’s yard, there was a nest of moles. Father loved eating those little things as snacks. I never caught him in the act of digging for them, but I have seen him with a dead mole in his mouth. There were other times when I’ve seen him drink out of the pool after he was feasting on these animals. Father’s dark coat made it difficult to see blood on his hair, but when he was drinking out of the pool, the blood would seep into the pool from his chin. It was nasty and gruesome reminding me of that famous shower scene in Psycho.
Abby found out about Father’s smorgasbord and had to sample for herself. She developed a taste for the moles, and for the rest of her life, she would often be seen digging around the area where she first found moles that she had eaten.