I can always count on Belle to keep a close eye on things. No trespasser - human or otherwise - can get past her. I turned my attention in the direction the herd was looking and, sure enough, something that wasn't part of our ranch family was hopping back and forth across the far fence. Fortunately we were far enough away that the Corgi Boys didn't notice anything so I put them up for safe keeping and grabbed the shotgun. I wasn't sure what I would find because a few days ago I witnessed a couple of coyotes chasing a white cat that has taken up residence here. (Einstein the cat was still here yesterday so you can stop imagining the worst.)
The question I should have asked myself at this point (but didn't) was "what did you bring the gun for?". Looking back on the situation, I suppose it was a prop to make me look tougher than I am, because I have no idea if it was even loaded and am not gun savvy enough to feel comfortable checking! (I can shoot a target - moving or stable - but apparently I am a pampered Annie Oakley since I've never loaded my own gun. This is now at the top of my "skills to learn" list.)
I had the distance of a couple football fields to walk but
kept looking at the last spot where I had seen movement as I made my way. The next thing I knew, Belle was standing on her back legs and began a quick dash towards the woods as she came down. She stopped at the edge of the property as
quickly as she has started. She stood in that spot for a few minutes and then did what I call the "Belle Dance". It really should be called the "something is not right here and hurry to me" dance because she only does it when she's worried.
Once I got near the horses, Belle made her way to me and did her dog trick. She is as good at pointing as any hunting dog, just not quite as stealth. There in front of me, just past the trees, was a precious little deer - on the ground, stuck in the brush, and terrified.
I'm not sure if he had been playing with other deer or running from something but he was clearly stuck now and a prime target for the coyotes I had recently seen. I'm not sure who was more jumpy - me or him - but after a few EEEEEKs from both of us, I was able to loosen the hold the branches had on him and he quickly disappeared.
I gave Belle a big hug and leaned on her strong neck for a minute. Then, as if nothing had happened, Belle turned and went back to the herd who had all put their heads down and begun grazing again. Were they blind? Did they not just see me save a life? Why were they not as exhilarated by this experience as I was???
I'll tell you why - because in nature, instinct and intuition rule. Challenges and threats are part of every day and animals make decisions based on what they know instinctively to be best. They groom and guard each other. The protect their
family and their friends from predators. They are loyal and forgiving. They choose their leaders for their strength and accomplishments. The teach their young to be able to stand on their own and they respect their elders. Belle used her communication skills to let me know my part in the rescue
of this little guy. To her and the rest of the herd, there was no act of heroism, just a responsibility to another being.
So.....in true human fashion, I humbly walked back to the barn where I told Tank and Jag about my noble feat. (If I use the right tone, they think anything I tell them is incredibly newsworthy!)