Monday, June 16, 2014

Fox On the Run

     You might say that we are an urban family, living in the City of Buffalo and our dog Harold being lost and found here (thanks to the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter). So, country visits are cool and taken advantage of by all.
     They are also rare, and mainly consist of Val’s weekly (during the summer and spring) therapeutic horse riding sessions at the Rivendell Recreation Center on South Wales. While Val does her therapy session, Harold and I take a long country walk on the surrounding rolling country roads.
      Saturday is the day for Val’s horse riding, and this Saturday appeared to be a fine day for a walk; cloudy (hopefully the rain would not come), a bit cool and breezy but still with the temperature in the 60s, so neither Harold nor I would feel too hot or tire too fast. Happily, it also meant that I didn’t have to wear a hat. After Harold and I walked Val over to the stable and into the fine hands of the staff and volunteers at Rivendell (and these volunteers and staff are simply incredible people), off we went over the lawn and onto Warner Hill Road.
     Warner Hill Road, like the other roads in this rural area, is rolling lanes through mostly farms and horse stables, often both, along with houses, many old but some new builds. We take one of two basic routes, and this day we took Warner Hill Road about 3/4 of a mile (maybe a bit longer) to Merlau
I do not want to hear one joke about Fox News.
Road; we turn down Merlau Road, with a couple more homes but still very large properties and some farming, which heads mainly downhill at first. Harold and I usually go about 3/4 of a mile before heading back, making our walk about 3 miles, taking about 50 minutes and perfect timing for when Val’s session ends.
     Harold is in his glory during these country walks, with all of the scents and smells from animals, birds, crops, horses, cows and the like, of course with a lot of attention paid to the waste left behind by the animals. Harold also enjoys actual appearances by these animals, as well as some aquatic life. But about a half-mile down Merlau, we encountered even more interesting scents; first, a mound of brown fur kind of taken apart, then a larger pile with what appeared to be dried blood. The stench was incredible, that of a dead animal.
     Before we found anything more, while Harold was busy sniffing the fur, something caught my eye a couple of yards down the road. I looked up and saw a red fox crossing from our side of Merlau to the other; just then, Harold looked up and saw the fox, first stiffening his back and then starting to pull me toward the fox. The fox looked at us, noticed Harold and took off across the street and was last seen leaping into the tree line. Harold tried pulling more until I told him that we weren’t going to chase the fox, and then tugged once on the leash and he followed me.
     We started to walk back, but noticed the smell had become even worse, and in a couple of steps we came across the rest of the carcass of a woodchuck, smelling to high hell and teeming with maggots. Harold of course wanted to investigate further, but I convinced him otherwise and we returned to Rivendell in a few minutes. Harold maintained his usual Short Attention Span Theatre while I kept looking along the tree line and fields for the fox. We did get to see who I believe is the same red-winged blackbird we see every week we walk this way fly above us a couple of times and land on a utility pole. Upon our return, Harold once again enjoyed the smells of the horses and stable, and Val continues to tell him that they are kind of like really big horses.


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