A Murderer of Crows

A group of crows is called a murder, but my dog, Miss Cleo is now a murderer of crows. Or grackles, at any rate. I let her out earlier to do her evening business, and heard her take off after a critter. There was a yowling sound as if she’d chased a cat from the yard, and then a pitiful screeching alternating with her barking, as she chased a grackle across the ground, to the lava rocks under the living room windows.

I called her away, hoping that the bird was merely stunned, and called Fuzzy for help. I yelled at Cleo. I don’t like yelling at dogs, and I’m ashamed that I did it, especially when she’s got a mix of terrier and spaniel in her, and a pretty high prey drive for such a relatively small dog. I realize that she was acting on instinct, but I was still appalled.

Fuzzy went out to see to the bird. It had a mangled leg, and its neck was broken, he said, though it was still moving. As a point of mercy, he had no choice but to finish the job, wrap it in a cocoon of paper tie it into a bag and put the whole thing in the trash can in the garage. He also said he suspects that the cat struck the initial blow, and dropped the bird when Cleo came out.

He grew up on a farm, and was calm about it.

And me?

I told Cleo I didn’t want kisses from her tonight, and then I shed tears for a grackle, a bird most people around here think of as a nuisance, the way people in New York and San Francisco think of pigeons.

I feel like it’s my fault.