A Tale of Javelina, Dogs and Quail

"That's not good", I thought to myself as the young female pointer ran after a herd of javelina into the South Texas brush.   We had just got out of the jeep to start working our way into an opening that looked promising for quail.  My original plan was to work one of the three German Shorthaired pointers we had one at a time.   This would allow me to use the single electronic collar that we had to keep the dog in close and to mind me when we got into the birds.  But, the first dog was sharing a larger crate on the jeep with another and while we were letting one out, the second managed to lunge forward and make its way out front.  Oh well, two is better than one, right?  Wrong!  It was a few seconds after the ensuing chase that I heard the quick growl and bark of a dog fighting followed by a piercing and painful yelp.  I had ran about five yards towards the sounds when the young bitch came running towards me on three legs.  Her right hind leg being held gingerly in the air by her side.  For only three legs she was making full strides with a look of pain and fear right for me.  "Here Zoe, here" I called.  Now she had no problem listening to me unlike before when she bolted after the herd of collared peccary.   Zoe ran behind me, laid down on left her side and looked behind my leg to make sure the sharp-tusked monsters were not giving chase.  I pet her and examined her hind quarter where I quickly noticed two trails of blood oozing from her skin.  With some bottled water, we washed her leg off and thankfully saw that the javelina only got one bite on her.  She was lucky, just two good puncture wounds and no visible sign of tearing or muscle damage.  Well, that ought to cover javelina chasing.  I wondered if they offered that along with the desnaking clinics around the area. [youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vag4P9XGies] Javelina normally avoid conflict when stumbled upon.  Especially with man.  But, they are notoriously just ticked off at dogs.  It probably stems from the fact that coyotes are a natural predator of their young and, like all animals, they do not take kindly to things wanting to hurt their offspring.  They are also very well adapted to protecting themselves while in numbers.  If something attacks one of them, the others will come in from behind and counter-attack.  It is an effective defense mechanism that many animals use.  Just ask Zoe! About an hour later, we had ole Zoe at the vet for a look over.  We had cleaned her wounds as best we could but thought that a little TLC from the doc was in order.  The doctor agreed that she was a lucky girl and she got out of the examination room with a shot of antibiotics and some peroxide on her rump.  But, for safety sake, the rest of her day was spent in the kennel to think about her misconduct and convalesce in the South Texas sun.  That afternoon, when we returned from the field, Zoe was standing up on her hind legs, front paws on the chain-link fence, barking for her turn.  "Not this trip", I told her.  "You're still in time-out".  But, I gave her a little pat to let her know that she would be alright.

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