When our dogs are in hunter mode, I try to look away, but I couldn’t ignore our youngest, Missy, when she was victorious and pranced around with her prey today. Was it a native bird or just a sparrow?

I couldn’t tell which, but from her chomping into it, it must have been tasty, to her at least. I’m ameat-eater too, and I know, with the pharaoh hounds especially, hunting is in their bones. They go outside, they look for things to chase and eat. I can’t stop that instinct – they’re certainly fed enough that they don’t need to catch their own.

If I ever actually became a vegetarian, I still wouldn’t try to stop them from eating birds and other creatures, no matter how much I wished they wouldn’t do it. The dogs are limited to just the back yard, and the dog run. This is only a small part of what we have …

It’s a small thing, knowing the other creatures have places to go, still on our property, but away from the dogs. I know that, the dogs know that, but the creatures don’t realise it. One day, when I’m old, perhaps we’ll only have small dogs, ones that don’t have overwhelming desires to catch and kill.

I like the pharaoh hounds though. They’re quite different from the schnauzer, the breed I’ve been involved in for nearly thirty years. A schnauzer can kill creatures too, but they’re not as intent on doing it, the way the hounds are. The two breeds were both created to do different things.

The schnauzer was bred as a general farm dog, helping farmers around the place, herding, guarding and so on. The pharaoh hound has been a helper for farmers too, but their role was to keep down the rabbit numbers. So sitting around and chasing and killing rabbits has been their role for many hundreds of years.

Our dogs can’t get at the rabbits around the place, the creatures don’t come over the dog’s side of the fence. So the birds, lizards and snakes, if they come too close, are chased and caught, and eaten, or at least attacked, sometimes. The snakes frighten me. They’re brown snakes, and yes, our dogs have tussled with them.

Most recently, one of our dogs, Missy, was bitten by one of these killer snakes. She was seen in time, and my son and I raced her to the vet, where her life was saved. It was expensive, but I’m glad she’s back with us, still racing around looking for things to catch, whenever she goes outside. It was expensive, but with her being our youngest dog, I’m glad she’s still with us.

Do you have dogs? Do they have any habits that you’d rather they didn’t have?

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