All a man needs out of life is a place to sit ‘n’ spit in the fire.

Dogs and Man and Cosmos

Loving the new show Cosmos with Neil deGgrasse Tyson. Today, episode two came to life.

The second episode of the new Cosmos began by detailing the ancient relationship between humans and dogs, how we co-opted each other to mutual benefit. Tamer dogs would get closer to the humans and be rewarded with scraps. Those dogs reproduced and the traits that allowed them to coexist with humans caused them to diverge from gray wolves. In turn, humans began to incorporate these new friends into their tribes, using them for hunting, watching, herding, etc.  It has been a fruitful collaboration ever since.

In modern times, a good many dogs are little more than companions to their human benefactors. They are rarely called upon to fulfill their ancient duties. These little doggies, yearning for the times of old, bark furiously at the postal worker, dig for ground animals in flower beds, and scavenge trash for treats. Mostly though, they languish with only the faintest primal ember still burning in their dark eyes.

Today though, our dogs returned to the lives of their ancestors.  An iguana, a big male, perched upon our fence and dared the dogs to do something. They barked and leaped throwing themselves at the high fence in a desperate frenzy. “Look, master, another meatbag wandered into our yard. Ooooo, I want it so bad!” They seemed to say.

I, however, wanted the racket to stop, and I didn’t need the impudent creature impregnating another female, thereby increasing the devastation his invasive species brings to Puerto Rico. I reached up and grabbed him. With my hand firmly around his big tail, I hauled him down twisting and squirming in my grasp.  His thrashings were so violent, I couldn’t hang on. Wow, that had never happened before. He was vigorous and strong and raced free along the fence seeking escape, rising up on two hind legs for maximum speed. Without hesitation, Lucy took off after him, through my spinach, over my basil and peppers where she ran over him twisting her body and grabbing him in her big powerful jaws.

Her blood was excited and I must say, I felt the rush of the hunt as well. Here was a worthy strong opponent, with a razor sharp tail lashing, its strong legs carrying it faster than I could go. And Lucy, 25 lbs of mutt, a funny mix between a rottweiler and dachshund, let her ancestors’ ferocity bubble to the surface.

“Git ‘im! Git ‘im! Lucy!” I yelled. “Good dog! Good dog!” My praise redoubled her efforts as she tore into the shoulder and neck of the six foot reptile. In that moment, I wanted its blood, and Lucy, oh Lucy, she was living the dream, hunting with her master. And her master was happy, and she had blood in her mouth and prey at her feet.

I reached in and grabbed it by the tail once more. It was now far more docile, injured and resigned to its fate. With a quick blow to the machete, I severed its spine taking off most of its head. They have such tough thick skin. I spent the next thirty minutes wallowing in iguana blood butchering the thing as Lucy stood proudly by. I had to put her inside, though, as I think she thought my manner inefficient and sought to speed up the task. “Master, you are doing it wrong. You are wasting blood, and I very much want to eat it. I want to eat that bag of meat that came into my yard, because they are delicious, and I love to eat them.” <- read this in Dug’s voice from the Pixar movie UP.

It’s funny, but only a few days before, we went outside and Lucy came trotting up. “Daddy,” Jaimito said, “Lucy’s hurt.  She has blood.”

I took one look at her panting and trotting playfully. “Jaimito, that’s not her blood. Look around the yard for an iguana carcass.”

As for today, the hunt, the kill, the butchering – we shall dine well, doggies, iguana fricassee is so delicious. You will be rewarded in accord with your ancient assistance.


  1. Sigg3

    Good dog!

    We have trained blood tracking with Elvis, our Boston Terrier, which he is really good at (he uses his nose instead of his eyes, as he’s supposed to), but not really often any longer.

    We let him roam around the cabin when we’re there, and he occasionally finds a mouse or some small wildlife to chase. And he keeps vigilant watch of the caged bunnies (pets) that he seems to think have some conspiracy going, and needs surveillance:)

    But I’ve never seen him kill anything. An iguana would probably be too big for him:P

    • Jim

      You’d be surprised, I think. These dogs need a little encouragement sometimes, but I don’t think there’s anything they wouldn’t do for their masters. Our first dog, Jessie who is now 13 and weighs a bit under 8 kg used to hunt and kill them. They’d whip their tails, and she’d go in for the eyes. The poor iguanas suffered a bit more, but she got them. The younger dog, Lucy, who is a bit bigger but has an enormous head and jaws, used to cower when the iguanas would show up. But she learned from Jessie and now throws herself into the fray without a thought. It’s hilarious as she follows the scent trail looking for more. In fact, today I came home from work and found another headless female tucked away in their special corner for later. haha.

      Then there’s the chihuahua mutt, Billy. He’s too elegant to get his paws dirty and he just watches the girls in amusement.

      Maybe Elvis would hang out with Billy while the girls rustled up the grub.

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