Vizsladogs, Ltd.

The Grouse from Hell

by Kay Ingle

I was winter traveling with a friend, exploring the high Sierras in California, when we decided to pull over for the night and camp at this lovely site. We had set up our tent, staked my two Vizsla's on long 20-foot chains and, while I continued to lay out all the equipment, my friend started to work cooking dinner. Everything was going well until this Grouse appeared on the edge of our campsite.

I was grateful the bird was downwind of the dogs and its movement had not yet attracted their attention. So, I spent a few moments subtly trying to shoo the darn bird away. But, as luck would have it, the stupid bird continued to casually stroll into the campsite.

By this time, I was envisioning this poor bird being ripped to pieces by the dogs and the campsite destroyed as they chased it. As it got closer, walking right toward the dogs, I gave up subtlety and ran toward it yelling and waving my arms. Of course, the dogs noticed my antics and started looking around to see what had me so excited.

My friend laughed thinking I was just clowning around -- at least until the friendly bird jumped up on the picnic table where she was cooking. My friend's eyes widened as she caught sight of the bird and the frozen dogs looking in shock at the Grouse. From that point on, everything seemed to go into slow motion. The dogs started running for the picnic table, I started running for the dogs, and the darn bird just sat there looking at my friend waiting for dinner to be served.

One of the dogs made a flying leap for the bird and at that point the poor bird finally realized it had better make a dash for it. Unfortunately it half flew, half ran around my friend, who was still standing behind the stove cooking. The dogs, having 20 feet of leash in which to pursue, followed the bird as it hopped down from the table, ran behind my friends feet and out into the woods. Of course the dogs did the same thing, over the table, behind my friend, getting a few feet toward the woods when the leash held. They jerked to a stop and as the leash tightened and my friend's feet were swept right out from under her.

She landed flat out on her back with both dogs wrapping her up in their leashes still straining after the bird. Fortunately she wasn't hurt, but from the look in her eye and her vocabulary, I wasn't sure what was going to be for dinner: roasted Grouse or roasted Vizslas!

The whole time we camped at this site, the "Grouse From Hell", as we affectionately called it, would return on the periphery to visit and drive the dogs wild. While speaking with some campers who frequent the place we found out later the bird was one that campers had fed all summer, from when it was a baby. When its family migrated to lower fields, it stuck around hoping for free handouts during the winter.

Vizsladogs, Ltd.
5-21-95 © 1995 - 2006
Last updated 02