There is a great scene with squirrels in the new movie, “Up!” Actually, its a scene that the pixar animators have set up with a few earlier references.  Basically, it has been established that the dogs in South America can follow any scent and hound dog any human.  Unless, they see a squirrel.  If even one dog sees a squirrel, they all stop what they are doing and chase.

It is sort of like my family and the crazy drivers.  See a crazy driver…stop what you are doing.  Talking to someone about their chemotherapy? Be empathetic.  Unless there is a crazy driver.  Trying to catch up with a long lost friend…pay attention, unless you see that crazy driver over there.  Hoping to connect with your kid before you drop him off at school? Great idea, unless some crazy driver comes along.

You get the idea. So do those dogs in “Up!”  Hey, it jibes with reality.  Dogs love squirrels. There is no better way to express that love than through a chase.

Right, so without spoiling the movie (which would be hard), suffice to say that a major crisis is remedied by squirrels.

No such luck with Samson.  Samson is six now, and he is starting to get a bit creaky.  Some days, he has a hobble on his right front foot.  He gets up slowly.

Lately, he’s been stopping at the entrance to the park, after a run of just four/tenths of a mile.  The dog who used to run four to six miles a day now wants to stop after four to six minutes (not counting rest stops to lift legs.)

And, its gotten so bad that even squirrels won’t get him going.  The morning after Up!, we went for a run.  Now, Samson really did want to run on this morning. He hadn’t come along for a while, and I guess his hobble was hiding.  His limp left.

We were running up Dacian Ave., near Watts Elementary, when Samson hit the squirrel trifecta.

There they were: three squirrels, all within the boundaries of a sidewalk. Three squirrels!



I have been running with Samson when he is just dogging it, and I’m wondering if he is going to have heat stroke before the next hill.  I’ll be pulling him.  The leash will be fully extended to 15 feet.  Samson’s heels will be dug in.  And then, there’s a squirrel and he’s off.  Hurry up, slow poke, he seems to say.  There are squirrels over there.

So on that morning, I was a bit perplexed.  Again, there are three squirrels. And we’re not more than four feet from either.  In an instant, I expect a sudden burst of energy.  I expect to have the leash ripped from hands.

No, instead, Samson hops (no hobble) right between the squirrels.  The squirrels turn and look…but they aren’t fools, they run away promptly.  But no matter, Samson’s already past them.



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