A Valentine’s Day story about a dog and a bird

My Valentine’s Day started with an Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle clamor.

Bed to floor to French doors to bed to my face. Get. Up. Da!

I know the language of our beloved 4-year-old rescue mutt well.

The 7:30 a.m. door-open resulted in a quicker exit than usual, and Ellie B scampered haphazardly around the back porch instead of beelining to the porch door to await her release to the backyard of the Little Bitty shared by my dear wife Karen and I in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood.

My puzzlement was quickly answered by the flutter of two sets of wings, owned by a pair of black birds who had decided the inch opening left because of accumulated snow was an invitation to explore what-was-what inside those screens.

Ellie B remembers the search for porch birds.

Ellie B remembers the search for porch birds.

Ellie B hopped about, the birds flew hither and yonder, I watched, phone/iPad cameraless but ready to direct this early-morning drama to a safe and happy ending for all involved, I schemed, hoping to fully open the door and wave my own arms in such a manner as to coax both birds back to the great outdoors.

Then an Ellie B leap snagged a bird in her mouth.

Gently, surprisingly, oh-so-gently.

The dog looked at me with both pride and a sense of wonder.

I told her to take the bird outside. Dogamous Pyle trotted down the steps, holding the stock-still, smart bird.

I told her to let the bird go. Dogamous Pyle opened her mouth, and off flew the bird, up and over the fence as Ellie B watched, stock-still, smart dog.

Are the birds up there?

Are the birds up there?

She rushed back up on the porch to chase bird two. But I was able to wave the partner out the door before Ellie B was able to snag it.

The dog followed that bird out the door and went about her usual business. Wow. I thought of the old Charlie Brown cartoons, of Snoopy and Woodstock, dog and bird getting along. I know our rescue mutt has plenty of shepherd in her because of her natural beauty, but these senses of hunting and grace makes me wonder more about the other breeds mixed in.

Later on, I grabbed my iPad Air, let Ellie B back out on the porch for business Round Two, and said, “Where are the birds, Ellie B?” A reenactment, of sorts.

Did they go under the steps?

Did they go under the steps?

The dog’s search was short but thorough, including under the porch steps. She got over it when I called off the dog.

Have you seen your dog interact with a wild bird? Have you seen any dog catch a bird in the wild? What did you think Ellie B was going to do with the bird?

70 thoughts on “A Valentine’s Day story about a dog and a bird

  1. What a good doggie she is, releasing the bird on command. She must have great trainers. My brother-in-love’s yellow lab loved squirrels. There was no stopping him and no getting him to release. It was better not to watch. πŸ™‚


  2. If you sub “cat” in for “dog,” my answer is yes. A few years ago, Larry had the kids at his parents for the weekend and the house was blissfully quiet. The minute they returned home, our cat dashed out the front door, grabbed a bird and took the head off. (sorry! I know you like to keep this family-friendly) My peace and tranquility was shattered.

    Your pictures are lovely. What a wonderful friend you have in Ellie B.


    • OK, stop about the family-friendly, Liz. Your stories neither shock nor horrify me or any reader here, I am quite sure. And I am not stuck in PG-ville anyhow. Category: Life. Life = messy and dirty and whatever. In moderation, of course. πŸ™‚

      Your cat, Liz. Just being a cat. My former cat Dusty, which I got back from my ex in the years I lived in the trailer on the rural road in dairy country, left the dead rodents at the foot of my recliner, proudly.


  3. u tell a smooth story M – and I can see the shepherd in her too – gorgeous.
    many years ago – our black lab had a baby bird in its mouth and the exact thing happened as you note here- the instinct inside seemed to clash with some reason or listening to us…

    We saw the little birdie on and off the fence ledge all week – its mom and siblings were in the trees that line the “back” of the fence.
    and had I known the baby dropped into our yard – we would have scooped him back over. anyhow, when the dogs were let out a short while later – our black lab bolted to that area – and had the baby bird in his mouth (it was gentle – but not gentle enough the next two times)
    because my son ordered him to “drop it” and he did – but then picked it up again (instinct) and then I think I chimed in – and he dropped it again – but he was such a confused pup.

    and I do think his heritage played a role – he comes from a line of hunting dogs – he has a spot on his tongue and is not in the upper categories for whatever it is they measure – and all the more why we love him – but he chases shadows on the fence for hours and you can feel his need to want to collect birds – anyhow, he was easy to train and so he was being a good listener with this bird – but just confused and so excited with the baby bird – but because he was confused and instinctively did what doggies do – we ended up having to bury the bird under some rocks and leaves and my boys and I had a talk about life cycles and all that.

    anyhow, I am glad your story had a happy needing. πŸ™‚
    and still thinking “my that is a lot of snow… ” – ❀


    • Dogs try so hard. That is what we love about them, no, Y? Your lab baby sounds like a darling pup who was enthusiastic and that did the bird in. When Ellie B was a pup, her energy also would have done this bird in, too. She was so rambuctious.

      Thanks for your kind words on my storytelling. I liked what I had to say here.

      By the way, do you wish that I call you Yvette, or that I stick with Y? I have seen folks use both on your blog.

      And, yes, so dang much snow here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • could you please use anonymous blogger 4264 – ha! just kidding – and whatever comes natural is what I prefer – and for some reason whenever you do use the “y” it reminds me of Doobs (again) and a few other bloggers that use it – which I think happened when I shared that nick name last spring – but then some bloggers use P or even prior – and I love that too and well, not to ramble – but a hacker was following me around and I started going by only prior last spring and thought about shutting down my blog to start an anonymous one – but then I just felt empowered to keep my name and to keep going (to not be bullied out of fear from online predators) but to also use wisdom and practice safety too.

        anyhow, I like how you address you readers with their names – it is a warm touch –


      • I have a different relationship with everybody on here, Y, and that’s how it grows, through talking through comments. In any case, Y it shall remain. Sucks to learn you were stalked on your own dang blog. Good to learn you decided to stand up and refuse to be bullied! To hell with them.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Whew! FINALLY. Made it back. Thought I was going to get to even more posts tonight, but this’ll be it, this round. And DANG, Mark, do you post daily? There’s no way I’ll ever keep up. I can’t even keep up with the bloggers I follow who post weekly…

    i really enjoyed this post. So cute. What a sweet dog, and obedient. Could be the breeding, too. This is how retrieving dogs SHOULD be with birds. No piercing of the skin.

    Here’s the tale it reminded me of–told second-hand, though: My friend Millie, the one that Geezers Did-Die Hospital here in L.A. tried their best to kill due to effing ageism (don’t know if you read that post–it STILL gets me mad) was with her husband at the house of some very close friends. They owned a standard poodle–possibly the most intelligent dog breed. Another couple had brought along their pet, a parakeet, which was quite tame–nuzzling into their necks, and so forth.

    At some point during the evening, Millie looked across the room and noticed, to her horror, two long white tail feathers extending from the poodle’s mouth. Unable to speak, she simply raised an arm and pointed. Her hosts followed her finger with their eyes.

    “Princess, come here” said the woman, quite calmly. And the dog did. She put out her hand, palm up. “Give me the little birdie, Princess.” And the dog did. She opened her mouth and the little bird dropped, lifeless, into the woman’s palm.

    Everyone at the party simply stared at the sopping wet mass of feathers. Then the female half of the couple who owned the bird began to sob. Millie told me that she almost began to cry as well.

    Suddenly, the sodden lump moved! It shifted! It…stood up! A towel was fetched. Once a gentle drying was complete, all could see that the bird was perfectly, entirely unharmed. As is to be expected, with proper retrieval technique.

    Good dog!

    Just like yours πŸ™‚


    • Great story, Babe. My Ellie B had good bird manners bred into her. We have a good rescue mutt. πŸ™‚ The things you discover little-by-little are a delight. Sometimes.

      Yes, I post daily. My choice. Of course there’s no need for you to visit except when you can and want to, without stress. Obligation- and stress-free zone here, Babe.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We used to have a lake where I grew up and a rowing boat. The lake was full of stock fish. I would take my Labrador in the boat as a kid and throw food for the fish in the lake once in the middle. Often I would get told
    Off but I loved seeing the ripples as they all rose to the surface. One day my dog jumped in amongst the ripples and caught a fish slap bang down its mouth. I saw it. In the commotion I don’t know whether it went down or out lol


  6. We had German Shepherds on the farm Mark, but I never saw them chase birds. Never saw them chase anything, for that matter. They were just plain pets while we were home. Different story when we were not at home, as one gas delivery man can tell you, but unless we were being threatened, they were sweet. I DiD see them being chased by Blue Jays though. Those are mean birds, and a flock of them can kill a dog, or a person for that matter. Poor baby had to dive into the pond to get them to back off.

    We had cats that were afraid of mice, dogs afraid of birds and cats, kids afraid of nothing, me afraid to look out the window because I knew I would not like what I saw. A raccoon that ate with the coon hound. Life was so much fun out there. Of course, there was the morning I started breakfast and stepped barefoot on that dead rat—-


  7. I was a little nervous that Ellie B might hurt the bird. Glad it turned out ok. One day I came home to find my daughter very upset. She seemed afraid to tell me and started to cry as she did tell me. Our cat had caught a baby bird and carried it in the house in her mouth. My daughter had been able to get the cat to give it up. I told my daughter it was ok and that we would take the bird to our local animal shelter, which we did.


  8. She cannot fight her DNA to put it in her maw. What control she had. I’ve seen our dog go up to a lizard in the yard and swat his face for a few minutes teasingly and then boom–rip his head off. Then he didn’t even eat it. Just left that little kelly green lizard in the yard to dry up in the sun. So happy valentine’s day, Mark. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My dad had hunting dogs. He hunted ducks and quail. Seeing a dog with a bird in his mouth was pretty common for me and I thought nothing of it. Never seen a wild dog with a wild bird before.


  10. Our dog, Shadow, is a mix of German shepherd and Labrador retriever. And she definitely goes after birds. If she spots one on the ground while on the leash, she will spring after it and nearly tear your arm off in the process. And while off-leash, she will pursue any winged creature — bird, duck, goose — whose scent she might note. She is also “attracted” to squirrels and moles. Fortunately, she has yet not been able to grab bird or beast, and, I am not sure how gentle she would be on her prey if she did.


  11. She probably would have played with it until she accidentally killed it, as is the case with most dogs and cats with rodents. Although, it’s likely the bird would have flown away before that happened. Once again, this conjures a story of when I was elementary school, maybe 3rd grade, and a bird flew into our classroom. All the kids were super excited but of course the teacher had to get it out. In guiding the bird out, the heavy window closed down on the bird and it died. Yep, ain’t it wonderful how your blogs inspire these stories in me?


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