Monday, November 30, 2009

Hawks (almost) Ate My Dingo!

Apparently, the Red-Tail Hawk population is hungry, here in Dennis, Massachusetts. A few weeks ago, a hawk tried to snatch a Tea-cup Terrier out of someone's arms during a backyard party, and Sunday, it was Simon's turn.

It was a beautiful day, so we decided to take the twins and the dog to Drummer Boy Park to play on the new playground equipment and work on Simon's social skills. There's a huge open space at the park, and people come from all over to run their dogs (and their kids).

We'd been there about an hour when I decided to tie Simon to the play structure. I took out my book and sat next to where he was tethered while he wandered around on his lead. Zoey was getting her new jeans filthy in the sand pit while Dan pushed Riley on the swings - it was all very Norman Rockwell, until I looked up.

"Hey, guys, look at the hawks!" I shouted. There were two of them soaring around in the distance. Suddenly, there were two more. "Dan! Look! Two more!" Dan and I love to watch birds, and he came over and stood next to me. We watched them circle and soar. Then one of them began to call, and another called back. "That's so cool!" Dan said, as he'd never heard them call before.

We stood there for a few minutes and it because slowly apparent that they were moving in our direction. "Huh, they seem to be getting closer," I said, and I glanced back at Simon, who was rooting in the dirt under the slide. Then, they were not only closer, they were noticeably LOWER. I moved towards Simon, wondering if the bad feeling I had in my stomach was just silly. Simon is a small dog, but at 10 pounds, he's hardly a Yorkie. One of the birds called again.

Dan and I glanced at each other, and I honestly can't remember if I said anything to him, or if he just picked up on the look on my face. "Um, huh, they're, um, close...." About a second later, one of the hawks tucked its wings and pointed its head towards the ground.

At this point, I was quite certain that these hawks were thinking that Simon was lunch, and I am not kidding when I say that I moved over to shield Simon and mentally prepared myself to become Tippi Hedren.

The bird started a shallow dive and then pulled up - and that was all I needed to see. Dan watched in amazement as the birds got closer still, and I tried not to freak out. "Hon, I'm taking Simon!" I unhooked him as fast as I could, scooped him up, and hustled him to the car. Simon, not a fan of being carried, stayed absolutely still as wrapped my arms around him and bent my back over him.

"Holy shit! They followed you towards the car!" Dan said as I walked back to the playground. "They took off as soon as you got the dog in the car." I looked up, and there was no sign of them at all. Another couple witnessed the whole thing, and they shook their heads in disbelief. "I think they were going to attack your dog. Wow."

This whole scene took less than 5 minutes, and I don't think the kids - or the dog - had any idea what was going on. I'll tell you what - it was one of the most surreal, frightening (and in the intellectual sense, cool), things I have ever encountered.

Holy crap.

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