Wednesday, March 12, 2008

vulpes vulpes

High: 33°F
Low: 21°F
Conditions: Light snow. Accumulation of 1-3 inches.
Even if the weather forecast doesn’t seem like it, spring is definitely here. We’re starting to see running water on the roads and in the wetter parts of the forest. There are buds on some of our favorite trees. Most noticeably, though, is the light: not only is there more of it, but it’s both more golden and more intense.

The latest animal to respond to this planetary shift is the red fox (vulpes vulpes). We’ve seen their tracks throughout the winter, but they’ve been few and far between. All of a sudden, though, proof of the fox is everywhere.

When I say proof what I really mean is scat. It’s unmistakable: about an inch or two long, with tapered, stringy ends and a greasy sheen.

As many of you know, fox scat is Ari’s very favorite thing. I find it disgusting. She once contracted a nasty parasite getting too intimate with a particularly rank sample. But she doesn’t care about either of these facts. As far as Ari is concerned, fox scat is the most perfect substance on the face of the planet. She lives to eat it and, on the very rare occasion when she’s too full, rolling in the scat offers an acceptable consolation prize for the caninaturalist.

Does it matter that I find this behavior disgusting? No. Or that she might get sick? Nope. Or that my house smells like fox poo this time of year? Uh-uh. Ari is hooked.

We’ve been to a lot of dog school classes. We understand the concept of “leave it.” But we’re also proponents of positive reinforcement training. And there’s the problem: no treat in my pocket could possible equal what Ari is finding on the side of the road. I know this. She knows this. And so, our walks are a crazy serpentining of two stubborn individuals with very different ideas about what constitutes a delicacy.

Clearly, we’re at a cognitive impasse.

But I did come one step closer to understanding Ari’s fascination on a recent trip to Boise, Idaho. There, in a downtown park, I spied this guy enjoying a wholesome breakfast of dead squirrel.
That’s when something clicked. Red squirrels: Ari’s second biggest obsession. When she’s not scolding them for raiding our birdfeeders, Ari spends most of her time trying to catch them. Maybe that’s part of the appeal of the fox scat: even recycled, it still resembles squirrel. Fox + Squirrel = Heaven for Ari, regardless of the form.

This doesn’t really console or appease me. And it’s not exactly the image of spring I had in mind. If digested squirrel is what the approaching season is about, I’ll take the groundhog’s frigid prognosis any day.


Marigold said...

Oy and EWWWWWWWWW!!! Goats have more couth.

jan said...

My little dogs discovered a cache of fox scat on one of our treks. They rubbed it all over themselves in a kind of behavior I would never have believed. They didn't eat it, I think they wanted it to last as long as possible.

It took weeks to get the scent out of the car. Ewww is an understatement.

The Army of Four said...

Speaking of good eats ....
(Hey, to each his/her own!)
We're going to post Mom's banananana cake recipe (for humans) Friday. The lemon bars are here: They're realllllly wonderful. And easy.
Play bows,

-The Mullin Clan's Mommy- said...

Hi-Woo Ari,
Glad that you stopped by our bloggie. We will add yur name to our friends' list. Hope you do the same wif ours.
-Cosmos & Juneau-

Turbo the Sibe said...

We haven't seen any foxes running around on our land in a couple years. sigh...

Me & my puppies said...

Yes, our canine friends do have some repulsive habits. My guys seem to think the barn is the dessert bar at a buffet. It’s full of delicious “goodies”.

Gus and Louie said...

Louie and I like cat cookies. Mom thinks it is disgusting too..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus and Louie

Pippa said...

Squirrels, foxes - I think i am missing out Ari.


Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

...and mud season will soon be upon you!

WOW - another red(d) fox(x) - The Overland Park Pakhk in Kansas was all rattled the other night - their mom figured out why when her daughter and others said they saw one in the neighborhood!

Keep on trakhking!


JB's Big World said...

That is you think Ari can really tell that the squirrel was eaten by the fox and that is why she is obsessed with fox poop? A certain aroma or something? I have never heard the word scat before. Very interesting!

Maverick the Pirate said...

Harrrr Ari
That fox looked like it be up to no good Harrrr.
Cap'n Maverick the Pirate

Kapp pack said...

I think I would love to roll in that scat!

Kisses, Sky boy

PKPWV said...

I agree with Gus and Louie, I eat cat chocolates and mom isn't pleased when I do-she thinks it's disgusting!!!


*birdy* said...

I so seriously love ur blog, Ari!! such adventures!! such fun! wat a life!

Velvet the alpha bitch

Simba said...

The fox looks cute, until you realise its munching on dead squirrel.

Simba x

Eve said...

So THAT'S what this love of poop is all about!!!

here's a tip...Don’t put Tabasco sauce on non-edibles to deter anyone from relishing their favorite treat. You’ll just end up with someone who forever makes a very funny face before taste testing any meal...just a thought...

umekotyan said...

Good evening Ari.
The fox runs.
And, the squirrel is a conclusion of the feeding chain.
It is rich nature here.

from loved ume tyan

G Man said...

Wow, the fox eats the squirrel and 'in the end' you have the perfect snack food!


Gussie said...

Fox poo ... every dogs favourite perfume. yeybijmt

Fay said...

I had the Jacks out to play one day when one of them dropped and started rolling around. The other Jack was watching and then tried to roll too. I was relieved that it was deer scat, but it still smelled. Both Jacks had to be bathed and still had an odor. I can't imagine fox odor! Ick!

Turbo the Sibe said...

Ha roo! I have reached your blog on my trek to visit every blog on the Dogs With Blogs site! Woooo!

Indy said...

I myself am partial to kitty crunchies (that's what mom calls the kitty poop I try to eat out of the litter box).