Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Call of the Wild

Working in downtown Washington, DC, I often take a walk (Pappyless) down near the monuments at lunchtime. Yesterday I ran into a full-grown fox not 200 feet from the Lincoln Memorial.

I was only about 15 feet from him to start with, and I had one of those "wait a second" moments because the context was so odd. He was in a quiet spot next to some sidewalk construction, but I can't imagine how he got where he was without drawing a crowd. He ignored me, so I felt reasonably comfortable following him at a little distance as he meandered towards the Vietnam Memorial. He was very doglike, and I couldn't help but draw some comparisons to Pappy.

The fox was completely oblivious to people, and moved to a much busier area without any apparent notice. I guess he must be habituated to humans since he doesn't exactly live in the wilderness. The fox never glanced at anyone, even when kids started yelling about him. Pappy spends his life around people, but he is constantly vigilant for people and animals. On a walk, his head is on a swivel if there is anyone around or following behind us...always waiting on my command to kill or lick.

The fox was totally focused on squirrels, which, in turn, were pretty oblivious to him. He was carefully stalking them across the lawn, and then giving a little light chase at the end. In the same situation, Pappy would be storming across the lawn until every squirrel in the vicinity had retreated far up in the limbs-- but then he doesn't have to conserve much energy. I've never seen a trace of a stalking instinct, though he's quite a tracker. All the same, I doubt the fox would have much respect for Pappy's technique.


Gus said...

You do what you must to get the evil sqrrls.

macgoogle said...

To each doggie his own modus operatum.

Texas and his humans.

Pappy's Fella said...

I'm pretty sure Pappy's modus is more about wild abandon than gettin' sqrrls.