Now this dog. This dog doesn't have a cruel bone in her body. During this year's rutting season, I stopped carrying treats due to yellow jacket population. Without treats, Juno turned to her innate Siberian resolve of doing whatever she damn well pleases. Her recall slipped to the point where she would only wait for me at certain regrouping areas on our property trails. (Don't worry. The property is fenced in two areas to keep her from bolting into the road. The other two areas lead deeper into the forest.) One day she caught a scent and didn’t even flinch at her name. Loki stayed right next to me as instructed. When we came toward the trail-head, we saw Juno next to a large gray blob. I panicked and called her. She bounced half way to me with a huge smile on her face then back to the blob. Getting closer, I saw Juno sitting next to a young doe who was laying down. The doe’s head and neck were raised but her legs folded under her as if she was just taking a break. Juno sniffed at her ear with concern as if wondering why the doe wouldn’t move. She sat decisively by her with a big smile on her face that I recognized immediately to say, “Can we take her home, Mom? PLEASE?”
The doe looked unconcerned, relaxed even. Juno refused to leave the doe’s side. To retrieve Juno, I had to get inches within the doe’s face with the cracker leashed at my side. Unusually calm, Loki didn’t make a gesture toward the doe other than to take in her scent from where he stood. I attached Juno’s leash. There was no blood, no broken bones. She was fine, in fact, quite healthy. “No Juicy, we cannot take her home, she is already home in the forest,” I told her as I led her away.
"Juicy" is Juno's nick name. It came from calling her Juno Couture because she has designer jodhpurs like Juicy Couture. Then I shortened it to J.C. Then one day it came out half "Juno" and half "C" with "Ju-C" and eventually, just Juicy. She loves her nickname and always responds to it as well as to her original name. Even the vets call her Juicy.
The deer was in a freeze state of the stress response. I felt remorseful about being a part of it. When we returned from our walk, the doe was gone but I could see her white tail in the woods walking about. I’m not proud of Juno not recalling in the face of wild life, but I am amazed at her compassion for an animal she knows to be fleeing rather than surrendering. She may not feel the same for moles, but overall, she's the picture of compassion. She even cries in empathy for other dogs at the vet. Treats are back and regular recall games are played on our trail walks to remind Juno of what’s important—her Momma, the treat dispenser.
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