8: Chi Chi and the Hungry Hawk

8: Chi Chi and the Hungry Hawk

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?

Chi Chi and the Hungry Hawk

Let sleeping dogs lie.

~American Proverb

My husband and our dog Chi Chi, an eight-pound Pekingese, were on our deck. When the weather is nice we often sit outside in the afternoon and watch the local wildlife. Our deck overlooks a large creek that is home to mallards, wood ducks, Canada geese and blue heron, not to mention an irascible resident muskrat and the occasional beaver. Our back yard is overrun with squirrels, chipmunks, and birds, lots and lots of birds.

Among the feathered freeloaders that hang around our place are a couple of red-tailed hawks that perch in the trees on the opposite side of the creek. They watch the goings-on in my yard with keen interest. They’d love to swoop down and devour one of our feathered or furry inhabitants, but they don’t dare. There is something scary standing in their way . . . me!

My husband and I have always enjoyed the nature show, but not so our dog. Chi Chi is oblivious. She couldn’t care less. We’d nicknamed her “Road Kill,” because of her unnerving habit of sleeping with her head down and front and back legs splayed out as though she’d just been run over by a truck. Most times she looks like a furry splat.

One day I was working at my computer when I heard my husband speak in a strained whisper. He sounded excited.

“Come outside. Quick! Hurry! You’ve got to see this!”

I went to the door and was surprised to see a large female red-tailed hawk perched on the deck railing, not ten feet from my husband.

“Get the camera!” my husband whispered, trying not to scare the hawk away. “We’ve got to get a picture of this.”

The hawk was behaving strangely. She had her back to my husband and was staring over the yard and creek. Every minute or so, she would sneak a look over her shoulder. At first I couldn’t figure out what she was doing. Then it hit me. The focus of her attention wasn’t my husband. It was the dog.

Chi Chi took no notice of the hawk. Her eyes were barely open. She was settling in for her late afternoon snooze, as opposed to her midafternoon siesta, or early afternoon nap. The dog was nearly narcoleptic!

The hawk kept turning its head in Chi Chi’s direction. With every glance, it inched closer to the semi-comatose canine.

It didn’t take a genius to see what was happening. It was mealtime and the hawk was hungry. Our little mutt was about to become the main course. To the hawk’s way of thinking, I couldn’t possibly object since the dog was practically dead already! She was doing me a favor disposing of the remains.

The hawk was ready to pounce when I charged out the door, yelling at the top of my lungs and waving my arms like a lunatic.

The startled hawk took off like a shot. She’d have to seek her dinner elsewhere.

My husband was furious with me until I explained what the hawk had been up to.

The commotion woke Chi Chi. Sleeping beauty opened one eye and glared at me, as if to say, “How rude!” Couldn’t I see she was trying to sleep? She closed her eye again, and a second later she was sound asleep.

That afternoon Chi Chi got a new nickname. We didn’t call her “Road Kill” anymore. From that day forward she was known as “Hawk Bait”!

~Mary Vigliante Szydlowski

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