Bigfoot and Nosey
Bigfoot grew rapidly that first year, as German Shepherds tend to do. He was an outdoor dog and we fed him mostly table scraps and an occasional treat snagged out of the refrigerator. He supplemented his own diet by chasing and catching mice, rabbits and even the occasional squirrel, when he could catch one.
He was a good mouser and I’ve sat and watched him stand in a field of high grass, looking down, but with his ears perked up, listening one way, and then another. He would look a bit to the left, then a bit to the right, and then with a quick bound, would launch himself straight up to come down with both forepaws in a place slightly in front of where he had been seconds ago. If he missed, he’d start listening and looking again.
Sometimes a few blades of grass would twitch slightly ahead of him and one which jump would bring him down where the grass was moving, where he’d begin listening and looking again. This ritual repeated itself, often for a long several minutes, until either he caught the field mouse, or lost track of it altogether. It was fun to watch. I have sat in a deer blind and watched a red fox exhibit the exact same method in chasing field mice.
I often wondered how he caught something as agile and fast as a squirrel, but I’ve seen him carry them home and eat them, so I know he was successful. Rabbits were a no-brainer. If they were too far from cover, and Bigfoot spotted them, he’d sneak in as close as possible and launch himself into a sprint that was faster than the rabbit could react and reach the underbrush.
Bigfoot was a big, fast, intelligent dog and could outmaneuver, or outsmart, most of what he went after.
And that brings us to Nosey. If you’ve already read my story about The Demoniac Cat, then you are familiar with Nosey. If you haven’t read it, it’s still on my blog and you can go read it, and perhaps the follow up story as well. In brief, however, Nosey was one of the very few cats we ever had, and the only one that I actually liked. Naturally, Bigfoot hated Nosey.
I have to ponder the timeline here, because the lines are blurred to me of just how much the time of having Nosey and the time after Bigfoot overlapped. Nosey was full grown the first I can recall them interacting.
They met on the porch.
Nosey was sitting against the door of the old trailer. He was minding his own business and just being a cat, licking himself clean, when a young Bigfoot rambled up the driveway ahead of me and ran up the steps, to stop dead at the sight of an orange and white cat, something he had apparently never seen before.
Bigfoot stopped and looked at the cat, and began to sniff the air around it. He turned his head and looked back at me as if to question me: “Ok, what is it? Where did it come from? And what’s it doing on my porch?
“Well Bigfoot, meet Nosey. He’s our cat.”
Bigfoot turned to sniff again and got a little closer. This time, he must have violated Nosey’s personal space, because all the sudden the mad-cat act started, as Nosey arched his back and stepped back and began to hiss at Bigfoot. It was a spectacle to see as a young dog was crowding an older, well established male cat. Bigfoot stepped closer and tried to investigate this strange new creature. Being young and ignorant was not going to serve him well in this encounter.
Nosey stepped back and hissed again, but louder. Bigfoot was getting a bit excited and his tail showed it, as it went into slow-wag mode. He stepped in for another sniff, but Nosey was running out of room to back up. He hissed one more time and then in a lightning-quick defensive swipe, reached out and raked his claws across Bigfoot’s nose!
Bigfoot took a sudden step back in hurt surprise and shook his head. Then in very quick succession, growled and jumped back at Nosey, going for the quick kill.
Nosey apparently had seen this reaction before though because he was already on the move and all Bigfoot got was a mouthful of empty air.
Nosey went off the backside of the porch in an orange blur as Bigfoot came after him. Bigfoot hesitated to jump after him from the porch, and in fact did not, but rather turned and came off the steps to race after the rapidly retreating cat, who was by this time halfway to the poplar tree in our front yard.
Bigfoot never even came close, as Nosey hit the tree running and climbed up several limbs high in the tree. The lowest limbs were twelve or fifteen feet up and Nosey was safely out of reach. I dragged Bigfoot away, but he kept going back.
He couldn’t climb up, and Nosey was certainly not coming down. So they had themselve a long stand-off around the tree. Eventually Bigfoot got tired and wandered off, and sometime later when no one was around the cat finally felt safe to climb down.
The unpleasant introduction apparently set the stage for their entire relationship, and Bigfoot stalked Nosey at every opportunity. Nosey, for his part kept a wary eye on the dog. They kept a respectful distance for the most part, but occasionally Bigfoot got close enough to give chase and treed the cat for hours at a time.
It wasn’t too long after this that the demoniac cat attacked me, perhaps for bringing in that big mean dog, who just kept getting bigger and faster as he grew. The cat ran away but the dog never quite got over that introduction to cats, and he became a terror on the stray cats that came through.
I think Nosey was close enough around our home that Bigfoot gave him chase periodically, and in another story, I have already told of their last known encounter.
Bigfoot never really accepted cats at all, but in his final years, my sister Brigetta had a few cats, that he just didn’t bother to chase. Either he knew he couldn’t catch them, or the thought it was not worth the trouble.
Big foot and Nosey only overlapped for a short while at our home down on the river, maybe as much as a couple of years total, but it was interesting watching their never ending game of Survivor, and how they watched each other; Bigfoot for that one opportunity, and Nosey for that fine margin of safety that made the difference between living and being obliterated by a revenge-driven angry German Shepherd.
I’m actually glad that as far as I know Bigfoot never caught Nosey, and both of them eventually lived out their lives and died of old age.