Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Hazards of Being an American Dog

American terrier work is its own bird. Our quarry is is a bit different (raccoons, groundhogs, and possums being indigenous to our shores), our tools and techniques are a bit different (our digging bars are longer than those in the U.K., we use snare and coontongs to avoid rabies), and even our settes are a bit different (we have no earthen settes as large or as cavernous as the badger settes of the U.K.).

American terrier work has its owns hazards, of course. For one thing, we have skunks (got into one on Sunday while out digging with Larry M.) whose lethal spray can kill a dog in minutes.

We also have rabies.

In the deep South we also have alligators, and throughout the West and parts of the South and Southwest we have rattlesnakes and porcupines.

And of course, coyotes are everywhere now, while mountain lions and bears are increasingly common in huge swaths of this country.

Though most dogs live their entire lives without encountering any of these "field hazards," if you are out and about enough, you may yet run into one. There is nothing to be done but to be prepared, have a working knowlege of what to do in case of a medical emergency, and carry a credit card without a limit.


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