Rocket Boy!

Ray impresses me in so many ways. Of course, he being my first dog probably means that I am easily impressed however, at this moment I am just thinking about his sprint capacity! I have watched him take off after a squirrel, and seen him charging around the garden at high speed having a “zoomie”, and can only admire both his power and his style.

I really should not be surprised by his power, after all he is half my weight and has twice as many legs so his relative performance should perhaps be high. As for his style ………………… beautiful! I am slightly envious of that because I have done a lot of running over the years and never have I heard my style described as beautiful!

When Ray is charging around the garden at high speed, he appears to become totally oblivious to minor obstructions such as flowering shrubs, annuals, perennials and small trees. On many an occasion I have watched a well formed leafy shrub absorb the impact of “rocket boy”, and while “rocket boy” came away unscathed, the plant was not so lucky. I know that the whole garden must get really nervous as soon as Ray takes off! How do I know?

One afternoon a month or two ago now, I was out in the garden and sitting on a bench near the house enjoying a cup of tea and watching Ray explore the garden as he often does. No doubt there were squirrel and chipmunk trails to be followed, and perhaps a racoon or skunk had passed through during the night. Our garden has a number of blind spots which means that Ray will often disappear from view for short periods of time. On this particular occasion, Ray did disappear but did not reappear as expected. I was not initially concerned as he had clearly found something of interest but, the more I thought about it, the more I thought perhaps I had better see just what that interest was!

I stood up, with my cup of tea in hand, and started walking towards where I thought he might be when suddenly there he was, coming straight at me at a speed which could probably have given him lift off if he had wings! Within a fraction of a second of seeing Ray’s front profile, head down, ears back, front legs reaching forward and back legs going to a full extension, I saw the rabbit a few feet in front of him. The rabbit decided to head for a small gap between me and a cedar hedge and of course “rocket boy” was close behind. The rabbit missed my leg by inches as he went through the gap and then made a 90 degree turn to escape under our gate. Ray of course followed him right up to the gate before stopping.

How did he get through the gap without hitting me? Why did I still have a cup of tea in my hand? I don’t know the answers, but I do know that I was expecting to be knocked down much like a pin in a bowling alley and, if our garden plants felt half the sense of impending doom that I felt when faced with an oncoming Ray (perhaps incoming Ray would be more accurate?), they would be really nervous! As for the rabbit? I have to admire his power and turning ability. I really should not be surprised by his power because those large back legs propelling such a light weight frame would dictate a high performance, but managing such a precise, tight and high speed turn was pretty awesome. It also probably saved his life.