not great

Today something bad happened, and I’ve been trying to decide if I wanted to post about it but I think I will because I think I need to write things down sometimes. Below the cut is a story about how Lumen and Mal /chasedhunted a kangaroo today. You don’t have to read it. You don’t have to offer advice. You can if you want to.


I took the dogs up to our favourite forest, Lu had her roo bells on and was just walking along with us- I thought maybe she was feeling sore for some reason since it isn’t like her to just walk. She was coming in and we did hand touches and everything was pretty good. She took off on me once after a smell and came back, so we continued on, and I left her off-leash.

We came up to the top of a hill and I looked through the trees and saw fields, and I thought: We should try and avoid the fields because roos tend to hang around near fields cos they go there to eat. We took one step down the hill, I saw Lu and Mal stiffen, and they were off – a mob of maybe 5 kangaroos down the hill taking off, too.

Loki stopped probably 75 meters away- he was torn as to whether he should keep going with his friends or if he’d gone too far from me. I managed to call him back and shovelled handfuls of food in his face while I clipped on his lead. Then I started calling Mal. Mal usually comes back first and once I have Mal, Lu isn’t usually far behind. I call him, and then I hear barking. I was thankful, at least, that it wasn’t ‘in pain or distress’ barking, but it was unfamiliar. At first I thought they’d come across a campsite with a dog in it or something, but as I took off at a run with Loki down the hill, twisting my ankle and trying not to fall over, I realised it was Mal. I thought maybe he was trapped, it was like that…

As I got closer, still calling his name incase he was trapped and trying to alert me, Lu joined in- she’d been quiet up until now so I thought that maybe he was trapped and she’d gone on, but she was barking the same way.

I came down the hill and spotted them – they were barking at a roo that was on the ground, sort of up against a big fallen tree.

The strangest thing was that as soon as Lu saw me, she came straight over. I didn’t even call her. She was calm when she came over though she didn’t focus on me or want treats, but it was as if to say: “Good, you’re here. Now what do we do with it?” Mal was more reluctant to come over than her. I got them both, leashed them and tied all 3 to a tree.

I went over to check on the roo, hoping that it was ok, that it’d just gone down or something…Somehow as they were chasing the roos, this one smashed its leg up- the bones were coming out of the skin, and it tried to hop away. Oh gosh it was so horrible. I called Nic in tears and of course the only message he heard was ‘dogs chased roos, bone coming out of leg’… I managed to get my message through and he called the Parks department people, got my GPS coordinates and let them know where it was. I didn’t stay for them to arrive, I didn’t want to answer questions about the dogs (though they’re allowed in the forest, they’re allowed off leash, but even still) and it seems like they didn’t get there for another 3 hours after I left so it would have been a long wait. I hope they found it, even if it was just to put it down… poor thing.

It’s just… so… fricken frustrating. Like, I just can’t see how she’s ever not going to be like this. And I know it was a freak thing that happened to the roo, but they chased it, they made it have to run- it could have been their leg, or something. I’ve been doing all this recallers stuff and in general I’ve seen a great improvement in Lu’s focus on me, she’s coming in more without me asking, she’ll actually stay with me for hand-touches and gives me the time of day, but she hunted an animal down. Is there any coming back from that? I’m not sure if there is. And I feel like a little part of my heart is broken for her, and for Mal- he was involved, too. But I know that without Lu he would have come back, or at least he wouldn’t have gotten as bad as he has…They made this happen, and by extension, I let this happen… I don’t even know how long they would have run for this time- they got a long way before that roo went down… how much further would they have gone if they hadn’t have ‘caught’ it?

And it’s frustrating because at home she’s the coolest dog, she’s sweet and she’s silly and she makes me laugh but she becomes something else when we go out into a forest… it’s been so cool seeing more of ‘home Lumen’ when we’re out, but maybe this forest was too much… too many smells, too much freedom, not enough trails to stick to…I suppose for a while now I just need to keep her on leash, just keep working through the games.. try and find some kangaroos to do crate games or something around.

I don’t know. I just hate this.


2 thoughts on “not great

  1. It’s sad when stuff like that happens, but I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself or Lu. One of my dogs has killed four groundhogs plus a rabbit in the last few weeks, and yea, I need to re-work his recall training because right now he’s convinced hunting varmints more fun than cheese. (I don’t blame him!) Some dogs just live to chase wildlife and it’s a lot harder for them to switch that off. I’d love it if I had a dog like my sister’s, who can look at a deer running nearby and not take off after it. Sigh. But he’s a dog that loves to chase critters, I can’t really judge that, it is what it is, just back to do a bit more training so he doesn’t go after the animals that can actually do HIM harm. 🙂

    • Em says:

      Hi Julie. Thanks for your comment. You’re right, she really loves to chase wildlife, I don’t think she’s ever actually been able to physically HEAR me once she’s in hunt mode because I used to be able to recall her out of every other situation ever. Just not with animals.
      My Mal used to sort of trundle toward the animals but then I could call him off mid chase. Apparently he’s not so great at that any more. I know it’s so so instinctual in them – of COURSE they want to hunt! Just… it doesn’t necessarily work for US. 😉

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