Grouse beater in the doghouse

Guest writer Lucy Parks continues her occasional blog about how Cypriot rescue dog Yella has adjusted to life in the Chilterns

IT WAS a beautiful summer afternoon and we’d taken the dogs – Yella and her daughter, Lumi – to what was one of our favourite spots: Shardeloes in Amersham.

As Lumi’s human mum and I sat on a bench, enjoying the view across Shardeloes lake and on to the Chilterns, we saw Yella belting across the field below us, having the time of her life.

WHO, ME?: Yella tries the cute and innocent look

And then realised that she was in hot pursuit of a brace of grouse. With equal horror and admiration we watched in almost slow motion as the birds flew away… apart from one, which decided to run rather than fly… and Yella caught it.

This was not Yella’s first rodeo. Although she now had all the home comforts she needed, Yella was still at heart a street dog. The first time this showed itself was when she was (unbeknownst to me) pregnant and obviously craving food. One of the cats caught and brought me a pigeon. Yella spotted it, grabbed it, rushed into the garden and ate the whole thing – feathers, bones, beak and feet. I could only watch in astonishment and Nancy, the cat, was furious.

A couple of days later on a walk down a wooded alleyway and Yella caught her own pigeon. In fairness, it must have been pretty dozey to have not flown off, but Yella had her prey. She ran off with it into the garden of a nearby large and rather fancy house and emerged without it only a few minutes later. From the mud on her nose and paws, I reckon she buried that one in someone’s garden…

PRIZE CATCH: Yella’s prey was shocked but unhurt

That afternoon in Shardeloes, Yella proudly brought us her catch. She growled when Lumi went near it but allowed me to see her wondrous prize: it was still alive and didn’t seem hurt (apart from being in the jaws of a small dog).

After some deliberation, we decided to seize a moment when Yella had dropped the poor bird to pop her lead on, drag her away from it and briskly leave the area. She wasn’t happy, though, and she never forgets.

Subsequent visits to Shardoes resulted in Yella returning to the scene of her crime in search of grouse – to the point that we can no longer go back there because, so single-minded she is in her determination, she’ll go missing for 20 minutes at a time exploring any faint sounds of rustling.

It’s a shame because it’s a lovely walk but, while the squirrels and deer she chases will always out-pace her, Yella the Street Dog just can’t be trusted when it comes to dopey game birds.

Lucy Parks lives in Amersham, in the glorious Chiltern Hills. She adopted Cypriot rescue Yella in July 2018, her first dog. A journalist by trade, Lucy left corporate life in 2018 and set up her business, Parkslife, as a freelance journalist and artist. She’s also a veterinary receptionist, allowing her to indulge in her love of animals. Click on these links to see her earlier posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Next time: How lockdown brought the dog-walking fraternity closer

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