When I was but a lad, my uncle had a dog named Ajax. I don’t remember much about Ajax…maybe generally that he was some kind of lab/mutt, and his name made me thing about the household cleaner that was kept below the sink. Ajax had a problem, though. He chased deer. Well, I guess chasing the deer wasn’t as bad a problem as the fact that he sometimes caught them. This wasn’t a “tag, you’re it” kind of catch, either. This was a come-home-with-a-bloody-muzzle kind of catch. Unfortunately, he never dragged the carcass home for us to feed off. Also unfortunately, Ajax was unwilling to admit he had a problem, and therefore he had to be put down.
Now, all this reminds me of my dog, Lorelei. She’s a Norwegian Elkhound, which means she looks almost exactly like this. It also means her heritage includes:
Comrade to the Vikings, guardian of lonely farms and saeters, herder of flocks and defender from wolves and bear, a hunter always and roamer with hardy men, the Norwegian Elkhound comes down to us through more than six millennia with all his Nordic traits untainted, a fearless dog and friendly, devoted to man and the chase.
So I was thinking, “What would ever happen if I let her off the leash or out of the yard?”
Man, if I let up for even a minute, that dog is gone. She’s done it before. Once out of the fence, she terrorizes the local elk population. If I don’t reign her in with the ‘peanut butter inside a moose femur’ trick, she would decimate Maine’s wild populations. Not only the elk, but wolves and bears as we read above. Without wolves, the sheep population would skyrocket and all our lush greenery would disappear to their masticating mandibles. Without bears, the salmon population would positively overflow out of the rivers. There would be fish flopping onto land and into houses, only to die from lack of usable oxygen. I won’t even go into what would happen if the bears didn’t keep our berries and honey populations in check.
Without elk in the state…well, I don’t really know the purpose of elk. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure we have any around, but that’s not really the point now is it? You surely understand by now the reason Ajax had to be put down as well as you understand the civic duty I take on daily by keeping my dog from roaming free in the Maine wilderness.
Plus I wouldn’t want her to get hit by a car. Those things are dangerous!