Sasha Raptor

My Beagle/Labrador mix, Sasha, is the sweetest dog but agile as a cheetah!
My Beagle/Labrador mix, Sasha, is the sweetest dog, but pounces on her prey like a cheetah.

Rusty and Sasha, my two rescue dogs, enjoy marking their territory as many times as possible when they go out to potty. Rusty, lifts his leg countless times during the evening walk, and pretends to wet light poles and trees even if not a drop comes out.

Although Sasha is female, she also squats like she has incontinence, and leaves her scent every where. I never noticed this trait of her personality until recently, but I assumed that maybe it was part of her aging process. Heck, I go to the bathroom at least 30 times a day! 

However, this past weekend another reason explained her frantic need of marking her territory. On Saturday afternoon my husband, my son, and I had a BBQ at a friend’s house and came back home around nine p.m. After my son was packed away in his bed like a “chicken burrito”, I went to my room to watch Legally Blonde for the 1000th time. My husband walked in, rolled his eyes, and said “Not again!“, even though he immediately sat on his easy chair in the family room to watch The Sopranos for at least the 999th time.

Around midnight I got up, walked to the front door, and called the pups to go potty for the last time. I hadn’t opened the door completely, when Sasha, all of a sudden, squeezed her long body through the door, and leaped straight into the bushes stretching her body like a cheetah!

It was very dark so I ran inside and turned the flood lights on, but all I could see were the bushes outside the office window shaking like cheering pom poms. The bushes rattled violently like that scene in Jurassic Park when the hunter is attacked by a velociraptor in the woods, while the girlfriend of the main character runs for cover in a shed. Nerve wrecking.

Woken up by my screaming, my husband came to the door half asleep asking “What, what, what?” as I continued yelling for Sasha. Finally, the “abominable” monster came out of the bushes running for his life. It was an armadillo. He immediately hid under my husband’s GMC truck and probably died of a heart attack because Sasha kept scratching the ground with one paw trying to reach him.

I pulled Sasha by her collar, got her inside the house, and gave her an ear full: “Are you crazy? What if you got scratched or bitten? Don’t you ever do that. Never!” As I closed the crate doors Rusty looked at me probably thinking “Take it easy Mom. Sasha is a badass“.

The next morning, I took the puppies out with their leashes on because I didn’t want Sasha to go nuts again. Even though I knew that armadillos are nocturnal creatures –because of their poor eyesight and hunting habits– I still worried. Putting the armadillo incident aside, Sasha’s reaction surprised me like never before. She is the sweetest, most gentle dog you’ll ever meet. She always looks at you like the Spanish cat Puss, from Shrek, with big almond watery eyes begging for your attention. Therefore, seeing her transform into this “hunting beast” was bewildering.

When we adopted her in 2009 –a Saturday afternoon at the Jacksonville’s Animal Care and Protective Center— Sasha was a year and a half old pup, whose rib cage popped through her skin, had had a littler of puppies a couple of weeks prior, and was Heart Worm positive. She was found in the street and would have died if not rescued. She is a beautiful dog and knows what a second chance means. Her loyalty is paramount and she would kill for us if needed.

The lesson she taught me this week is to always be alert and aware of your surroundings. No matter how safe our lives seem, never take things for granted. Evil is around us, and it is always waiting to pounce on the perfect distracted victim. I don’t want to sound apocalyptic or anything like that, but maybe it’s a good idea to read the local news, and instead of searching about the Bruce-Caitlyn Jenner sex transformation, find out what’s going on in Baltimore or Chicago for example.

I bet Sasha smelled the armadillo days before the “battle” and she was preparing for the encounter. If she was like many of us, she would have taken a “selfie” with the armadillo instead of chasing him out of our yard! Just keep your eyes open, mark your territory, and be ready to jump in the bushes if an intruder threatens your way of life.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

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