Question: What do Elmer Fudd & Yogi Bear have in common?
Yes, they are both cartoon characters, but I was refering to our canine character, Yogi.
Answer: They are both obsessed with hunting Rabbits.
Yogi after a morning of chasing rabbits through the tall mustard
I mentioned in an earlier post that Yogi had fairly severe separation anxiety when we got him. He is much better now, but not completely cured. One thing that helps him through being alone, is if we can get him lots of running time and tire him out in advance. When we know we're going to leave him alone for any amount of time, I will usually take him to a vineyard somewhere to chase rabbits beforehand.
Yesterday, Cindy & I volunteered to work during the Taste of Yountville festival. It's a fun event where the main drag through "downtown" Yountville is closed off for food & wine booths, bands and entertainment for kids, too. At our booth, we sold wine glasses and tasting/food/entertainment tickets. The festival set attendance records yesterday. Our booth sold out of everything before the second shift took over. Yesterday morning, Knowing that Yogi would be home alone, I wanted to take him out for some excercise.
So as soon as it was light enough in the morning, I took him to some vineyards just off the intersection of Skellenger Lane and Conn Creek Road. I'm a self-proclaimed census expert when it comes to the local rabbit populations. These vineyards have an abundance of rabbits and several coyotes, too.
When I turn on the blinker to turn down Skellenger Lane, Yogi knows where we are going and he just can't contain his excitement. He immediately starts whining & barking. In my little CRV, it's hard on the ears. He is always very obediant when I tell him to quiet down, except when we are on our way to these vineyards.
Once there and I let him out, he needs to "mark" a few spots and take care of "business". Then his nose goes to the ground and he starts running. Then, he doesn't stop running until I put him back in the car. He will disappear into the vineyards and I may not see him for a few minutes. But he's good about checking in without me calling him. Sometimes, I'll see a rabbit cross the road in front of me, hopping from one vineyard block into another. I start counting and it might be as much as 15 seconds before Yogi appears following that rabbit's scent trail.
He never barks when chasing rabbits. If he happens to flush a rabbit at close range, he might let out one yelp of excitement and the chase is on. These vineyards all have trellis wires, with the lowest wire supporting irrigation drip lines. The lowest wires are usually around 18 inches above the ground (see photo at bottom). When Yogi can chase a rabbit parallel to the rows, he can run almost as fast as the rabbit. But when the rabbit changes direction and starts running under the wires, he must run under the wires, too. One vineyard that I took him to, had lower wires and he scraped all the hair off his chest going under the wires and rubbing his chest on the ground. When he chasing a rabbit under the wires, I can hear a ting, ting, ting as his back or tail hits the wires. When the Mustard is high, I can frequently hear him hitting the wires even though I can't see him. This evasion tactic slows Yogi down and always works for the rabbits.
I had him out earlier this month to chase rabbits. He disappeared in the vineyard way ahead of me. A minute later, I hear the ting, ting, ting of trellis wires behind me. I turned just in time to see Yogi maybe 10 feet behind a coyote. I got the feeling that neither Yogi nor the coyote were taking this chase too seriously - That Yogi was just in it for the fun of the chase and the coyote was just annoyed by this stupid dog. I called & whistled emphatically to get Yogi to give up the chase. I think Yogi could "hold his own" against one coyote if the coyote turned on him and things got serious. My concern was if there happened to be 2 or 3 coyotes in the area.
Even though Yogi is obssessed with chasing rabbits and laser lights, he has never caught either one. But his enthusiasm never wanes. And I really don't think he would know what to do, if he ever was to catch anything - It's all about the chase!
On this site, I intend to tell a few stories, share some family and Napa Valley history and maybe even educate a bit.
As a partner in Pina Cellars, I will write about wine and winery topics. As an employee of Pina Vineyard Management, I will write about vineyard topics. And occasionally, I will write about something unrelated to anything mentioned above.