A Tale too Tall to Tell

This tale is almost too tall to tell! I can hardly believe it happened myself. I was walking Callie yesterday morning, a beautiful Friday morning, when two young children by the name of Joaquin and Catalina came to join me. Joaquin, the older brother was 8 years old and Catalina, the younger sister was 7. They had witnessed Callie climbing a tree the day before and were hoping to see her do it again. It is really quite comical to watch because she is attached to my hand with the leash and halter. She can only go so far up the tree before she runs out of leash line and has to come to an abrupt halt. It takes us both by surprise and she is frequently stopped before she wants to be. The leash has a bungee cord, elastic texture to it, so it doesn’t hurt her, but it sure does the trick.

So Joaquin and Catalina decided to walk alongside me as we attempted to guess which tree Callie would choose to climb. She always stops at the base of a tree and looks it up and down before hesitating for a second or two before dashing swiftly up the trunk. We were having so much fun laughing together and joking about Callie, that I just had to ask them if they had a cat of their own? They responded with an emphatic “No, but they did have a Beta fish named Purple Fin that was a brilliant blue with shiny red fins!” “Red and blue make purple!” they exclaimed. I then asked them why they knew so much about cats? “Our cousin has a cat that lets us play with it!” both brother and sister chorused with enthusiasm.

We gave up on Callie ever picking out the right tree to climb because she had nestled down in a clump of grass and was doing her “wild jungle cat” routine, when a cheeky, brownish colored bird, sitting on a rock about 10 feet away caught our attention. I assured the two of them right away that I would not let Callie attack the bird. With Callie crouched down low in an attack, prey-model, style, I tugged on her leash as I said this, just to reinforce my control of the situation. The bird seemed to be staring at Callie and Callie had honed in on it too, because her tail was twitching spastically as the stare-down began.

After what seemed to be about 5 minutes or so, and while the 4 of us stood by quietly watching, it suddenly swooped down, and taking us all by surprise, tried to attack Callie right in the face. Callie defended herself by pouncing up with both front legs and claws extended in the air, she slapped at her attacker and flattening it to the ground. The pathetic thing started screaming and flapping its wings frantically while I was yanking on the leash and swatting at Callie’s head. It all happened in a blur but with a fluttering of wing feathers, the poor bird was finally able to make its escape and took flight with feathers slightly askew, and a little shaken for sure, but otherwise, unhurt.

The kids and I had all witnessed something really crazy and we were laughing hysterically and doubled over that a bird had just attacked a cat and not the other way around! We thought it was the funniest, most crazy thing we had ever seen! They then raced over to tell the wild story to their mother and father. This had more than made up for Callie not climbing a tree. As a matter of fact, this was better than Callie climbing a tree! After the kids ran off, I happened to look down at her by my feet and the poor thing was still in a crouched position, with eyes closed shut and in a state of shock. She wasn’t sure about what had just happened and seemed a little dazed and confused.

I picked her up right away, hugging her tightly to my chest, and while comforting her, headed to the RV to tell Michael all about it. She was chewing nervously like she sometimes does when she is frightened or hungry. Apparently, it was stressful for her too! (either that or she was really upset that she hadn’t killed the damn bird for having the nerve to attack her first!) She wanted to taste victory! Michael, of course, wanted to know if there was any proof in this outrageous story, and I had to tell him that there was simply no time to take a photograph. It had happened all too fast and I needed to rescue the bird in spite of it having attacked Callie first! I had 2 witnesses though! A brother and sister who would be sharing this tall tale with friends and family of their own for years to come. They too would be questioned about the truth of such an outlandish tale. I really wish I had taken a photograph!

Later that day, two rangers drove past in their truck while I was out walking Callie, and I flagged them down and asked them about what kind of bird it was and how it had attacked my cat! They both turned to each other and one of them thought that it might be a female starling. “Starlings are known for attacking dogs on leashes!” they replied with a laugh. Starlings have also been known to swoop down on people too if they are so inclined. They couldn’t believe a starling had attacked a cat though! The silly bird had probably never seen a cat on a leash before because neither of the Rangers had ever seen one either. “Is that really a cat on a leash?” they both asked incredulously while laughing loudly. They too were going to have to share this unbelievable story with their friends, and couldn’t wait to get back to share it.

A sweet footnote.

The next morning Catalina dropped by with her mother to check on Callie and to make sure I told the story all over again! Her mom had found it difficult to believe and had thought that just possibly her children had told a tall tale indeed! I quickly assured her that her children had told the truth! Catalina is also making a Callie Doll! She is learning to embroider and will stuff it and make a leash and collar too!

These drawings were created by another young artist that was camped next to us by the name of Tanya. She is only 5 years old and her favorite animal after ponies are cats!

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