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One of the cutest things that Bowpi does is chase birds.

It’s not an activity I encourage or allow in contested parks (cf. the ongoing battle between the Golden Gate National Recreation Area vs. off-leash dogs), nor with “special” and protected birds like the Great Blue Heron often seen at one of our parks.

Crows and pigeons though? Game on!

She’s fast, but I don’t think she’ll ever actually catch one. That doesn’t seem to be the allure for her. It’s enough fun to make them scatter, and then she slackens when they’re in flight. Yet, her steps are temporarily buoyed with satisfaction, knowing she made them go.

Then again, I have watched her deliberately try to sneak up on a crow, then charge with the apparent intention to get as close as possible. I don’t know what she would do if she ever succeeded in making contact. A novel protein for dinner?

Now, I once gloated about being able to call the Bows off a running rabbit who was loose at the off-leash park. There have been a couple more rabbit sightings since, and the Bows remained shockingly well-behaved. Today, however, Bowdu stumbled across a fairly large one who bolted from its crouching spot when he brushed rather close, about 10 or 15 feet away. It was like Bowdu was yanked by a fishing pole — he was instantly after the rabbit, following down the hill and well out of bounds of the off-leash area.

I called him a couple times, and managed one half-assed rattle of the treat tin. However, it was pretty obvious that he was beyond reasonable earshot and his head was in some zone even further away. He lost the rabbit soon enough, and stayed perched in the distance on some never-explored hill, engaged in full I’m Ignoring You mode.

Luckily, the whole park is basically secure, even if Bowdu was running free in an area where he technically wasn’t supposed to be. Chasing after him would just encourage him to push further, so I stayed behind and waited. He came back after about five minutes, at most.

What I learned today was that even “old” Shibas can still surprise you with their prey drive, even when those instincts have been dormant for a long while.