in which cookie gets hold of a fish head, is attacked by an eagle, and almost makes me cry

This weekend we took Kai and Cookie to the beach both days. The beach was Diego's favourite place in all the world, so it was sad to be there without him. But the Littles are so entertaining; they keep us in the moment.

Yesterday, however, Cookie put on a show that was anything but entertaining.

The dogs were running and playing when, much further down the beach, a woman, a child, and an older dog appeared, walking to the water. The woman had a bucket. 

There are houses right near this beach -- for some people, the beach is directly across the street. We didn't know that people fish, clean their catch, and bring the refuse to the water to feed the birds. 

Both our dogs took off down the beach, likely to greet the old dog. Eagles and ravens appeared. Our dogs were not far behind.

Before I even got close, Cookie splashed into the water, and in a flash was running past me with the head of a salmon in her mouth. I could see the bright red flesh of the fish, the open mouth, the staring eye. 

I called out, "Oh that's not good!" 

The woman called out, "Don't worry, it's fresh!" 

Allan was petting the old dog. 

Cookie left me in her dust.

I walk after Cookie. There's zero chance of my catching her, but I want to at least keep her in my sights. She stops, gnaws and picks and tears at the fish head, and as I approach, grabs it and moves further away. When I look down the beach, Allan isn't even facing us. He appears to be taking pictures, probably of birds eating fish guts. (Later he told me he thought Cookie must have dropped the fish.) (Why would he think that?) 

Cookie draws me further and further down the beach, eating the fish head along the way. I speak sweetly to her, assure her she is a good girl, trying to calm her, but I never get within a foot of her collar. 

This went on for a long time.

Eventually Allan, from a distance, must have realized something was wrong, and started jogging towards us. Then the two of us did the Cookie Dance with Fish Head. 

Eagles appeared, and swooped down at Cookie! This is something to see. These eagles are huge. Their wingspans are easily eight feet, and their talons and beaks are weaponry -- and they came right at her. Cookie ducked and cringed -- but held on to her prize. I realized then that the eagles were our way out of this. But they flew off.

When the eagles left, Cookie was no longer playing. She was tired and unhappy. When we approached, she would growl. 

Allan tried a few things -- grabbing Cookie's tail (she's wet and slippery), giving me the camera and lunging for her (like we can possibly move faster than she can!), acting like we're leaving (she doesn't care). There's literally nothing we can do except stay close to her and wait for her to drop whatever's left.

This went on and on. 

The fish head is getting smaller. I can hear Cookie crunching on scales, see the hundreds of tiny bones sticking out. She will not let go. I keep thinking (and saying), eagles, where are you, we need you...

Finally two eagles came circling overhead, lower and lower. They seemed determined. Cookie was afraid of them now, cringing but looking up, salmon head clamped in her jaws. An eagle swooped within a foot of her face. Finally, worn down, Cookie dropped the fish and trotted a few steps away. While I grabbed her collar, the eagle swooped down and flew off with the salmon head.

Cookie was quiet and exhausted. So was I.

Note to self: if I ever see anyone at the beach carrying a bucket, grab the dogs and get them on-leash.

No, cancel that. 

Note to self: during fishing season, stick to the area of the beach far away from houses.

Postscript: so far there seem to be no ill effects, other than Cookie's face smelling like fish.

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