Thursday, 18 April 2013

If not wolves...a thought experiment

I think I mentioned that I chased some red deer up a Torridon hillside last Saturday.

My version of events (and I am sticking to it) is that, after a few minutes' excitement, I heroically overcame my lupine genetic inheritance and, obedient chappie that I am, rejoined Gail on the footpath and allowed the deer to escape my clutches. I am confident you will recognise any alternative version, for example to the effect that I got tired and panicked 'cos I thought I'd lost Gail, as a ridiculous fabrication.

Now let us consider for a moment the broader issues here.

Point number one: it is almost universally agreed that Scotland's red deer population is out of control, resulting in over-grazing of both crops and trees, to the detriment of the country's economy and ecology.

Point number two: one reason for the explosion in numbers is that wolves have been extinct in Scotland for around two hundred years, thus deer have no natural predators.

Point number three: schemes to reintroduce wolves to Scotland have been shelved, due to concerns from farmers and lack of space.

So I have been conducting a wee thought experiment.

What if us dogs were allowed to run free in the hills and take on the wolves' historic role?

Surely this would work just brilliantly.

After all, there are a lot of us pups in Scotland, so we could take turns in order that we also could fulfil our domestic pet duties. With regular exercise chasing longer limbed prey, the current canine obesity crisis would be solved at a stroke, and problems caused by dogs suffering from boredom and under-stimulation would likewise be a thing of the past. With a regular supply of free venison, plus antlers to chew of course, our owners would have to stop whinging about the cost of kibble and treats.

Yes I really am convinced that I am onto something here. I would be more than happy to organise a pilot project in the Torridon area. How about I invite Fenton up to Scotland to inaugurate the scheme? A little ceremony involving the cutting of a lead might serve as useful PR. Perhaps a prize could be arranged  for the first chihuahua to bring down a Monarch of the Glen?

The more I think about the idea, the more I like it.

What could possibly go wrong?

PS from Gail: A big thank you to all those who suggested remedies for Bertie's sore paw. I am pleased to say that time and rest worked their healing magic and forty-eight hours after the epic hike he was back to his customary bouncing self. But I have ordered a tub of 'Bag Balm' to keep in reserve for the next time I under-estimate the distance and roughness of a walk in the hills! 


  1. We do think that you are onto something there Bertie!! How smart you are!!! We say Go fur it!!

    Jazzi and Addi

  2. Well thought out, Bertie. We think it would be a great program. Fenton--with owner yelling in the background--would be a wonderful candidate. And if the lead isn't too thick, Roxy is great at chomping....she's certainly chomped through several of ours.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

    What's a red deer....just askin'

  3. Yes Bertie, I think you have an excellent plan. And think of all that lovely venison we'd have to enjoy? I sense a knighthood in the making, arise Sir Bertie of Torridon. It has a certain ring to it.

  4. Great plan Bertie. Can I come and help out? The thought of venison is making me drool on the keyboard. Off to chase some squirrels now. Have a terrific Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  5. You present a pretty convincing proposal, Bertie.

  6. If you need any help with your wonderful campaign ideas, just let us know. We'd do anything for some venison!

    We're glad your paw is feeling much better.

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  7. OH BERTIE... this is just BRILLIANT. You really put some thought into the entire plan. ESp. the pawt about the Fresh Venison and the ANTLERS fur Chewing. We are speaking from PAWSONAL Experience here... there is NOTHING like deer meat and OH the HOURS AND HOURS of Chewing on the Antlers..
    We think you have the most PERFECT of PLANS.
    PeeS... glad that your paws are all better.

  8. Hari OM
    Gosh I've been away too long - I can recall when working for the East Scotland College of Agric. the reintroduction of Red Deer was thought the best thing since the mammoth hunt.

    Ach weel, aff ye go laddie!!

    I got interested in the "Bag Balm" which I'd never heard of - looks to be good, but I hope you don't have to give us a review on it for a while yet! Hugs and Wags, YAM-aunty.

  9. Bertie it already sounds like you have taken the role or are practicing the role of the wolf
    Benny & Lily

  10. What a brilliant idea! Let me know if you need any help. I know I'm fast enough to catch a deer!

  11. Bertie you are without a doubt the smartest Wirehaired Terrier in
    Scotland!!! I think someone needs to award a 1M dollar grant to you to fund your extensive research and to keep your assistant Gail on your staff.

    PS. So glad you handsome paws are well. Now I bet they are tough as door nails (mom's words) I don't have a clue what that means.
    Madi your BFFF

  12. Howdy Bertie, it sounds like a fabo idea. We like the thought of chewing on antlers cause everybuddy says they are soooo good. If it gets up and running can we come stay at your place for a while. Rory won't take up much room on Gail's bed ok? Oh, and mum totally lost the plot when she watched the Fenton video. She had leaky eyes and we though she had finally cracked! No worries, and love, Stella and Rory. P.S. glad your paws are better mate.

  13. So very glad your paw is better, Bertie. Dachshund Daddy was telling Mom all about it, and we've been wowwied.

    I am very impressed that you returned to Gail! Wow. I wouldn't have returned.

    And your scheme... you're definitely onto something!

    Have a great wagging weekend,

    P.s. Bag Balm is the best. Mom uses it on my raggedy ears.

  14. Have sent you an email... :)
    MM in SA

  15. Bertie-
    I have to tell you, that we have a lot of deer here and a lot of dogs....those deer are smart and fast, just sayin'.

    (And they know when we are in the house sleeping. That's when they jump the fence and gobble up the garden!)

    Wyatt and Stanzie

  16. I believe you are on to something. What fun to run with the pack and keep those pesky deer from annoying the human habitats. I would love to join you.