The dogs love this. They stare at the cage on the floor as it fills with small brown things, and as everyone knows small brown things are mice. Polly barks and Scruffy bites at the aviary. Eventually I had all the sparrows and took them outside. This is the bit the dogs really love. I open the door and the sparrows fly off, with Polly and Scruffy leaping and snapping at the birds and wondering how the mice get into the tree. Technically, because sparrows are feral noxious vermin, I should euthanase them. But... well, come on...
Today I opened the door and the birds flew off as usual. Polly snapped at one, then froze. She gave me a look of such surprise I almost laughed, and gave me a muffled bark: "Muffff!" Then I saw what surprised her. Poking out of her mouth was a little tail and a pair of feet. The tips of a pair of wings protruded from the sides of her mouth. She dropped her head and went "Blagh!" A damp bundle of feathers rolled out and lay twitching on the grass. Oh great, now I have a pest to take care of.
Scruffy watched this with interest, until somewhere in his stupid little head the ancient Wolf ancestors pushed their way past the tennis balls and tins of doggy-dins and gave him a kick. "You're a TERRIER!" they howled at him "That is wounded PREY! Skitch 'em!" He darted under Polly's chin, snatched up the sparrow and shook the poor little thing the way a real dog would kill a rat. When he was done he stared up at me all wide-eyed and waggy tailed, while a light rain of fine feathers settled onto his head. The limp body of the sparrow dangled from his jaws.
I told the dogs they were GOODDOGs and felt guilty as I disposed of the poor little body.
It was only a sparrow, but I still feel bad. Polly and Scruffy don't.