The definition of a serial killer that I am working with is one who kills at least 3 times on 3 separate occasions. Under that definition, Gonçalo qualified as a serial killer a couple of days ago.
His first kill was a fledgling, perhaps 10 days ago. My Adventure Trail is hewn out of long grass, and Gonçalo loves to run up and down the track, diving into the long grass whenever something takes his fancy. He was off exploring when suddenly a tiny bird broke cover. Gonçalo had it in a flash, and before I could prise the bird from his jaws, the fledgling’s life was over. Kill #1.
We were walking together in the garden in the morning, 2 or 3 days ago. I turned to have a look behind me because Gonçalo was lagging. After a few moments I could see he had something black in his mouth. I went back to remove whatever rubbish he was playing with. Then I could see it was a black-coloured bird, still obviously alive, because it was struggling. Gonçalo was not interested in giving his prize up. He scooted off to the house. By the time I cornered him and extricated the young bird, it was obviously not going to survive. Kill #2.
That same afternoon, on another walk, Gonçalo went rooting around in some long grass, and came out clutching a brown bird with white spots. Again by the time I got to the dog the bird was dead. Kill #3.
These were all immature birds. So far the parents know how to escape his clutches. On at least one occasion, a mature bird has let Gonçalo chase it, to act as a decoy and lead Gonçalo away from another fledgling.
So it’s official. Gonçalo is now a serial killer.
Gonçalo is a cocker spaniel. His breeding is to flush birds, so they can be shot, and then he can retrieve the carcass, There seem to be several types of bird here that choose to nest on the ground, in long grass. That is the type of territory where Gonçalo is in his element.
The idea is that Gonçalo should flush birds, that I should shoot them, and that Gonçalo should retrieve them. This routine needs a bit of polishing. Gonçalo doesn’t flush, I don’t have a shotgun, and Gonçalo does not wish to give me his kill.
It’s still early days though.