The backyard patio had become the oasis for the neighborhood birds. The crows, starlings, sparrows, and pigeons met there early every morning for gossip, their morning baths, and their first meal of the day, attracted by the dog’s food and water supplies. As with all creatures, some left refreshed and got on immediately with the business of the day, while others couldn’t get enough dog chow or gossip as they lazed around all afternoon, hopping around the patient and lonely dog who didn’t seem to mind the noisy gathering or sharing his food and water.
One day the very busy humans who lived there thought things had gone too far. The dog’s fresh water had become the bathing system for hundreds of birds, and though the birds ate relatively little they scattered dog food all over the patio and made a terrible clutter. The humans were tired of cleaning up bird mess and the clatter of gossip broke their sleep and set their teeth on edge. So they had a meeting to figure out what to do.
Snakes were one of the most feared enemies of the birds and they were few and far between in this city. Cats were the most common enemy, one they battled daily, but no cat would venture into the dog’s territory. He was a huge dog and his greatest weakness was chasing cats. He would break off a leash, leap over the wall at the sight of a cat. It was a compulsion with him, though he never got close enough to catch one. He convinced himself it was the chase that really mattered. It was deeply satisfying like nothing else. So as the birds talked, lazed, and bathed he dreamed about chasing cats.
The humans decided to buy a huge rubber snake to frighten the birds. They weren’t sure it would work but they were willing to try anything. That night they curled the snake into an alert circle next to the food and water supplies. The next morning they awoke to the alarmed cries of the birds, who were disturbed at the presence of this predator next to their favorite hangout. The birds cried “snake” in their various languages and gathered in the largest tree high above the house, above