The other day, walking down the street in the Mission, our dog lunged forward and managed to catch a pigeon by the neck. She normally tries to chase all pigeons, and normally in 99.9% of cases they fly away (I keep her leash short enough so that she doesn’t go in the street, but I don’t stop her from doing a little chasing), but this pigeon was spacing out or not paying attention and, GLOM! In an instant June’s teeth were around its neck or head and she started to shake it. I instinctively pulled back on the leash, though, as I did before when she caught a squirrel, and the pigeon popped out of her mouth — in a spray of ablative feathers — and flew straight up to the roof of a nearby building in a steeper vertical climb than I’ve ever seen a pigeon make.

Our dog whined and howled and stood on her hind legs in a vain effort to get at the departed pigeon, 20 feet up. Later I caught her licking her lips. She always does this. She always tries to hunt little creatures with a relentless lust. I don’t want to be the creep who lets his dog maim and kill wild animals (although pigeons are really no more wild than rats or mice, who also live as scavengers on humans), and I don’t want her to get some pigeon-flesh disease either, but another part of me feels bad preventing her from fulfilling her desires. I’ve read enough manga to have a certain respect for strong passion, no matter how insane or misguided it is. Seeing my 15-pound dog freak out and turn into a killing maniac gives me the faint feel of enjoying a zombie movie (running zombies, of course. I was specifically thinking of David Moody’s “Hater” books, actually…). It’s that dark side that wants to run among the zombies and just feel the wind blow through your hair as you join the homicidal throng. It’s different from that other side, equally strong and equally present, which empathizes with the heroes, or the victims, holed up in their castle, keeping the windows boarded and the doors shut, and equally killing, killing, killing the mindless hordes swarming at the door.