My brave black lab


8 Years
Dec 4, 2011
Princeton, MN
Yesterday afternoon, my girls were enjoying the beautiful day underneath the coop in their fully enclosed run. I was washing dishes, and I looked out the window and saw this nasty rodent jumping at the wire harassing my chickens. While I was wiping my hands to run out there and show it who is boss, I see my lab Maizy b-line it towards the coop barking and picked up the little critter and threw it in the air. I figured the thing would've ran off but no, it fought back and started jumping up biting at my dog! I went outside with my .22 and the animal was making a hissing noise. I fired a warning shot and then it played dead- I’ve NEVER seen anything like that before. I told Maizy to "leave it" and we took a few steps back. Then the critter got up and ran into the woods. Then Maizy walked over to the coop and started sniffing the wire and checked on her girls. I think my dog thinks she's a rooster? She stayed outside until it got dark and guarded her coop and her girls. Hopefully I never see that thing again- I still don't know what it is!
It could have been a muskrat. It sounds like a rabid one at that. We killed a rabid muskrat here a couple of years ago... nasty looking little critters and the one we encountered was acting crazy and hissing just like what you described. Make sure your doggie is up on his rabies boosters!
Here's some info for MN:

The vast majority of rabies cases reported each year occur in wild animals such as skunks, bats, foxes, and raccoons. Domestic animals account for less than 10 percent of the reported rabies cases. Cattle, cats, and dogs are the domestic species most often reported as rabid.

They don't say it here, but this link does:

Muskrats have been known to carry rabies, intestinal bacteria, Leptospirosis, and tularemia.

It's also my understanding that woodchucks can carry rabies.

Wow, I'm being all Debbie Downer this morning, eh?
Your dog deserved a medal for bravery! Good girl! Hopefully the varmint won't come back.
Great Dog

I do hope your dog has had his rabies shot within the last few years, this critter it was after sure sounds rabid like others have posted.

Years ago i was getting out of my truck on a rainy night at the grocery and was chased by a rabid rat, darn thing was jumping and hissing at every one that got out of their car/truck in the pooring down rain, crazyist thing i ever seen in my life.
Good girl Maizy!!
My black lab, Ace is the exact same way! He protects me and the chickens like we're his, which I guess we are

When I'm doing chores around the coop, he circles and sits watch until I'm done. He then checks my work and then goes inside with me.

Best pet I could've ever asked for!
Maizy thanks all of you for the praises and the concern! Yes she is up to date on ALL of her shots so she is in the clear
She was given a nice treat of left over pork loin and a couple small chunks of baked potato. drowningcreek- thank you for those links! They were very informative. I looked up pictures of muskrats on Google images and sure enough, that's what it was! It had to of been fattened up for winter though, it was huge! I'm so proud of her. We rescued her when she was a year and a half old (someone abandoned their house and left her in it with a ripped open bag of dog food and a 6 gallon bucket of water) and she is the BEST dog we have ever had. Just goes to show how great rescue dogs can be!
I didn't really "let" it run back into the woods. I wasn't going to shoot at it while it was right next to my dog. After we had taken a few steps back, I made sure it hadn't bit Maizy. But the next time I see it, it will be a dead muskrat.

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