A Tale of Two Killers: Esau the Dog and Jerry Lee Lewis

Esau, my shaggy gray walking companion, is known on the block and the blog for his swift and merciless skill at killing street rats.

Is this the face of a killer?

I’ve had terriers much of my life, but never one that caught and killed with such extraordinary focused ability.  Esau catches animals while leashed and before I have even noticed their existence.  I now keep the assassin on a short leash when we pass the piled-up trash bags where rodents congregate.

Trash mound creeps across sidewalk

Still I admit to a vicarious pride in Esau’s ability to take down the large, brazen rodents that have over-run my neighborhood.

Yesterday Esau killed a mouse, a tiny, harmless creature that was going about its mousey business along the edge of the Hudson River greenway.  Bikers, walkers, runners passed by, unaware of the small lives being lived just inches from their feet.  I too would never have known of the mouse’s existence, had I not felt an unfamiliar movement at the dog end of the leash and, looking down at Esau, noticed a small tail hanging out of his mouth.

Without even breaking stride, Esau had snatched the creature from its daily rounds and was busy administering the fatal chomps.  I jerked hard on the leash and ordered him to “Drop it.”  The little mouse lay on its side in the grass, its hind leg moving as if it were trying to run away. I thought swiftly about how to put it out of its misery – other than allowing Esau to finish the job – but within seconds, the mouse stopped moving. It was dead.

Esau's Handiwork: End of the Mouse Road

I was saddened by the death, until I noticed a second mouse, its small back curved into a ball, blithely nibbling grasses only a couple of feet away.  It seemed to have no awareness whatsoever of its companion’s death or of the fearsome killer that I was restraining with difficulty. Eventually the mouse spotted us and dived into a small hole in the base of a rock from which it goggled its beady eyes at us, before turning tail and disappearing into the darkness.

Mouse house.

With the leash now short and tight, The Killer and I continued our walk, each of us displaying a new interest in the many animal holes camouflaged among the rocks.

Whose home is this?

Some holes are tiny, others quite large.

And who lives here?

How many animals live along this path? How many species?  I’ve seen rats along these rocks, and my son tells me that further south the grass on the eastern side of the greenway is full of mice.

Mouse markers

North of 100th Street, where we usually walk, you can clamber down the rocks right to the river’s edge. Driftwood sculptures rise against the horizontal flow of the river and a trio of well-placed stones, looking like a small graveyard, seems to be signaling across the water to the tall buildings on the Jersey shore.

Back on the streets, Esau enviously eyed another cold killer as she lunched al fresco.

Employed cat lunches outside her shop

And here is “The Killer” himself, the one and only Jerry Lee Lewis, rampaging through a 1957 performance of “Whole Lotta Shakin Going On”.  For sheer speed, drive and raw joyful ferocity, this Killer rivals even Esau.

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Explore posts in the same categories: 2010, In the City, NYC Parks, October, Riverside Park, Rodents (other than squirrels), Wildlife/Natural History

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13 Comments on “A Tale of Two Killers: Esau the Dog and Jerry Lee Lewis”


  1. [...] Meanwhile, over on Riverside Drive and 112th Street, Rat Palace continues to provide the perfect habitat for countless rodents. In the dark and grainy video below, rats slither in and out of the stones of Rat Palace, a pile of cobblestones on NYC’s Riverside Drive. If you think you saw something move…you did. The rats were everywhere. The strange sounds come from Esau the dog, who was eager to grab and kill. [...]


  2. Bedbug-sniffing dogs are a handy now and it would be cool if Esau learn that trick. Thanks for sharing your stories with Esau, they are all nice to read. – Julius

  3. Lizard Says:

    I was lucky to find this outwalkingthedog.wordpress.com web site. I’m so amazed by your way of thinking and writing. Have you thought about writing a book?


  4. [...] the shadows behind the wheel of a parked car.  Three times, my dog, Esau, has caught a rat, and once a mouse, while walking, leashed, in New [...]

  5. Yojimbot Says:

    I know a subway station or two that could use his services asap!


  6. [...] Out walking the dog tracking nature in the city & other NYC odysseys « A Tale of Two Killers: Esau the Dog and Jerry Lee Lewis [...]

  7. Bill Says:

    Esau is just doing what comes naturally of course. the killer might come in handy if there ever is another black plague epidemic. Speaking of epidemics maybe you could teach Esau to kill bed bugs! Ha, now that would be tricky.


  8. An easy-going stroll with sweet-faced Esau is always full of surprises. I love reading about your adventures together. There’s something special about watching dogs be true to their “dogginess.”

  9. Charlotte Says:

    Hee hee,that first picture of Esau is hysterical: “What? Me a killer? Is this not the face of an angel?” I really felt i was on this walk with you, flowing along, peeking into mouse holes, looking out over the river.

  10. Barbara Says:

    Poor mousie – poor you – and actually poor Esau who probably figured he’d done a good thing… what’s the difference to a dog do you suppose between a rat and a mouse? But what a lovely series of photos you posted about the various wee homes you found following the “terrible act.”

    My dogs have been quite disgusted with me when I too have made them drop whatever they’ve managed to grab. But good for you… what a great afternoon you’ve had. Love love love the photos – and the story.

  11. mthew Says:

    Much as I’d like me meet Alias Esau, he’s not coming to Green-Wood Cemetery, where the groundhogs would probably protest his presence. Also, watch out for Father Demo Square in the Village: the place is popping with mice in the evenings.


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