I imagined explaining my demise to Saint Peter and waiting for him to stop laughing at my stupidity ...
So, I slowed down and drank in great gulps of cold winter air. (We were in the teens for our low temp!)
Bear slowed too, still keeping his distance. He stared at me with a look that said, "Come on! Keep chasing me! This chicken isn't getting any younger!"
Me neither dog.
"Bear! Bad Dog, Bad Dog!"
I was so angry with him. He was being stubborn and disobedient, plus, I had my doubts about the chicken's health after at least 15 minutes in a Lab mouth. He usually handles the chickens with a soft grip, but I couldn't be sure that Bear had not messed up and squeezed a little too tight.
We stared at each other ... human, dog, and upside down chicken ... waiting for someone to flinch.
I was starting to feel a little reoxygenated by then and was about to try a sly, slow, happy voice approach, but then Bear must have relaxed his grip just a bit.
The impasse was broken.
Sensing it was now or never the rooster lept from Bear's jaws. He hit the ground running and scooted under the JEEP with Bear a tail feather away.
Bear circled the JEEP, head under, butt up, totally focused on the chicken and I saw my chance.
I covered the 30 feet between us quickly while he was distracted, grabbed handfuls of fur and collar and tossed him down like a rodeo bovine wrestler.
Ladies and gentlemen, at that point, there was a spanking and a good "talking to".
Sorry if that shocks you, but it worked on my kids (they do not chase chickens anymore) and it works on dogs too.
Then I towed Bear, still panting with chicken lust, (Bear not me) into the house by his collar, where he immediately went and hid under the 4-poster bed. He stayed there a while.
Later, all was forgiven and I could shake my head and chuckle a little at those precious minutes spent running in circles, the stubbornness of the adolescent Lab, the resiliency of the chicken body, the wonder of instinctive traits such as the 'soft mouth" grip of Lab on bird, and the need for me to do more aerobic type exercise.
Eventually, Bear came out from under the bed and curled his body into mine as I sat on the fireplace hearth. When I spoke to him and rubbed his head, he oozed up on to me, paws on my shoulder, massive head even with mine and proceeded to cover me with doggy kisses.
At that point, it was hard to remember being sooooo angry with him earlier...
... but that could just be a symptom of my advancing age.