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Musing: Requiem for a Rabbit
I need to address a critical detail right up front. We did not cause the rabbit’s demise.
Many of you—those who’ve known me for a long time—might suspect our involvement. Typhoon, my wickedly fast canine, ended the lives of many a rabbit in his younger years despite my best efforts to reduce his carnage. He would patiently lure them deep into the yard, far from the safety of the perimeter fence. Once he launched his assault in a furry blur of hunting desire, he could outrace them in a straight run and outmaneuver them if they attempted to twist and turn out of his clutches. Few escaped once he targeted them.
To protect them, I searched the yard before releasing the mighty hunter. For night time excursions, an incredibly bright flashlight joined my stash of protective gear, illuminating every shadow in my attempt to ensure a no hunting zone.
But I couldn’t prevent every hare with a wild hair from slipping inside our fence in its pursuit of greener grass. Typhoon learned not to alert me to their presence, innocently standing, stretching, and strolling off the porch. By the time I figured out his intentions, I couldn’t prevent the massacre. I could only watch in horror and reflect on the similarities of a Wild Kingdom episode of a cheetah pursuing its prey.
Alas, poor Typhoon has a few years on him now. He has, despite his long streak of delinquency, made it to the ripe old age of eleven. Though he’d deny it, he’s a step slower. He hasn’t added to his impressive lapin collection in several years.
So the rabbit who is the focus of today’s story lost his life without Typhoon’s involvement. He chose, instead, to cross a road. Or, at least, attempt a crossing. That poor decision led him into the path of a car. The car won.
Now, I didn’t witness the horrific event. Typhoon, to the best of my knowledge, did not put out a hit on the rabbit, so no driver came by to collect a reward.
My first glimpse of the grisly scene came early one morning, shortly after sunrise, as we walked the dogs. The poor lifeless body was in the middle of the road.
Pardon the gratuitous description, but, as you will come to understand, the details do matter. The poor creature, after he gave up the bunny ghost, wasn’t struck by just one car. Based on the battered bunny bits scattered across the asphalt, many vehicles squished, squashed, and squeezed him. The crime scene sprawled across the pavement, including the crosswalk we needed to traverse.
I’ve written about this crosswalk before. The road leads to a collection of schools—four in total—and their hundreds of students travel this route. In fact, when we approached, it was the start of the school day. And the work day. The road is always quite busy in the mornings.
Which is why we’re normally thankful for the crosswalk. Though there are always a few scofflaws who don’t think slowing down for a couple of human beings and four Siberian Huskies is worth their time, most people generously stop and let us cross. They probably enjoy the parade.
We’re used to being in the spotlight at this point. The dogs sometimes pick the moment we’re in the middle of that road, surrounded by witnesses, to do something embarrassing for humans. There was, for example, the time Typhoon decided he needed to pee. Half way across the road. And once he begins, no amount of coaxing can stop him until he is ready. We could do nothing but avoid the eyes of the amused drivers, as my beloved canine created Lake Typhoon in the middle of the road.
This day, however, Typhoon did not choose to heed nature’s call with dozens of witnesses. Well, not that nature’s call. The hunting instinct, however, engaged.
When our aforementioned rabbit was bludgeoned by tire after tire, the carnage of his car crushed carcass coated the crosswalk. I realized I was going to have to pick my way around a splattered bunny only once I had already stopped traffic and was halfway across the road. While I was trying to delicately forge a path around the bunny goo, the dogs, led by Typhoon, had a more base reaction.
A veritable fresh smorgasbord of disgusting (for humans) and delightful (for dogs) olfactory delights greeted us. Typhoon was in canine heaven, visions of rabbits past dancing in his head. He and his siblings did their best to scoop up a mid-walk snack.
Realizing with horror their plans, I did my best to prevent it. Unfortunately, this debate with my canine companions occurred in the middle of the road in front of stopped traffic. Traffic halted for our zoological parade while the dogs yanked and pulled in their excitement at the bunny buffet.
Despite all the wooing and howling—some of it mine—we somehow made it safely to the curb with no dog getting even the slightest taste. I looked at the horrified stares of my neighbors and various school children. They were, once again, amused at the antics of my dogs. I could do nothing but slink down the trail and into the woods.
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Gratuitous Dog Photo: The Mighty Hunter
His Royal Highness Little Prince Typhoon Phooey doesn’t regret the rabbit chasing days of his youth.
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Until Next Monday
May you avoid unpleasant messes this week.
If you have questions or thoughts, drop them in the comments below.
See you next Monday.
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