Sunday, April 10, 2016

Unexpected Mystery

Recently, our normally agreeable pooches squabbled loudly enough on the back porch that I hurried to see what triggered the ruckus. Before I opened the door, I could hear our little terrier giving his Shitzu/sheepdog companion a high-pitched lecture. Peeking out, I scoped the situation to find a snarling Jack Russell holding the high ground from his armchair vantage point. The larger white fur ball edged close to his cohort’s perch, taunting Buster with dancing feints toward his highness’s throne. Once I announced my presence and called them inside, they called a truce long enough to eat together.

Once the meal ended, Buster hurried to reclaim his perch. His hackles rose, and he growled any time fuzzy Dudley came close. Once my husband returned, I told him about their earlier brouhaha and the small dog’s continuing threats. To prevent a catastrophe, we stayed nearby to supervise our feuding four-leggeds and puzzled about how the younger dog had gotten on Grandpa Buster’s last nerve.

This low-grade rumble continued until bedtime, when the two yahoos managed bedded together in the house as usual. I figured our older dog’s arthritis was acting up and hoped changing weather would improve his mood.

Imagine my surprise when I awoke the morning and wandered into the kitchen to hear my husband say, “We have a mystery, and I think it’s why the dogs got into it yesterday.” I hadn’t had a drop of coffee so my brain wasn’t processing his words well.

“What are you talking about?” I mumbled and headed for my mug.

“I think I know why the dogs were fighting yesterday.”

“Okay, why?” I took the bait.

Holding out two hands containing a wadded towel, he signaled me to peek. Oh, man, that’s a scary invite at our house, which can mean anything from a snake to a giant spider. 

Steadying my yet-to-sip-a- drop-of-coffee nerves, I gingerly peeled back a terrycloth corner. Inside was a tiny bunny! Buster had found it in our yard and carried it to his overstuffed armchair where he nudged it under a blanket. This blew the theory that moving to town meant we’d never again deal with wild critters dogs brought home.

My next thought was that Buster was getting senile because at one time anything looking remotely like a packrat got the full-blown terrier treatment. For whatever reason, maybe because Dudley was trying to steal his treasure, this rabbit escaped that fate. Now, I understood the unexpected surliness I’d observed the previous day.

Once I saw this critter, my mind immediately recalled baby cottontails our young daughters bottle-fed. We quickly learned these little ones require bunny mommies. Despite our best efforts, we never kept one alive long enough to release it into the wild.

This recent discovery caused my husband to comb our yard, searching for this little guy’s fur-lined nursery all while hiding his activity from two vigilant dogs. Buster watched intently out the window, whining as if to say, “He’s mine. Finders keepers.”

To our surprise, mama had her babies directly under our noses in the flowerbed next to the house. She had four additional babes tucked into downy fur and grass. Here we thought we’d never have bunny troubles again when we moved to town, and now wascally wabbits live closer to us than they ever have.

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