Mid September last, we had no sooner sat down to dinner when my wife leaped to her feet and exclaimed “There’s a rabbit eating my nasturtiums!”
This earth-shaking news was not enough for me to miss a beat with knife and fork, but I did manage a glimpse out the window. “Yes” I replied, “I’d say it was a black rabbit.” “Well, do something!” she urged, in a tone that said maybe it was time to pause on supper and get up from the table. Our trusty mutt also jumped to her feet, sensing the action-packed moment ahead. I ran downstairs and outdoors, our dog rushing out onto the lawn.
“Go get him” I shouted at the dog. Our dog immediately halted and did her little dance to the left and to the right. Her question of “go where, go where?” was clear. I ran directly toward the rabbit, pointing and urging the dog to give chase. The dog ran to the right, looking over her shoulder to watch what I was doing. Meanwhile, the rabbit bolted straight away. Surely the dog must have spotted the action, and spotted the rabbit, but no, she barely ran fast enough to catch up to me. I was very disappointed. Such a dog that would put chase to any cat that wasn’t a marmalade colour would love to chase a bunny scooting away?
After that momentous event, we spotted the black rabbit on our lawn a number of times. And I gave chase a number of times. And our trusty hound galloped along a number of times, pretending (I am convinced the dog was pretending) to not notice the rabbit, and/or realize that I wanted her to chase the rabbit clean out of the yard. The fact that the rabbit kept coming back suggested that it really wasn’t very worried about me catching it. Or the dog catching it. So I gave in and stopped chasing. So the rabbit decided to up the ante. It brought along a white rabbit next time. It was a big, white rabbit, and was very difficult to ignore. Once again my wife exhorted me to new efforts. With more targets you would figure the dog would get more involved. Nope. After a little while, this new game became pretty boring, my dog become less enthusiastic. And I did, too. And so, you guessed it, the rabbit invited another friend to eat the lawn. This cute little one was a tan/gray colour, more like the wild rabbits that we see along the roads. So dog and I ran after them once again. There were rabbits running in every direction, their white tails flipping up at every bounce, like flags waving for attention. This got the dog excited, because she ran in every direction too, barking and barking. This time the rabbits stayed away. For a while.
It’s inevitable that the black rabbit would return. We see it most every day, and any time in the day, not just at supper time. And it shows up not just on the lawn, but in the carport or in the garden, or anywhere. We just ignore it now. If the dog sees it, she doesn’t tell us. She gave up chasing rabbits, but still sort of chases cats sometimes.
I’ve had the preconception for years that dogs love to chase rabbits. My brother assures me that his poodle, a full-sized show dog, loves to chase rabbits. But things seem to work differently in our neighbourhood. Lots and lots of dogs are walked on our road, and trails nearby. But I see several rabbits every day right in the heart of dog-walking territory. There’s been one on the corner with Aulds Road every morning, a black rabbit that doesn’t bother running for cover. And that floppy-eared rabbit I’ve talked about seemed to camp out along the edge of the road. I don’t really believe we live in a special area where dogs don’t chase rabbits. Maybe they are just well-behaved. Maybe.