Sunday, March 9, 2008

Rabbit Interruptus

It's been awhile since we've seen the rabbits which seemed to have taken over for the squirrels last Fall. Every night we chased at least one of the bounders from under the tree, around the side of the building and into a hedge. Sometimes Duncan and I spent fifteen cautious minutes slowly advancing on one, Duncan gently lifting his paw, holding it in the air as his body moved forward, muscles tense and at the ready, every ounce of his being devoted to the attention of the rabbit fifteen or twenty feet before us. Then, slowly, so slowly that foot would come down into the grass without a sound and he'd pull forward, never allowing the chain on his collar to jingle in the slightest. We haven't seen a rabbit since before Christmas but it hasn't stopped him from investigating the site of each and every rabbit encounter we've had since we moved here last July: under the Juniper along the fence, in the shrubs along the side of the building, near the landscaping lamp in the high grass near the front gate. His memory for these things is startling; he's searched for rabbits in places we've seen one only once, and that was back in October. But every day he sniffs the ground there and occasionally marks the spot as a kind of warning. The whole thing makes me question the validity of the reports that dogs have very low memory spans. When it comes to rabbits, Duncan does not forget.

So it was surprising to come upon the rabbits on the edge of the parking lot, huddled against the tires of our third floor neighbor's Jeep Wrangler. Even more surprising that we discovered them with the sun high in the sky when the shadows are short. And even more shocking to stumble upon them in flagrante delicto, two bunnies doing the thing we hear they do but never see. I think they were just as surprised as we were, and neither knew quite knew which way to go. Duncan didn't care either. It was two for the price of one! As they fumbled about––quite annoyed at our appearance, I'm sure––Duncan lunged forward, dragging me behind, and chased them into the bushes. We spent nearly twenty minutes hunting through the hedge, back and forth, and at one point even climbing on top where Duncan could better thrust his nose deep down into the pricklies. But alas, they rabbits had absconded, perhaps to a hotel room, and we didn't see them again.

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