Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And A Bunny In A Pear Tree...

In the years PD (pre-divorce) I used to take my two youngest whippets out for exercise every afternoon after work along a peaceful river dike. Sometimes I walked the two mile trail along the river, and the dogs ran loose the equivalent of ten miles along with me, and sometimes I attached both dogs to my mountain bike using a marvellous device called a Springer. The Springer allows the dogs to run along side the bike and theoretically, they can’t pull me over.

The theory would work fine with a Lab or a Husky. The Springer people never anticipated a pair of whippets taking off full speed after Peter Cottontail. Sir Isaac Newton would have been pleased – I can actually physically prove the accuracy of the First Law of Motion (A physical body will remain at rest, or continue to move at a constant velocity, unless an unbalanced net force acts upon it). The bunny went straight into the blackberry hedge. The dogs stopped, the bike stopped, and I sailed on after the bunny, until the unbalanced net force of the blackberries stopped me. I came home looking like the victim of a horror movie – maybe the Texas Shredder Massacre.

However, the day after the massacre, I resolved to go biking again – determined to not let a few scratches and a little whiplash slow me down. (Hmmm. Now I know why it’s called “whip”lash.)

I came home from work and put Nike and Travis out in the "big" dog yard while I changed to biking clothes. Nike stayed close by; knowing a run was coming and not wanting to be left out. Usually both dogs were pretty tuned in to running time. Besides that, they got the added bonus of watching Mom go flying through the air. What could be more fun than that? When I was ready I called Travis.

No Travis.

I looked out the window. I could see Travis and Travis was enthusiastically playing with something. Something brown. Please let it be a branch or a dog toy.

I couldn’t be so lucky. Travis had caught himself a real live bunny rabbit. Only it wasn’t quite so live by the time I got to the backyard. But he couldn't have been more pleased. He ran joyfully around the yard, dropping the bunny, charging it, scooping it up and running with it some more, tossing it in the air. Clearly, bunny-ball was better sport than watching Mom fight the blackberry bush.

In the post-divorce years, I discovered that one of the least appreciated benefits of being married, besides having someone else to take out the garbage and put gas in the car, was that carcass removal normally wasn't in my job description. However, I needed this bunny body gone, and Evan wouldn’t be home for another couple of hours. I sighed, gathered up a shovel and headed out into the yard.

Now here's where things started to really go awry. Travis was, and still is known to the whippet world as"Son of Sanibel". His mother, Sanibel, was infamous for her bruising enthusiasm for racing and lure coursing, as well as her determined refusal to give up her own leporidae to my friend Karen in the middle of a Pennsylvania sleet and hail storm at 11:00 at night. At 2:30 on a pleasant June afternoon in Washington, I have a better chance at winning the Powerball lottery than I do of convincing Travis to hand over Thumper.

He put it down, he let me get close, and then he snatched it up and ran off with it again. Like I said, this was more fun than any old run with Mom. Thinking that perhaps a distraction might do the trick, I got a stuffed toy.

Yeah, right.

I tried cookies.

Yeah, right.

I tried smelly cheese.

Yeah, right.

At that time in my life, I actually got paid a salary by one of the largest insurance companies in the world for my problem solving skills. I could not, however, manage to get a rabbit corpse away from my dog. It is a humbling thing to own a whippet.

I tried $6.99/lb deli roast beef.

Nope.

At this point, about half an hour had gone by, and Roger Rabbit was starting to look rather worse for wear.

Travis took another lap of the yard, made another toss in the air. And then it happened. Another physics lesson.

Sir Isaac, while accurate regarding the bike incident, was wrong this time. What goes up, does not necessarily, always immediately come back down. Particularly when you have a rather branchy ornamental pear tree in your backyard.

I was, for the first time in my life, utterly speechless.

Travis, on the other hand, was furious. He had a great deal to say to me, to thepear tree, and to the *&%^$ bunny.

I managed to drag him in the house, away from the crime scene. When Evan came home, I asked for his help with corpse removal and indicated that he’d need a ladder. At that point we’d been married long enough that very little surprised him. He simply looked at me, raised his eyebrows, and politely inquired “the body isn’t human is it?”

While he dealt with the bunny in the pear tree, I went to apply my problem solving skills to what on earth we were going to have for lunch for the rest of the week. We seemed to be out of roast beef and cheese.

1 comment:

Casey said...

poor Travis... thankfully I have dogs that have not gained the ability to catch the rabbit. They just bark and pretend they could catch it, if I would "just let them outside".....

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