Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An Odd Dog Day

Today was a weird day. It began by me waking up rather early in the wee, wee hours of the morn' and having trouble getting back to sleep. Thereafter, when I finally did get back to sleep, I had the type of dreams that are not only perplexing, they're also exhausting because when you wake up, you feel like you were doing everything you were in the dream. In my case, it was outrunning a tornado which wasn't successful, by the way. You can't outrun a tornado, at least in a dream. Also, I suspect in reality.

Anyway, the morning at work was one of those where everyone is deadly silent and then suddenly one of the loudest people in the office starts to chit chat with someone outside in the hall. Normally, when there's been some noise, it's not as irritating but when it's been virtually silent with only the sound of keyboards being tapped or mouses (mice?) being clicked, it's rather grating.

It was also a day in which our company president, in one of his more jovial moods, decided to try to entice everyone in our area to join him in planning a skydiving excursion. I used to think skydiving would be fun. These days, my common sense kicks in and duct-tapes the mouth of fun so that it can't speak up. I wouldn't say I'd never do it. It's more that if I do plan on jumping out of a plane, I'd rather prefer it wasn't in the company of, say, our president and my coworkers. Also, I'd rather jump somewhere fun like, say, Hawaii.

I turned down the invitation to join him for lunch to plan the skydive. So did 95% of the people in our area. The other two were just there for the lunch, I'm sure of it.

By the time I did leave for lunch, I was rather looking forward to the comfort and cuddles of the puppies.

Well, it turned out that even that wasn't such an easy thing today. I let them out and I follow, intending to check to see if I have any more zucchini's starting to grow. I hear a strange, high pitched squealing. I turn to look at Rory and I notice she has this wriggling, squirmy, furry grey creature in her mouth and she's shaking it like she does her chew toys.

Horror sunk in as my brain caught up to my eyes and I realized she'd found a baby rabbit. I didn't even know there were any baby rabbits around- I've only ever seen the grown ones. I sprang into action and forced her to drop it. The bunny stupidly did not break for freedom but, rather, headed to the zucchini patch. The dachshunds followed.

No matter how much I tried to shoo them away from the petrified creature, Sookie and Rory were too fast. Sookie was triumphant. This time it was she who had the bunny and was shaking it like a chew toy. The bunny squealed, I shrieked, in anger, fear and just plain shock. I got Sookie to drop it long enough for me to see that the bunny was now injured; its leg was gashed and it was, as the bunnies of Watership Down, might say, tharn. I didn't think. Instead, I swooped in and grabbed it by the scruff of its little neck before Sookie could try again. I paused for a minute, trying to figure out the safest place to release it. I opted for dropping it gently over the fence into Possibly-Joe the plumber's garden. He's the only one around us without any dogs.

The bunny froze. I had a minor meltdown. I might joke about killing bunnies and squirrels and such but, seriously, I'm a huge softy. I can't see an animal hurt. It just upsets me. So I did the sensible thing; I called my dad.

My father is very rational. This is why he's good in situations like this. First of all, he thought the bunny might be hurt so badly it was dying. He told me to kill it. This elicited another wave of horror. I could not kill a bunny. Not a baby one, at least. When I told him the bunny appeared to be moving, he told me to watch it.

Well, the daft creature was only trying to hop back into our garden, wasn't it? Injured leg and all! Sookie and Rory were going balistic, trying to get at it. They had lost all sense of puppyness and were suddenly dedicated, devoted hunters.

I finally managed to scoop up each dog and shut them inside for a while so I could give the bunny a chance to get away.

In the end, I think it did get away but you better believe I'm keeping an eye on Sookie and Rory.

I think the worst part of the whole ordeal is that while I know that my dogs are, well, dogs, I tend to commit the bad flaw that the real Dog Whisperer would chastise- I tend to assign them human characteristics and forget that they're really just dogs. So, when I saw them with the bunny in their mouths, I was more horrified than I ought to have been. My sweet girls who never get meaner than to give me a playful nip when they're scrapping with each other and that's never vicious, more that I'm in the they were, acting like predators.

I was reviled. I was angry with them. How could they be so cruel?

Then I began to think about it a little more logically which was much easier when the bunny had limped away. Dachshunds were bred to hunt small creatures such as rabbits and moles. It's their nature to hunt that which they can catch. This is why Sookie will spend hours stalking and capturing cicadas in the grass, flattening them with her paw, just watching. She's a hunter. Rory, too, will stalk birds, trying to creep up and then getting sulky when they fly away and she doesn't catch them.

Even though, to me, they had hunted an innocent baby rabbit, to them, they had captured a prize. They didn't know it was wrong to do that. It's just what they do. It's in their nature. You can't stop the natural order of things. Just like there is larger prey that would happily capture my puppies- I'm thinking of a rather large mountain lion because that's safe for me to imagine since there aren't any mountains and, thus, mountain lions around here- my puppies hunted that which they could.

It took a while but afterwards, I felt bad for being so angry with them. If I just shifted my perception, I realized that a few centuries ago, they would have only been doing the job that their humans expected. Just because we humans have evolved into big softies who often shudder at the thought of hunting 'innocent creatures', doesn't mean that the dachshund has. In actual fact, I should really have rewarded them for their first 'kill' even though, I hope, they didn't actually killed.

By the time I went back to work, I felt slightly traumatized but better about it. I wasn't angry with them anymore- just a little sad that I have two dogs rather than two cute little teddy-bears who happen to look like dogs.

The rest of the day was only slightly odd. Aside from being rather frustrated at a couple of coworkers, things were pretty much ok. I also learned that my good friend, Ms. P. from Texas, had her own dog trauma today as one of her dogs captured and killed a neighbour's chicken.

It seemed to be an odd-dog day all around.

In the end, I decided after talking to some coworkers and learning that they all had dog vs. baby bunny stories, it wasn't quite so awful. I felt even worse for being angry at my girls so I stopped at Pet Smart on the way home and got them a squeaky monkey to play with. It's about the same size as the baby bunny. I'm hoping it will entice them to play with that rather than hunt the bunny but I'm pretty sure it won't. They are what they are, bunny hunters and all.

And just like with kids, even when they do bad things, you can't help but love them.

Happy Thursday!

I stopped at Pet Smart on the way home

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