CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Saturday, 2 April 2005

My Funny Valentine

000_0546Walking home with the dog Wednesday morning, through the vines and past the "secret location" where I return captured rabbits to the wild (far beyond the hunting grounds of my pack of marauding tigers), I couldn't help thinking about the events of February 14th ...

It was a Monday morning and Holly and I had walked up the road, accompanied (as you do) by the two female cats, Kitty and Betty. We arrived at the horse trough, just in time to meet a third cat, Balu, who was looking down at something in a small patch of grass. I was just about to bend to look more closely myself, when it took off, a baby bunny, with Balu in lazy pursuit.

So lazy that the rabbit easily made it to safety into a hole between some nearby rocks and I hoped it would have the sense to stay there, especially with the three cats poised above it, for at least the few seconds it would require to distract Holly so she'd do what she needed to do.

Nah, of course not. I'd bearly had time to walk five paces, before I turned to see now FOUR of my cats (where did the other one, Mico, appear from so suddenly?) running in a pack down the road towards the house, Balu in front, carrying the poor little bunny by the neck, kitten style.

So, picture it if you will (although I can hardly blame you if you don't wish to) ...

A "grown woman" and a dog haring (pun intended) down the road to catch up with them. Besides, running may not be the appropriate term, because I was on the other end of the dog lead, remember, and can't rightfully say if my feet touched the ground or not.

Well, in a performance worthy of an Olympic Gold (for ridiculousness, perhaps), we overtook three of the cats somewhere between the bridge and the house. Balu rushed indoors and under a bed and I was able to persuade him out (with a broom) and relieve him of his charge.

Yes, of course the cats were only doing what cats do naturally, but cannot stand by and knowingly allow them tear things to sheds for sport. I do the same with mice & lizards they bring in.

The poor little bunny did have a nasty graze on it's head, which (I am not defending them) I think it had before the cats found it, but it didn't seem stunned or otherwise hurt. Surprised, maybe!

Wouldn't you be, under the circumstances?

The baby rabbit was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand, but it was a feisty little bugger and tried to bite me. I reckoned it had all the right skills for survival, so it was off to the bathroom to make sure the wound on his head was clean and treat it with iodine.

My cats get all edgy every time I go to the bathroom cabinet, because they think I'm going to treat them with the horrid tasting yellow stuff again, but the problem is, it works!

Anyway, the little bunny didn't seem to mind at all and, indeed, after a few minutes of this TLC, he was putty in my hands and snuggling in as though he was getting ready for a nap.

There is no way, that I know of - without access to proper rabbit hutches and some high-class security - that one can keep a rabbit safely in a house with a dog and five cats!

So, if he was going to have to grow up and cope in the wild, then better he should get on with it and I left with him (alone) to go and find a suitable place he could call his new home.

Way up amongst the terraces of vines is an unkempt area of long grass, with a bank of earth, some bushes and even a small fig tree that I know already has a population of resident rabbits.

It even has a water supply laid on: To stop the rabbits from eating the grapes for their water content, people put down plastic containers with some rocks in to hold them in place and these fill up with rain water for the rabbits to drink. Ingenious, simple solution.

We found a patch of fresh grass there and I put the rabbit down.

Well, he didn't fancy that and immediately came hopping back onto my foot. "Oh, no! I can't have you falling in love with me.", I thought.

I picked him up again and we walked a little further. This time, seeing the dense undergrowth to hide in, he was almost off before I put him down and hopped away into its relative security.

I silently wished my little Valentine a long and happy life.

Well, what do you know?

There I was recalling all this and as I got back to the house with the dog, there, laying on the back step like the "king of the jungle", is Balu. Sitting neatly beside him is his sister Kitty and, huddled between them into the corner of the step ...

Is another baby bunny.

Completely unhurt (except psychologically maybe). Neither cat stirred nor made any attempt to stop me, so I picked him up and cuddled him. He rewarded me by biting my finger.

Ha, this time I'll take a photo, I thought.

It hadn't occurred to me that most people only see wild rabbits in the glare of headlamps, but never up close and personal, until my mother had asked what the last one was like. So here you have it. One real live wild baby rabbit with attitude. You can almost see it in his expression! 

Not brilliant, I will admit, but he was a real wriggler and I couldn't let him go, because Holly was there "helping" me. She is so gentle, I don't think she would actually hurt anything, but the rabbit may not have taken kindly to being handled by a Shep / Presa / Rottweiller mix, so I just held on tight and snapped the shot with my free hand.

Then, of course, we went off to the the "secret location" where I return captured rabbits to the wild. I've a feeling there will be quite a family there by the time we get finished!

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