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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Strider and the Baby Bunny Rabbits

By Vicki E. Jones

He was a big Black-tick English Coonhound mix, white with big black patches and thousands of faded, black “tick” marks that went clear down to his skin. Strider, adopted at about age four, had been with us for a few years at the time and he and our Beagle, Abby, were in the back yard on a warm, sunny day.

We went out in the back yard to join them and there was Strider parading around with something in his mouth, acting uncertain as to what to do with it. We got closer, and stared in astonishment: there, in Strider’s mouth, was a very small bunny rabbit, about the size baby bunnies are when they first leave the nest.

Strider, someone’s trained hunting dog who had probably run off during a hunt months before we adopted him, was a dog that would hunt, catch and eat anything “tasty” – raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, birds and more - and yet here was a baby bunny rabbit, completely unharmed and Strider was being careful not to hurt it.

Afraid that the little bunny could become his lunch, I raced into the house and grabbed a package of hot dogs out of the freezer. I quickly thawed a hot dog in some hot water, raced into the back yard and offered Strider the hot dog while Terry, my husband, cupped his hands under Strider’s mouth.

Strider, unable to resist the temptation of a whole hot dog, wagged his tail happily, let go of the bunny and gobbled up the hot dog.

Terry carried the bunny through our house, out the front door and down the wooded public walking trail that runs by our home, crossing a little wood bridge that goes over a creek and set the baby bunny down on the soft grass. Then he returned home and we went back out into the back yard.

There, to our amazement, was Strider with ANOTHER baby bunny rabbit in his mouth! Strider carried the second bunny around just as carefully as he had carried the first one, not biting down but not quite knowing what to do with it.

I raced into the house and got another hot dog, then offered it to Strider as Terry cupped his hands below Strider’s mouth. Strider wagged his tail happily, let go of the bunny and gobbled up the hot dog.

Terry again went through the house, through the woods, across the creek and set the second little bunny down in the soft grass and returned home.

The dogs were still in the back yard and we went back once again. We looked around the yard for Strider and there, incredibly, was Strider walking around with a THIRD baby bunny rabbit in his mouth!

We immediately realized that Strider had figured out he had a good thing going. Go get another baby bunny from the nest, parade around with it and your owners will give you a whole hot dog!

Sure enough, I went into the house, got a third hot dog and Strider released the baby bunny into Terry’s hands when I held out the hot dog. Once again, Terry carried the little bunny through the house, down the trail, across the creek, set it down in the soft grass and returned home.

I am pleased to say that there were no more bunny rabbits. Strider lived for many more years but we never saw another baby bunny rabbit in his mouth or even in the yard.

Every year in the spring, though, I go out in the back yard and think back to the time when a big Coonhound, completely out of character for the dog and for the breed, paraded around the yard with each of three little baby bunny rabbits in his mouth, taking great care not to hurt them and traded each of them for a hot dog.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Vicki - What a great story!

I am puzzled as to why Strider was so gentle with the first bunny, before he had negotiated the hot dog bartering deal with you! - Sandy

Sandy - My husband says that baby bunny rabbits don't smell like rabbits yet and have no smell at all. Their mommy would have taught them to hold perfectly still when confronted with danger, too. So Strider was probably unsure what it was and what to do with it. Truly, it is a mystery. We will never know. -Vicki

Vicki,

What a sweet story. Strider was just doing a very good deed with that first bunny but, when the hot dogs came into the picture he realized that he had a very good thing going for him and he played it to the hilt.

Smart dog!

It's too bad parents can't be as gentle with their children as Strider was with those lovely little bunnies.

I see you are all dog lovers and wanting to compliment his behavior...I am wondering what happened to those bunnies..and where did they come from...perhaps Strider had a big Momma bunny for a pal and promised to care for the young ones...Walt Disney could have made some dough on this sweet, gentle story...never thought of bribing a dog with a hot dog...You live and learn...loved the story..could see the giant dog loping along..,esp after the first hot dog...thanks..

"...We immediately realized that Strider had figured out he had a good thing going..."

This made me laugh out loud! I could just see Strider putting all of this together in his little doggy mind! Fun story! Thanks for sharing it!

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