From my office upstairs, I heard a cry of anguish from an animal downstairs. I knew instantly it was not any of our crew of dogs and cats. Tragically, the cry of anguish I had heard was the chirpy squeak of a baby bunny.
This is, unfortunately, not an unfamiliar sound in the Fritzius household. Our cats have a cat door and are quite fond of bringing live animals, such as mice, and chipmunks, and squirrels, and baby bunnies into the house through it. Especially baby bunnies. I don’t know why they bother, because in 100 percent of cases so far, our dogs immediately take the baby bunnies away from the cats and then cheerfully devour them. Oh, we try our best to stop it. We scream “Leave it! Leave it! Leave it!” followed by “Drop it! Drop it! Drop it!” followed by “Eww, God, noooooo! Just… just take it outside! Outside!!!” It’s a grisly business. The cats refuse to learn their lesson.
Hearing the anguished squeak downstairs, I cursed at the inevitable devouring that was about to befall the owner of the squeak, but I went out to see what little I could do about it anyway. From the landing, I could see the doomed baby bunny on the downstairs floor below. It had escaped from D.J. Kitty—the usual feline responsible for bringing bunnies in—who remained nearby, awaiting the chaos. The bunny didn’t seem to be grievously injured, though, which was a plus in the bunny column. Then it scurried across the floor and then over behind our entertainment center, where it was spotted by our middle-child dog Moose. This put a very big minus in the bunny column, `cause Moose loves him a baby bunny. He zipped after it. What Moose failed to notice in his haste, but which I could see from my perch above the living room, was that the rabbit was no longer behind the entertainment center. It had dodged beneath a low shelf and then moved swiftly along the baseboard of the back wall, passing the closed back door, across the rest of the room, and had then disappeared between the wall and the arm of a piece of furniture we call “the dog couch.” (The “dog couch” is so named because it’s a ratty old sofa tucked in the corner, primarily used by the dogs, and not to be confused with the “good sofa” which we reserve for ourselves and also often the dogs.)
I sighed and trudged downstairs to begin the no doubt futile process of trying to catch this stinking rabbit. I crept in the direction of the dog couch so as not to draw Moose’s attention to the bunny’s hiding place. Moose was still behind the entertainment center and had been joined by our other two dog-children to form a bunny search party, sniffing everything and no doubt stepping on all my stereo wires. Meanwhile, our other cat, Fatty Lumpkin, was dimly investigating the end of the dog couch where the bunny was hiding. He knew something was there, but wasn’t all that excited about it, owing to his being a remarkably dumb animal. As Fatty approached the end of the couch, the bunny popped suddenly out of his hiding place right in front of him. This startled Fatty, who turned and fled the room. Fatty’s flight, in turn, startled the bunny, who ran back behind the dog couch. Great.
I stepped over and cracked open the back door, creating an escape route opened in the direction of the bunny’s hiding place. I then slipped over and began rattling the strings of the Venetian blinds that hung down behind the arm of the dog couch in the hope of stirring the bunny. Yep. He popped back out into the open and toward the back door. He then completely avoided safety and escape by hopping past the open back door and deeper into the living room. In fact, he hopped in the very direction of the dogs, who were still looking for him behind the TV. I was pretty sure I was about to witness natural selection in action. However, the bunny then scurried on past the oblivious dogs, past the “good” couch and over to the still closed front door where he cornered himself at the juncture of the door frame and the adjacent wall.
I walked toward him as calmly as I could. As I neared the tile in front of the door, I bent over and grabbed up the soft green rag carpet we keep there and tossed it into the air in the bunny’s direction just as he bolted. He didn’t get far. The carpet landed right in his path on the far side of our coat rack and he dove beneath its folds. I stooped over and gently wrapped the carpet up, creating a bunny burrito, which I then took outside, closing the door behind me. I prayed that the dogs had not noticed any of that. Or, if they did, that they would then not remember the back door was still open. It usually takes them less then five seconds to round the house when they’re motivated by the sweet taste of baby bunnies.
Hearing no thundering canine approach, I deposited our guest onto the patio. He looked dazed for a moment, but hopped off into the night without so much as a thank you. I watched him go, content in the knowledge that we finally helped score one for the bunnies.
Not that the dogs noticed. They kept searching for him behind the TV for another five minutes.