I’m embarrassed to say it, but my wife and I have been harboring murderers in our house for several years now. Three vicious killers, in fact. Three slavering, fanged destroyers of life who enjoy nothing better than to wolf down baby bunnies as fast as they can get them. We call these killers, the dogs. And while we are horrified that this is their hobby, we are usually powerless to stop it. Yes, if bunny chomping were a team sport, the score would be bunnies 0—dogs in the double digits. To make things worse, the dogs often have co-conspirators in this carnage in the form of the cats.
One evening, from my office upstairs, I heard the high-pitched anguished cry of an animal downstairs. I recognized it as the chirpy squeak of a baby bunny. The doors were all closed, which meant that one of the cats had brought the bunny in through their kitty door. They’re fond of doing this, but I don’t know why they bother. In 100 percent of cases so far, the dogs have immediately taken the baby bunnies from the cats and then cheerfully devoured them. Now don’t get me wrong, we try our best to stop it when this happens. We scream “Leave it! Leave it! Leave it!” followed by “Drop it! Drop it! Drop it!” followed by “Eww, gyyahhhh, noooooo! Just… just take it outside! Outside!!!” It’s the worst episode of Planet Earth you’ve ever seen.
Hearing the squeak downstairs, I cursed at the inevitable devouring that was about to befall the squeaker, but I went out to see what I could do. From the landing, I could look down into the living room where I saw the squeaking bunny sitting all by itself in the middle of the floor near the dining room table. The cat had allowed it to escape so he could play with it, but didn’t seem to be in a hurry to do so. The bunny didn’t seem to be injured, and took the opportunity to run away, scurrying across the floor and then behind our entertainment center. Unfortunately, it was spotted by our middle-child dog Moose, who had also heard its cry and come runnin’ in to find it. He dashed behind the entertainment center after it.
What Moose failed to notice, though, 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 instead dodged beneath a low cabinet and changed direction, because I then saw it run along the baseboard of the back wall, past the closed back door, and then disappear behind the arm of a piece of furniture we call “the dog couch.” (We call it “the dog couch” because it’s a ratty old sofa, 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, trying not to draw Moose’s attention to the bunny’s hiding place. Moose was still behind the entertainment center looking for it, though, and had been joined there by our other two dog-children to form a bunny search party. Meanwhile, our other cat, a remarkably dumb animal we call Fatty Lumpkin, had gone over to the couch to investigate the bunny. As Fatty started to peek around the edge of the couch, the bunny suddenly popped out from that very corner. This startled Fatty, who nearly broke a hip trying to flee the room. His flight, in turn, startled the bunny, who ducked back behind the couch.
I walked over and opened the back door, creating an escape route for the bunny. I then slipped over to the dog couch itself and began rattling the Venetian blinds which hung down beside the arm in the bunny’s hiding spot. Sure enough, he popped back out and began hopping toward the open door. And then he completely avoided safety and escape by hopping right past it. In fact, the bunny was moving toward the dogs, who were all three still behind the TV looking for him. I was pretty sure I was about to witness natural selection in action. However, the bunny then changed direction again and scurried along the front edge of the “good” couch. From there he hopped all the way over to the still closed front door at the front corner of the room.
As calmly as I could, I moved toward him, pausing only to pick up the soft green rag carpet we keep near the door, which I hoped to use as a makeshift net. Before I could get any closer, though, the bunny bolted along the side wall and I was forced to fling it early. It flew and landed, not directly on the bunny but in his path at the base of that wall. And the bunny dove beneath it. I then stooped over and gently wrapped the carpet into a tube, creating a makeshift bunny burrito, which I then carried outside, closing the front door behind me.
I waited a few seconds, praying that the dogs had not noticed any of that. Or, if they had noticed, that they would then not also notice that the back door was still wide open and run around the outside of the house. Hearing no thundering canine approach, I deposited our guest onto the patio. The bunny looked a little dazed as he peered around. Then he wiggled his whiskers and hopped off into the night without so much as a thank you. I watched him go, content in the knowledge that we’d finally scored one for the bunnies.
And back inside, the vicious bunny killers continued searching for him behind the TV for several more minutes.