Bunnies and DoggiesOct 03, 2023
This is a combination that doesn't mix too well, especially when one is a wild bunny and the other is a dog that loves to chase anything that moves (the cats have learned how to hold their ground).
Last week I talked a little bit about Killer, who lives in our barn. Not sure, but Killer, we think, has offspring. There have been a couple of smaller bunnies flitting in and out of the barn now and then.
Bunny children, like human children, like to push the edge of the envelope. So it has been with these little bunnies.
Dog in the vicinity? Let's run really fast across the arena and draw their attention. And it works, every time.
I was in the barn today, doing my zen chores - picking up manure, filling water buckets, generally having a great time - and I had given the dogs free rein into the arena instead of closing the door.
I suddenly saw all three of them tearing from one end of the arena to the other, hard on the heels of what looked like it might be Killer herself - she's speedy, and she made it under the hay pallets with room to spare. The dogs, however, were not to be dissuaded. They hung out by the pallets, waiting for some unwary individual to poke a cute little nose out from under the safety of many bales of hay and a lot of wood.
I went about my chores, spending some time outside, and when it was time to leave, I only saw two dogs in the barn. Ah, well, dog number three must have used the door and gone outside.
I called the dogs and we headed up to the house. Still no dog number three. That was odd. Maybe she went inside, Glenn was still home (but soon heading out to his day job).
Nope, not in the house, either. Glenn left, I put the two dogs in the truck, and we went back down to the barn.
As I opened the door and called, I was greeted with silence, but as I stepped further in, I saw dog number three laying down by the hay bales, and it looked like there was something laying next to her.
At first I thought it was a bird, but as I got closer, I saw it was one of the little bunnies. It was very still, but then started to move. I warned dog number three off, to allow the bunny to make its escape.
Except...its hind legs weren't working. It was dragging itself along toward the pallets. It's amazing how fast a rabbit can move, even one with only two working legs. I was appalled, and so very very sad and upset. It wasn't dog number three's fault - she was only doing what was in her nature. I hate to see any animal suffering, and while the bunny seemed to have a lot of energy to get away, my human mind worked over time. What was I going to do? The bunny got close to the pallets and then stopped as dog number three and I headed away.
I took dog number three to the truck and put her in, then went back to the barn.
This was a wild animal. I had nothing with which to catch it, even if I could. My only thought was to help it not hurt. It was still laying near the pallets. Crying and shaking, and saying over and over "I'm so sorry, bunny, I'm so sorry," I grabbed a shovel and started toward the bunny.
The thought of killing anything is anathema to me - I escort spiders and other bugs out of the house rather than squish them. To pick up a shovel with the intention of ending the bunny's life was something I truly did not want to do, but I couldn't stand the thought of it laying there suffering, either.
The bunny saw me coming, and slipped faster than I could think under the pallets. I was totally conflicted. There was no way I could get it out. I had a reprieve from having to deliver a blow to the head. But would it suffer? What was the purpose of this? Was I supposed to dig it out? Would that make it worse?
In the end, I left. I'm a coward. I couldn't bring myself to scare the little creature worse by trying to get it out, and I didn't want to hurt it any more than it was hurt. I suspect it will expire (if it hasn't already) somewhere under the pallets. But perhaps it will have the company of Killer and its other sibling.
My human, three-dimensional self started second guessing myself. If I had stayed in the barn and looked harder for dog number three, would the bunny have been spared? Have I done the right thing leaving it be? Should I have moved faster? Should I have brought the shovel with me when I went to retrieve the dog? The questions are endless.
My soul, the deeper part of myself, knows that this was a contract between the bunny, the dog, and probably me too. It's not up to me to know what the bunny wanted in being maimed like it was, but there is always a deeper meaning than what we see on the surface. My part in all of this was as witness, and as a learning experience. I don't have the words to describe what the learning is for me. It's still too fresh.
I've sent the bunny Love and Light, and wished it well on its journey. I've told it I hope it's not in pain, and encouraged it, if this is what it wanted, to merely close its eyes and release a body that no longer works. I can't feel it, so perhaps it has already left this physical existence. I sincerely hope so.
Love even those things that are not "yours." Try to understand their point of view. Know that there's more to this life than meets the eye. It's hard. It's also worth it. It rips open your heart, and allows more room for compassion for all things. We need a lot more of that in this world.
And therein lies the lesson. Thank you, bunny, for your sacrifice. Everyone who reads this will be changed because of you.
P.S. This morning I found the bunny's body. It had moved itself out from under the pallets. There is no reason in the world I can think of that an injured animal would make its presence known, except to let me know that it had, indeed, fulfilled its journey on this planet and passed on. Sweet, sweet, bunny, incredible teacher. I will never forget you.
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