January 2018
On the Edge of Common Sense

The Dog and the Rabbit

Have you ever been embarrassed by yer good dog? Me, either! I’ve got a good dog. An Australian shepherd with one blue eye and I believe he loves me. I believe I love him. He’ll go with me anywhere. When I say, "You wanna go?" he don’t ask, "Where you goin’? Goin’ to the game store?" No, he don’t care; he just wants to go.

And did you ever notice that it don’t matter whether you been gone five minutes or five days, yer dog is so glad to see ya. Can you think of a single human being that is that glad to see ya? Yer fixin’ to leave, walk out to the pickup and forget somethin’ so you run back inside. Yer dog licks yer hand. Your spouse says, "I thought you left!"

I’ve got a neighbor … a good neighbor. And when you live on the outskirts, a good neighbor is someone who lives just the right distance away. Close enough to circle the wagons, but far enough away to allow that privacy people like us seem to value. ("I believe those are Kansas plates, mother," he said, sighting through his binoculars.)

Anyway, she gets home ‘bout a quarter after 5 every day. Goes through the house and comes out the back door wearin’ her coveralls. In her backyard, she has a long line of rabbit hutches and she spends, what is to me, an inordinate amount of time messin’ with them rabbits ... talkin’ to ‘em ... singin’ ‘em little rabbit songs.

Now, I’m sittin’ out on the back porch one afternoon in my porch swing. It’s about 2:30. I’m done workin’. I’ve already thought up somethin’. I look out in the driveway and there’s my good dog and he has got a ... and you know how you can tell it ain’t a jackrabbit? They aren’t black and white, and they don’t have them big floppy ears. He has got this rabbit between his teeth and he’s thrashin’ him like a shark with a ham hock! There’s dirt and leaves and brush and gravel flyin’ all over. I jumped up and grabbed that rabbit!

"Go git in the pickup you *#@^...!"

That rabbit looked bad. Looked like he was caught on fire and somebody put him out with the weedeater!

I ran in the house and run the tub full of warm water. Tested it with my elbow. Then I got some of my wife’s good shampoo. She gets it at the Holiday Inn; it ain’t that big a deal. I sudsed him up twice then moussed him with my daughter’s mousse. Made him sticky. You could thwack him on the tile, peel him off like Velcro. Then I run upstairs to the laundry and put him in the dryer. When he came out he was fluffy, looked like an electrocuted porcupine!

I carried him to my neighbor’s house. Sure enuf, the last hutch on the end was cocked open and it was empty. I took that rabbit and folded him ... into a rabbit position. Put a smile on his lips. All three of ‘em. Gave him a camel filter and leaned him up against the wire.

I went back to the house and commenced to rockin’. ‘Bout a quarter after 5, I saw my neighbor drive up, she got out, went through the house and came out the back wearin’ her covies. She started down that long line of rabbit hutches. Talkin’ to ‘em. Singin’ ‘em little rabbit songs. "Here comes Peter Cottontail, hoppin’ down the bunny trail ..." All of sudden I heard her scream!

I ran over there, bein’ the good neighbor that I was, "What’s wrong? What’s wrong?"

"My rabbit," she cried.

I looked in the cage and the poor little duffer had fell over. One ear broke off. It didn’t look good.

I stroked him gently and said, "Ma’am, I b’lieve he is dead."

I was a veterinarian, I could tell.

"Yes," she said, "But what bothers me is I buried him three days ago!"

 

Baxter Black is a former large animal veterinarian who can be followed nationwide through this column, National Public Radio, public appearances, television, and also through his books, cds, videos and website, www.baxterblack.com.