I KNOW THE SQUEAK of a three-inch baby bunny hanging from the mouth of a Labrador retriever.
It’s faint. Barely audible. High-pitched.
Buddy the Dog – back from two weeks of boarding while our family took a May vacation – quickly sniffed out a rabbit hole in our back yard.
Four baby bunnies lay hidden under a blanket of dry grass and Mommy the Bunny’s rabbit fur.
Two lived to tell a tragic tale, if bunnies can talk.
By the time my wife and I got to the hole, one bunny lay mostly dead, though still twitching a might.
Buddy held the other flopping loosely in his mouth.
“Leave it!” we both yelled.
No way was our retriever going to un-retrieve.
He squeaked the bunny at us. Two or three times. Then ran across the yard.
Just as quickly, he ran back to us.
Hope surged. Maybe the bunny was still alive.
Then right at my feet, by the bunny hole, Buddy the Dog swallowed the bunny whole.
Without touching the three remaining bunnies – including the one almost dead – my wife scooped them into our doggie pooper scooper, which looks a bit like a hoe.
I dug a new rabbit hole outside our wooden fence, beyond the reach of Buddy the Dog.
We gently dropped the bunnies into the hole, onto their cushion of dry grass and Mommy the Bunny’s rabbit fur. We covered them with more of the same.
Mommy the Bunny found them later that day. By then, the nearly dead bunny was all the way dead. Mommy the Bunny kicked it out of the nest.
The two remaining bunnies seemed alive and well. I saw movement beneath their furry blanket, as though they were jockeying for position.
Buddy the Dog discovered the new hole a day later, this past Monday. I heard him barking in backyard. He has a particular bark when he’s fixated on one thing, such as a ball stuck behind the rosebush, or fresh bunny meat a few inches out of reach.
He started digging a hole under the wooden fence, uprooting about a square foot of my lawn.
I covered the emerging gap with large landscaping rocks. Then I went back into the house to work.
It was too quiet for too long. Not like Buddy the Dog.
I went back outside to check on him.
He was chewing holes through the wooden fence.
Two slates were gnawed like they were the work of a tall beaver.
I put up a secondary fence in front of the wooden one. It’s wire. So far, it’s holding.
I can’t be angry with Buddy the Dog.
For one thing, he’s doing what dogs do naturally. Eat.
For another, I can relate to wanting something badly enough that you tear things up trying to get to it – maybe even hurting yourself in the process.
When we’re at that stage of wanting something desperately, and pursuing it relentlessly, it can be hard to see the damage we’re kicking up.
I’m making a mental note.
Next time I’m pursuing something that doesn’t seem to want pursued, I’m going to try to remember to take a break and think of a prayer:
Find your delight in the LORD. Then he will give you everything your heart really wants.
– Psalm 37:4 NIRV
Not what we think we want.
What we truly want.