Buddy – A Series Of Adventures – U Quazy Wabbit

Angel and Sunny Girl burst across the yard after the long eared infiltrator, but you do not join them in hot pursuit of that bunny.  I know you are getting too tired.  You are okay with letting this one go.  But oh, there was a time when no rabbit was safe on your watch.  You expertly dispatched many a cotton tail from our yard, and I thank you ever so much for your stealth efforts.

Remember the first one?  I was picking tomatoes out of the garden.  The girls were relaxing on the swing, and you were watching me work.  I barely noticed when you wandered off to the other side of the yard.  I scooped up my bounty and headed to the back door, not really thinking about you darting back and forth along the back fence line.

I was only in the house for a minute to dump the tomatoes and go back for beans.  By the time I stepped back outside, you were half ways across the yard, heading toward me with something in your mouth.

“Whatcha got, boy? A stick?  Want me to throw the stick for you?”  I couldn’t really see what you had.  But you were heading right to me with it.  I stood by the back door.  The closer you got, the more I could see.  That stick had legs.  Four legs. You paused several times to give your prize a good shake, then ran right up to me with it, stopping a foot from me with your head down, and feet planted firmly on the cement.  I tried to lift up your head.

OMG it’s a rabbit!

I was utterly shocked, and at a loss for what to do.  We had only just begun practicing forced retrieve, “fetch” and “give”.  You were very good at all three, even after the first few lessons.

“Buddy, Give.” I commanded and reached for the bunny.  The rabbit squirmed and you clenched down harder.

OMG the rabbit is still alive!

“GIVE!  Buddy, GIVE!”  I commanded and reached for the bunny.  The rabbits eyes were darting back and forth in a panic.  You maintained your “jaws of death” grip on it.  You were not going to give it up.  The bunny’s little front paws were reaching for me.

OMG the rabbit is begging for help!

“Buddy!  Right now, GIVE!” I commanded, placing my hands under your rabbit filled mouth.  The bunny was squirming, and your eyes were furrowed, as you held tight to that soft ball of fur.  No way, no how are you letting this Quazy Wabbit go.  You turned your head away from me.

I spend the next 20 minutes trying everything I can to get you to release that rabbit.  I tried to pry your mouth open.  I tried to blow on your nose and force open your mouth from under your jaw.  I spanked you, I yelled at you, I sat down and cried and pleaded with you.  The rabbit continued to look at me with desperate, traumatized eyes.  I was powerless.  I tried everything that I had learned, but nothing was working.  You were keeping that bunny, period.

I sat on the back step and started to cry with frustration.  What was I doing with a hunting dog, anyway?  I can’t even control you with some silly rabbit.  What kind of a hunter am I? What kind of a dog trainer? What am I supposed to do?  I put my head in my hands, and wept while you stood strong, locked in place with that rabbit hanging from your mouth.   It reached out with front paws again, and you gave it another good shake.

Oh good grief, I sighed.

Just as I began to lift my head to try one more time to extract the animal from your jaws, the rabbit began to squeal a high pitched wretched squeal.  That Quazy Wabbit was calling out for help beyond me.  Instantly and without hesitation, you began shaking that fur ball like a rag doll, shaking it hard and with purpose, while bearing down even harder with your jaws until the squeals stopped, and the rabbits body became limp and lifeless.

Then you held your mouth over my lap and dropped that Quazy Wabbit right into my hand.

“Good boy. Thank you.”  I said, numb and confused, not understanding what happened, what changed, or why you decided to let me have the rabbit.  By now, the girls came to see what was going on.  Angel was particularly impressed—this capture really downplayed her recent chipper kill.  You established your ranking as top dog of critter patrol in the yard.  Truthfully, I was totally impressed with your ever growing “natural ability” skill set, and showered you with praise despite everything.  You nosed the expired bunny a few times for good measure before I sent it away to Quazy Wabbit heaven.

It was weeks later before I was given an explanation for your stubborn behavior that day.  Apparently it’s normal for a young dog to act this way with their first critter capture.  You wanted to please me and bring me your prize, but didn’t trust my ability to manage a live bunny.  As long as it was still alive, you couldn’t let it out of your grip.  Once it expired, it was safe to give it to me.

Really, Buddy?  Gee, thanks a lot.

But thinking back to our many adventures over the years, you never once did anything like that with a pheasant.  And every bunny you caught since that first Quazy Wabbit was instantly delivered to my hand, dead as a doornail, with no resistance or argument.

QuazyWabbitYou go ahead and kick back, Buddy.  Let the girls work on this next one.  You’ve more than earned your critter patrol stripes in our household.

Buddy?

Buddy?

Where are you going, boy?

“Hey—you Quazy Wabbit—you’d better scoot outta this yard if you know what’s good for you!”

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Wow, what a story! I used to have a rabbit for years, so I really wanted a happy ending for the bunny in your story… maybe, something like you managed to save him and he became friends with Buddy. Yeah, right. A dog’s gotta do what he’s gotta do.

    • Indeed, I hear you! Although at the time I was completely taken aback, in hindsight what else could I have expected? He was an 11 month old, completely untrained hunting dog when he joined our family, and only days earlier he witnessed his Lhasa Apso sister “Angel” take down a striped gopher in about a minute. That male ego…whatta ya do? He had some proving to do, I guess. After that little episode, and months of training, Buddy evolved into the most amazing companion and hunting partner I could have ever hoped for. Many stories to share!

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