Had to go “country” on this one

Perhaps I killed the Easter bunny of 2020? I just can’t get her out of my mind . . .

Gardening with a dog keeps you more aware of your surroundings than on the tasks at hand. I have to call out for Elle every 10-15 minutes because I just don’t know where her sniffing will take her: to the pond behind us for a swim? Chasing after a young family pushing a stroller in the court? Saying “hello” to the neighbor boys cutting through someone’s yard? Rolling in goose crap? Or today, intently sizing up the nest of bunnies hidden in the vegetable bed!

Fortunately I was nearby when she decided to jump the wire fence and investigate the litter of baby rabbits in our vegetable bed up close. Then all hell broke loose! The 3 bunnies I saw scattered in 3 different directions while she dashed to and fro trying to catch one or all of them. It all happened so fast! “Elle get out of here!” I shouted only to find her jump out then jump back in again as I tried to free one of the furry creatures now strangled by the 1/2″ green chicken wire. I pushed its head backwards wondering if it would bite me? Elle grabbed onto a brother (or was it a sister?) trying to escape through the black metal fencing that enclosed the entire area; I lifted up the chicken wire and the weight of the bunny’s body below my hand broke it loose. By then I caught a glimpse of the 3rd sibling getting caught the same way just out of reach then breaking free and squeezing around the black fence post to escape the area. What mayhem ensued as the one now in Elle’s jaws squealed loudly!

Elle in hot pursuit at another time, for another cause.

I ran over to rescue it but it was too late. Probably only about 13 seconds had transpired at this point and the first one to escape had already been chomped by our German shepherd huntress. Elle often just plays around with the furry critters she finds in our yard, engaging in a terrifying-for-them and delightful-for-her game of catch and release. This time her usually soft grasp of her jaws had sheared the skin off of the back of the tiny rabbit which exposed the upper half of its pink and white spinal column. I was mortified! How grotesque! I really didn’t know what to do. The animal was suffering greatly so I shooed her captor away only to witness the little one struggling to run off into the bushes. “It’s going to run off to die,” I thought to myself and who knows what will happen after that: a turkey vulture will circle around and take her to dinner or more likely, Elle will find her and torture her some more. I knew what I had to do.

The blade of the shovel became a protective shell over her and from the menacing canine while I called out from the backyard, “Steve! Steve! Are you there?” I called for my husband in the house. He wasn’t there. I called for him in the shed. He wasn’t there. I called for him in the garage. He wasn’t there. Geez! He was just here a couple of minutes ago! Steve takes off as quickly as the dog sometimes when on a mission that only men can understand. But does he realize that his damsel is in distress and needs him RIGHT NOW?!

It was all I could do to keep Elle from going insane. I should have put her in the house but another reality came over me that took precedence: my dog, our dog had maimed a baby rabbit and it was suffering while I ran around to get someone else to take care of the matter. You know I grew up in a crowded suburb north of Detroit, Michigan, not in the country, right? You know that I barely shot a b.b. gun at a paper target as a kid and visited apple orchards for my “country” experiences. But somehow I knew that the right thing to do was to put the bunny out of its misery as soon as possible. I HAD TO DO IT. I couldn’t wait for Steve. The longer I waited, the more problems I would have with Elle and my conscience for our pup torturing the softest, cutest, fuzziest of God’s creatures now huddled in fear and taking its last breaths under a cold, steel coffin in our backyard.

I killed the bunny. I killed the baby bunny. I put the baby bunny out of its misery. I did what any country gal would do in a heartbeat without thinking about it and ended the whole ordeal. Then I went to try again to locate Steve. Just as I came around to the front of our house, he rolled up into the cul-de-sac on his land paddleboard just as happy as he could be to be outside taking in our unseasonably warm early spring day. He’d already been out for his first race practice of the year at a local lake with the Kahele outrigger canoe earlier this afternoon and just couldn’t get enough of the 70-degree temp during the first week of April. The day was beautiful. Steve was in his element. Julie was waaaaaaaay out of hers!

Steve helped me with disposing of the lifeless body of what surely would have been the Easter bunny for all of the boys and girls in the neighborhood next year . . . or so it seemed to me. I killed the Easter bunny! Oh dear. We talked through the whole ordeal again and turned our attention to the projects that I was finishing up in our yard. Preparing dinner and cleaning up the kitchen followed while thoughts of the little carcass drifted in and out of my mind. Not a good day to be cleaning the remaining chicken off of the roast I had prepared last night! The pinkness of the inner bones reminded me of that little baby’s spine. Every time I closed my eyes, I could see the raw, bleeding, exposed back of the chomped and squealing precious critter with the soft paws and fluffy tail. Oh dear. Oh my.

So maybe some of you Gentle Readers grew up taking care of dead animals during your years living in the country or on a farm? The closest I got to this was probably throwing out a mouse trap with the mouse still entrapped but already dead, its jaws locked on a piece of pinconning cheese. Always felt bad for the little things. We had gerbils for pets you know, and they all look so harmless — until you find their damage behind the sofa, in the duct work, or in your shoes with just a little hole in them! I guess I grew up a little more today, a little more like a country gal who was simply taking care of a tiny matter in the circle of life.

And now it’s time to go to bed and close my eyes. Oh Lord, help me let go of the cute, squeaky rabbit that died today. Easter is coming soon and celebrating the sacrifice you made on the cross at Calvary for us to live eternally in peace, with you, is all that matters. And thank you for the courage to act when needed to end the suffering of one of your creations. You care about them and you care about me too. You have acted miraculously in my life in recent days in a way that is further reducing my own suffering and I am exceedingly grateful. More on that another time. For tonight, I get it Lord.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

You are so good. JJ

Go Elle!

My Little Buddy Today

Oh Elle!  I guess you need to go out, right?  Sometimes it takes a dog’s whining to give me the courage to try to move off the couch when my body is shaking involuntarily because of this illness.  And I appreciated it today.  In the midst of what would be 23 of 24 hours of this crap-ola-ski (again, Polish) I became immobilized by fear:  will these symptoms never end?  Somehow while standing on the back patio tossing the ball for my little buddy, they stopped.  How’d she do that?  Must have been puppy love.  

However, she was not outdone by my Stevers earlier today.  I had showered and drove to church a little late this morning to meet my hubby who had left eariler; that’s the one hour missing in the 23 of 24 hours noted above.  Sure was lovely worshipping together with Steve holding me a little closer than usual.  (He had seen what the morning was like earlier as he brought me breakfast in bed then watched it sit next to me until there was a break in the symptoms to enjoy it a bit later.)  We chatted with a few friends after church.  The sounds of so much activity started to get to me so much as a headache emerged and intensified, that I couldn’t even speak clearly before blurting out that I “had to go.”  Guess Steve thought I was driving myself home.  

Driving home?  Not exactly.  I sat in my truck (my own cool 4×4), as the shaking began and increased.  There’s a new version of these “tics” that has begun since the 80-hour hiatus earlier this week:  resting may not extinguish the episode.  Just move and WHACK!, a gross motor anomaly with a gutteral utterance oozes out.  Lord have mercy!  Didn’t know what I was going to do as dialing the phone to Steve wasn’t possible yet.  Then I saw him in my rear view mirror, getting into his vehicle gratefully parked within view.  I hit the speed dial on my cell and he answered! Yeah God!  Before long we figured out that he would be driving me home in his car.  So he transferred me and my stuff over there, moved my truck to a better spot in the parking lot, and off we went home.  There was a Missions Night tonight at church and something would surely work out to pick it up when we returned later.  

Not exactly.   Never got out of bed or off the couch in time to join Steve at church.  The tics would not stop!  So I turned on the tube.  I used to like watching golf on T.V. as a kid and 2 of the 6 stations we get were golf.  Opted for the McKales Navy re-runs instead.  All day long, McKales Navy until a better choice came along . . . and that option was my sweet dog calling to me.  Needing ME!  Okay little buddy, I’m here for you!  So I say, “Go Elle!” 

By the way, you folks out there know that I always say, “Go Steve,”  usually along the bank of a river as my River Bear races by in his Stellar SE Ultra kayak extraordinaire.  Stevers is my hero first and foremost in this life.  Today after returning home from church, you changed your clothes into super cyclist mode and rode your bike back to church in the 90+ degree heat to rescue my abandoned Frontier.  Wow!  Another “Goooooooooooo Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeve” is in order!  Then when you are gone, it’s, “Goooooooooo Elleeeeeeeeeee!”    I am richly blessed!

And thank you Lord, for your grace today.  It’s a different kind of life for me right now but not without it’s own sweet moments.  Yes, like having Jesus with skin on and, er, fur on.  :J