Our two-year old Drahthaar, Winston, has finally outdone himself this time. And that’s saying something.
Winston’s exploits are something of legend around our house and on this blog. He is a digging, chewing, glove-swallowing fiend who has not only eaten most of the stuffing out of the couch that sits on our back porch, but chewed up countless toys, horse brushes and even horse blankets, along with anything else he can get his mouth on.
Yesterday he finally took it too far.
It started first thing in the morning.
Desperate Hubby is gone deer hunting at the moment, staying in a cozy motel in his own room, eating at a restaurant for every meal and probably having a really nice time. I am home, wrangling the children, trying to negotiate morning and evening routines with enough flexibility yet structure to keep Batman, who desperately misses his daddy, on track and on task.
So yesterday we were finally all dressed, heading out the garage door for the short drive to school. Annabelle suddenly cocked her head like a dog and bolted for the sliding glass door to the back porch. Then she started screaming. At the top of her lungs.
I ran outside to see Winston in the frosty grass, Zach’s tiny black dwarf bunny Batman in his jaws. As soon as he saw me Winston had the good sense to drop Batman, who fell limply to the ground, and slink over to the far side of the yard. Zach (I know, it’s confusing, having BOTH Zach and Batman in the same story, but bear with me) immediately ran over and tried to kick Winston with his black Nike school tennis shoes, but the dog dodged him.
Annabelle, in the mean time, had run to Batman the Bunny’s side and tried to pick her (I know, I didn’t choose the name) up. Batman hopped across the yard to where I stood and I bent down and grabbed her. As I did so I knew that despite her apparent mobility we probably had a serious problem here.
First of all, Batman the Bunny does not like humans and is very hard to catch, even in the 2’ x 4’ bunny cage, so to hop right to me was a red flag. Secondly, she was very limp. I looked her over and she had no apparent injuries. There were no contusions or broken bones, but her fur was wet and slobbery and she didn’t struggle against my hands as she usually did when she was carried.
I carried her to the cage and put her in with her sister Snowfluff. The hutch door of the cage hung slightly open, an after-effect no doubt of the disaster-prone play date that Annabelle had enjoyed the previous afternoon (blog about that coming). Snowfluff was wisely staying in the front part of the cage, away from the door and out of range, but Batman had always preferred to stay in the enclosed hutch area, nibbling on the redwood and staying out of sight. Winston had no doubt noticed the door ajar and grabbed himself a little friend to play with. I sat the bunny gently in the cage on top of a big pile of hay and proceeded to try to get my children to school on time.
After many tears and histrionics (Annabelle) and a promise for a veterinarian visit, if required (me), I got the wee ones to school and headed to the gym and then on to the grocery store. I checked Batman the Bunny upon my return, and she seemed lethargic if not comatose. I knew that cold was a close ally of shock, so I found an empty office tote in the garage and put a big towel in it. Then I wrapped the bunny in another towel and put her in the tote, which I placed in the small master bathroom (or “Daddy’s Bathroom” as the kids call it), which is one of the warmest areas of the house if you keep the door shut.
Then I went back to the kids’ school where I volunteer for several hours every week. After school the kids were anxious to get home and check on Batman.
When I pulled into the driveway I noticed that the front gate of the yard hung wide open and knew that must have been another play date-casualty of the day before. Winston ran out of the yard to greet us in the garage, merrily wagging his tail.
My quick check on Batman showed that she was seemingly a little better, slightly more alert and a bit perkier, although she had not moved her position at all.
After a quick boot and coat change, I went out through the back door to meet Ron, our farrier, who was waiting for me by the horse pens to put a set a shoes on Freckles.
As I stepped off the back porch I saw a broad scattering of confetti-like paper and packing peanuts scattered across the yard. There was a bright red and yellow cardboard wrapper or cover scattered across the end of the porch, and a chewed up box as well as a large manila bubble-wrap envelope shredded across the grass.
It took me only a second to discover that the items shredded all over the back yard included a box that had previously contained a half-gallon of hoof ointment (present and undamaged) that I had ordered last week, as well as both a book (or pieces of it) and its mailing envelope that had obviously been delivered from Amazon.com. I was so mad I was fit to be tied, and I told Winston over and over what a bad dog he was as he accompanied me out the back gate, bouncing happily all around me with his tongue hanging out.
I was mad at the UPS man for just a second, but I knew it wasn’t his fault. He had simply done what he had done dozens of times before at our house, which was to put the packages on the front step and leave them. Winston was (almost) always locked in the back yard, where he could do no harm to any deliveries that may be left unsupervised until we came home. On this day, unfortunately, he was free to help himself to both packages (how he carried the large box containing 3.5 lbs. of bubble-encased hoof liniment the hundreds of feet from front to back I don’t know).
But this IS Winston we are talking about.
Anyway, after Freckles got her shoes on and we did our evening chores, we were invited over to Grandpa Vernon’s and Grandma Kay’s for a snack (me and the kids) and a glass of (excellent, red) wine (me). Before we left, though, I picked up the hundreds of pieces of shredded paper and plastic peanuts from the back yard, along with the remains of my book.
As I did so I noticed a big black lump next to the shreds. I tried not to look, but it was so obvious I couldn’t tear my eyes away.
Sure enough, there was my left black fuzzy glove, one of a set that Annabelle had “borrowed” the previous weekend and returned to the house without. It had very obviously been swallowed whole by Winston and then deposited next to my shredded book. It was not vomited.
Annabelle ran inside to check the bunny, who she said was doing a little better. I took my book inside and quickly tried to figure out which title it was, since I had ordered two and they were being delivered from different addresses.
I really couldn’t tell which book it was.
When we got back from Grandpa Vernon’s an hour or so later, the bunny was still holding her own, and Annabelle pronounced her fine. She took her outside and put her back in the cage, and I started the evening routine, complete with twenty minutes of hysterical crying from Batman (the Boy not the Bunny) when we couldn’t reach daddy on the phone.
This morning I was up early and went out right away to check on the bunny. I left Batman the Boy sound asleep in my bed, moving quickly to sprawl over the scant eight inches of mattress he had allowed me to sleep on all night as soon as I vacated the space. His sister slept across the end of the bed, covered in a deer blanket (picture of not fur of) snoring quietly.
I turned on the back porch light and Snowfluff instantly hopped out of the hutch and over to see what was going on. I opened the hutch door with a growing feeling of dread to find a stiff, very dead and probably frozen Batman propped against it.
I shut the bunny door with teary eyes and went back inside, silently praying that the kids didn’t want to check on Batman before they went to school.
I spent part of the morning trying to decide if I should go and try to find an identical bunny before school gets out, or just tell the kids what happened and let Batman the Boy bury his bunny in the well-established pet and bird graveyard behind the back fence.
I decided on the latter, and boxed Batman the Bunny comfortably in a shoe box, wrapped in a little towel, for when the kids come home.
I have a feeling we have a lot of tears followed by replacement bunny shopping in our immediate future.
As for Winston, he is a member of our family and I wouldn’t really give him away.
Unless I could find someone who wants him.