Wednesday, January 11, 2006

On the Way to Work

I'm having to teach winter intensive courses while the kids are on holiday from their regular schools. It means having to teach an extra day and a half's worth of classes during the regular Monday to Friday work week. So, I'm busy and tired. But, I know, boo-hoo, so is everyone else. I'm just sayin.

On my way to work this morning I stopped off to give some treats to the outside dogs and they stood up and wagged their tails at me, but wouldn't come close. Usually Barky Boyfriend comes right up to me, and sometimes seems more interested in having me scratch under his chin than the dog-snacks I have in my other hand. Today, though, they only took a couple little steps in my direction and then would come no further. I wondered why, but then noticed about a foot in front of me lay Brown Bunny. I was shocked, and let out a gasp and an "oh no!" I tossed the dogs their treats and walked around to look at the bunny cage. There was a half a head of lettuce preventing the door from closing properly. Big White Bunny was still inside, but the smaller Brown Bunny must have managed to wriggle his way out. He only made it about 20 feet away, where he was either hit by a car, or the dogs killed him. So "bunny" can now be added to the list of dead things on my way to work: giant toad, baby mouse, flat snake, magpie, chicken, kitten, dog, and various insects. I wasn't horribly sad, but found my eyes leaking involuntarily the rest of the way to school.

Once I got to school and taught the first class, I sent a student to make sure the cage was closed properly on her way home. It was, and Brown Bunny had already been removed. That was good. Bunny-owners will let the bunnies' water bottle lay on the ground for a week, so I sort of expected to have to witness the ashes-to-ashes-dust-to-dust of the bunny, I'm so glad that won't be the case.

I talked with my aunt over Christmas, and suggested that she and my uncle should really try to come over for a visit. She asked if I thought she could handle it, and I asked her what she meant. She said, "are there, like, many stray animals all over the place?" I remembered again what an animal lover she is, and wondered if she could deal with things here. I think so, just so long as she didn't have to walk my route to school every day!

She's worked as a volunteer with the animal shelter in her neighbourhood for a long time, and is often fostering stray mom cats with their newborn kittens. Her and my uncle have a big dog, two cats and a bunch of fish of their own. She's even rescued and hand raised two baby squirrels! The first, Wally, she fed with an eye dropper every couple hours or so around the clock. It was so tiny and helpless, but grew up strong and healthy. Poor Jacky finally set it free outside and happily watched it climb up a tree to a platform my uncle had built in a tree for the animals, only to witness it being snatched up and carried away by a hawk! She was shocked, but is hip to the circle of life, so recognized that's the way things go.

Anyhow, R.I.P. Brown Bunny.

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