As I tidied my house and prepped food before my parents were to arrive for breakfast this morning, Harlow wandered around outside a bit. I try to avoid letting Harlow have free reign of the yard for more than ten minutes these days since she can get all feral and misbehave with no one around to stop her from poop-eating or whatever that she’s doing. Kind of like what she did today (and yesterday – see photo below). I’m clearly failing to observe the Not Too Much Time Alone Outside policy.
This morning I stepped outside to see what she was doing and saw her (what I thought was) eating grass. I called her to come in and when she didn’t as some time passed, I went back outside to look for her and found, in the spot where she had been standing “eating grass”, a wet baby squirrel. It was still alive and upon closer look I realized it was actually a bunny. Harlow was nowhere to be seen.
It wasn’t moving much, but I picked it up with a t-shirt and brought it inside, placing it on the kitchen island, still confused about the whereabouts of the dog. I went back out to the yard to look more carefully and found another bunny in the exact same spot as the first one. This one was definitely dead. So weird.
What is going on?
When I found Harlow across the yard tucked behind the firewood pile, I called to her. She looked up at me, her face covered in fresh dirt from the large terra-cotta pot she was digging in. What is she doing? Then, as I got closer, there was another dead baby bunny on the ground about two yards away from the pot she was digging in.
That’s when all the pieces came together, I understood what was going on, and I burst into tears; Harlow had found a rabbit’s nest in that pot, and finished the inhabitants.
I took her inside, trying not to be mad at her. She is a dog after all. This is not malicious. To her it’s just a normal thing to do.
I cleaned the mud from her face (I just gave you a bath, dang it!) and brought her upstairs to my bedroom. She was extremely worked up from the “excitement”, and I have learned that sending her to my room helps her calm down.
I wandered my yard looking for more babies. There was only the two that I could find, so I put the poor little things in a bag together and moved the pot to a higher location (crying the whole time, mind you). An additional wave of sadness came over me to find that the (stupid, why-would-you-put-your-babies-there?!) Rabbit Mom had padded her nest mostly with Harlow’s fur. I’m not quite sure how that fur was collected.
I cried big fat baby grown-lady tears while I put the two dead bunnies in the trash, and put the remaining, barely breathing bunny in a box (in my mind I named her Wonder Woman. I have no idea why) with a heating pad under it, and wondered what I was going to do with her. I didn’t want her to die, but even more, I didn’t want her to suffer. So, in truth, I hoped she would die, and thought that this was a likely outcome. I could at least try to make her as comfortable as possible until that happened.
Mom, Dad, and cousin Karin came for breakfast and I regaled them with the awful story, pointing out that the incident was the reason why my floors didn’t get vacuumed. “I noticed” my dad quipped.
I checked on Wonder Woman from time to time, wondering if there was someplace I could take her where she could be helped, but knowing it was unlikely she’d make it anyway. Her breathing was slow and shallow, her eyes open but unfocused.
By the end of breakfast, she was gone, so I apologized to her for what happened, wrapped her in the shirt she was laying on, and placed her with her siblings.