bunn (bunn) wrote,

It Must be Bunnies

Recently, Rosie has started spending time at the top of the steps that lead to the back garden. This seemed odd: usually my dogs utterly scorn our back garden, instead insisting that they must be taken to more exciting locations where there is more to sniff: people, dogs, foxes, sheep, Victoria Sponge Cake, deer etc.   Rosie will go out of the back door a distance of about four feet, to the spot where I am required to place a dog bed in the position where it will catch the sun.  And Brythen will occasionally go out for just long enough to dig madly and destroy the lawn, then come gallumphing back in joyfully with muddy feet all over the carpet.

Anyway, yesterday we saw what she was looking at : the wild rabbits from the field across the road have started spending time in our garden.  And so Rosie Roo stands at the top of the steps, silently staring at the rabbits, which sit there staring suspiciously back at her. I'd assumed that any rabbits that close to an unrestrained Rosie would swiftly become ex-rabbits, but apparently not.  She has never caught a rabbit while she's been with me, but she did catch a couple of grey squirrels, and she will quite happily spend an hour or so running madly about looking for them.  I thought the reason she had not caught any more was because she is usually muzzled and wearing a bell when off-lead.

Either she is trying to lure them into a false sense of security by waiting for them to become confident enough to venture away from the hedge, or this is another manifestation of the odd process by which predators sometimes become acclimated to prey that comes right into their home territory, and no longer consider it to be prey, but something between a pet and part of the furniture.  That process is the reason that some years ago I had to spend ages catching a mouse that had taken up residence in our utility room: the room in which six cats ate their breakfast every day. The mouse was considered Someone Else's Problem by all six of them!  And I assume it is also the reason that Rosie curls up happily with our cats, but if we see a cat outside the garden, she hits the end of the lead at top speed, then bounces up and down madly like a kangaroo, shrieking saluki-threats.

Will Rosie Roo catch a rabbit and the other rabbits flee in terror?  Or will I come down one morning to find the rabbits have joined us inside the house and are all curled up with cats, lurchers etc, all together on the hearthrug...?  Who knows. 
Tags: dog behaviour, lurchers, rabbits

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