At lunch with a friend, I remembered a story I had read in that morning’s Arizona Daily Star. For some reason, at that very moment it struck me as funny. Maybe the guacamole and chips or the atmosphere at Elvira’s in Tubac had made me giddy. Roz had just finished a funny story about her dog swallowing an avocado pit.
“Did you read the newspaper this morning?” I asked.
“No, I never read the paper anymore.”
“Oh. Well I read this funny thing, well, maybe not actually funny – but kind of weird. There was this baby earless bunny….”
“An earless bunny. What?”
“Yeah, it was born without ears…some other country, I can’t remember where. It had become a celebrity due to the deformity.”
“Well that’s unusual.”
“I know. So, anyway, it was 17 days old and they were preparing to move it to a big zoo and launch a publicity campaign. One of the photographers stepped backward into some hay. The bunny had burrowed itself into the hay. He stepped on the little guy and killed it, quite inadvertently.”
“Oh, my God, that’s horrible”, said my friend. She looked stricken.
“They said he died immediately, so he didn’t suffer.” I realized it was not really a ha ha funny story, just a quirky tale.
“I don’t know why it strikes me funny now or what made me think of it…but what are you going to do?”
Hours later, back at the ranch, I went in the yard to water plants and meander around without purpose. It’s something I enjoy doing, the meandering part that is. I got out the hose, dragging to uncoil it, as I walked along the far side of my pool. I sprayed the lantana and was moving to the next thirsty plant when I heard a loud rustle. Something whizzed through my legs. All I saw was a furry blur.
I heard a splash and turned to see a tiny bunny had jumped into the pool. It was swimming frantically away, against the current of our self-cleaning system and I guess away from me.
“Oh no, oh no!” I cried out. Panicking, I ran to get the pool skimmer.
I tried desperately to corral the little fellow in the netting, but he was having none of it or me. I tried to scoop and push him to the wall to pop him up, but succeeded only in slamming his little body into the pool wall.
I approached him from behind. He was swimming slower, getting winded. I quickly dipped the skimmer in behind, scooped him and popped it up.
Up went the bunny, flying through the air, out of the skimmer and landing with a splat on the pool deck. The tiny soaked animal took off at lightning speed and disappeared from sight. But, he was alive.
For a couple of years, we occasionally found bunnies in the pools filter. It so upset me that I bought a critter scamper ramp and put it in the water, tying the dangling rope to a rock. Supposedly, any animal stuck in the pool would find the ramp and scamp up and out. As happens, after installation, the neighborhood rabbits seemed to have smartened up and stopped jumping in my pool, so I removed it. Maybe their eyesight had improved from eating my new flowers, so they didn’t accidently enter. I’m just saying.
This was the first time I ever almost drowned a rabbit. I realized belatedly I’d have to navigate the yard slowly, especially around any plants, lest I startle another poor bunny and cause him to take the plunge. The wildlife here will kill me yet.