Since Neil works long hours off the farm we don't get to spend as much time together as a family as we like. There are times when we just have to look at our never-ending list of projects that need to be done and agree that some family bonding is more important! Today was one of those days!
After chores we packed up the kids and headed north to Clarksville, VA to meet up with Neil's Dad. Clarksville was hosting a weekend of Hydroplane Boat Races which none of us had ever seen in person before.
We had a wonderful day out by the lake watching the races and water skiing show. The kids got sno-cones AND ice cream so they were thrilled! After taking all the walking and sun that we could handle we headed back to the suburban. On the way there we passed by a petting zoo (of which we had all the animals at home, plus more) that was having pony rides. Both the kids got to ride sweet Madeline the pony. Since it was late and they were packing up both kids got a double ride.
It was a good day... until we got home...
This morning while doing chores I discovered that a rabbit hutch door was opened and one of our new quasi-chinchilla rabbits was missing. Neil and I scoured the area around the barn and the woods but found no sign of her. I was disappointed in the possibility of loosing her but knew that she may not go too far and we might catch sight of her over the next few days if we were lucky.
Fast forward to this evening... we returned home from our day, the kids ran out to play and Neil and I headed inside with Taylor. Moments later the kids came running into the house to let me know that Emmie, one of our Anatolian Shepards, had the rabbit and she was "killing it". My heart sank and I ran down to the barn and there was Emmie lying down in the pasture over the rabbit. I feared the worse but walked closer to Emmie to see the condition of the rabbit... she was still breathing.. she was alive!
I knew that I had no chance of getting the rabbit away from Emmie. Once Emmie has something she will fight to keep it. I tried my old trick of trying to lure Emmie away with food but she had no interest in leaving the rabbit. Then the rabbit made a break for it and Emmie was right after it... picking it up over the spine and carrying it around... all the while the poor rabbit was screaming. I just couldn't let Emmie keep her. I used the only weapons I had with me; my voice and the metal food bowl I was still holding. I began hitting Emmie over the head and yelling at her to drop the rabbit. This of course infuriated her and she turned on me (which, in a way, is what I wanted), she dropped the rabbit to attack me... biting at the bowl which I held in front me and then she grazed my right thigh. Meanwhile, the terrified rabbit squeezed through the 4x4" goat fence to safety. I managed to back through a gate and get it closed before Emmie bit at me again.
Neil and I managed to find the poor rabbit hiding behind some sheets of plywood on the far side of the barn behind the milking stanchion. It took some doing to reach her with out risking her bolting again but we got her out and returned her to the rabbit hutch. She was panting pretty hard, her fur was all wet and missing in places but I couldn't see blood anywhere. The stress alone could be enough to kill her. I didn't have much choice but to just let her be for the night and see if she makes it through.
Neil said, "Well, no matter the outcome now, at least you'll know." And he is right, if she had just wondered into the wood and never returned I would never know what happened to her... at least now I will know.
Oh, and my leg will be fine. Two puncture wounds in my jeans and a small abrasion on the skin is all the evidence of Emmie's rage. Emmie, by the way, returned to her placid wonderful self within minutes of the rabbit's escape. She only guards what she feels is hers... if she has nothing to guard her aggression quickly recedes.