Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Understanding of Scottiedogs

The understanding of dogs surpasses all understanding -- except (perhaps) the understanding of dogs.

That is to say, they seem to understand us, even if we fail to understand them ... and that is (again, perhaps) the moral of this story.

In our Farmer MacGregor's garden, we are beset by the pestilential presence of long-eared lagomorphs -- those herbivorous mammalians of the snipping teeth and spring-wound hindquarters.

We have owned one live-trap for some time, which has proved helpful in sequestering squirrels, if not rabbits. When I picked up a second live-trap a week or two ago, at a farm auction, I figured I had a better chance of catching a buck-toothed miscreant or two ... for if I had several traps set in various parts of the garden, how could I fail?

The other day I set up the two traps toward the rear of the yard, which adjoins a small overgrown patch belonging to a neighbor. Toward that overgrown patch is where the bunny rabbits, Easter rabbits and Peter rabbits, and all their kin, run to hide once they are spotted by MacGregorian eyes.

Two traps, baited with carrots ... sure to succeed!

Little did I anticipate the strategy of wily rabbithound Scottiedog Lorna, who immediately made it a practice of rushing down the lane between the grape vines, empowered with an humanitarian sense of immediacy, while barking out, "Trap! Trap! Trap!" The traps were no more than live traps, of course -- but when a ferocious little Scottiedog comes zipping along with a jawful of helpful warning, how is a rabbit to know that a somewhat innocuous transplantation to the outskirts of the village was to be the full extent of the dread fate awaiting the entrapped?

Rabbits are all ears, though. Being all ears they have few if any places left in their already tiny heads for brains ... so upon hearing said Scottiedog, they swallowed said Scottiedog Lorna's line, and twitched their noses wisely at one another as they blithely passed by the enticing chunks of carrots.

Martha and I know this to be so: for we have observed that the traps have remained empty.

The other evening, though, Lorna showed the fruits of her strategy: for she came to show us one of the rabbits which had followed her warning (you may recall it: "Trap! Trap! Trap!") -- and which had, as a consequence, steered well clear of those devious wire-and-carrot contraptions.

Admittedly, Lorna showed Martha and me something less than the totality of the wise little rabbit that had evaded the traps.

But that is the way of Scottiedogs. Had Lorna shown us the whole rabbit, it might have seemed boastful, on her part. So she showed us only as much as modesty permitted.

The part she brought to us, when she trotted up the garden path, was the leggiest part of a wise little long-eared and boundingly leggy creature.

This leggy part is, I admit, one of the of the most characteristic parts of the rabbit.

Not the most characteristic part, though. Since bringing us that leggy part and the ears might have seemed a bit obvious, she opted for understatement.

This proves, perhaps (I say, yet again) that Lorna can speak with other animals. (Or is that not what I set out to establish ... I am no longer clear on the matter. I took a shovel and buried the documentation Lorna brought us. I suppose I should have kept it ... scientifific evidence ... etc.)

Cheers ...