Monday, August 8, 2016

Being a fish out of water by Cheryl Harper

Do you love a good "fish out of water" story? I do. I think I must have been unduly influenced in my formative years by Green Acres, the show where farm living and Park Avenue go head to head. I never imagined I'd be living my own Green Acres episode, but I am. Every single day.


Last week, my dog, Jack, brought me a very special gift. I don't know if you know this, but I really like that dog. He's sweet. He's mainly a lover, not a fighter. There are two gigantic exceptions to this philosophy.
1: Roadrunners. HE HATES THESE BIRDS WITH A FIERY UNDYING PASSION. If he were a cartoon dog, he would totally be buying every Acme anvil he could get his paws on.
2. Bunnies. Widdle cuddly bunny wunnies have taken over my yard, as bunnies will do.

**Warning: if, LIKE ME, you are squeamish about majestic beasts like my dog Jack doing murderous yet natural dog things to wild intruders in his domain, skip to the end.**

Jack has a spacious and comfortably appointed fenced in back yard, but he likes to patrol the front yard, too, so when I am home, I will let him out on a lead. There is no way he could do anything truly guard doggish, right? He's slowing down a bit, growing a spare tire around the middle, moving as quickly as I do when I get out of bed in the morning.

Last Wednesday, as I was cleaning up the kitchen to leave for work, I looked up at the sliding glass doors to see...baby dog Jack with a rabbit head in his mouth. Just the head. How did I know it was a rabbit head? The ears hanging out the side of his mouth were a clue. And he was proud. So very proud.

It took two pieces of cheese and some fancy footwork to get him to drop it outside while he was inside the house. Then I had to find the rest of the rabbit.

**From here, it's safe again**

When I had a snake on my kitchen floor, was he any help? NO. Ain't nobody taking care of that problem but ME.

I am as unprepared for these episodes as Eva Gabor was for life on the farm. Trauma. So much trauma.
For me, not him. This is how sorry he feels:


So, will this show up in a book someday? I don't even know. I tend to turn away from circle-of-life stories whenever possible, but I will never forget the feeling of "What in the world?" as I glanced at my happy, proud dog. THAT can totally go in a book someday.

I like writing people who are outside their comfort zones. My heroine in Heart's Refuge is in very deep water and swimming as fast as she can. That I can relate to, so if you read one of my books and wonder how I can capture being shocked and grossed out in vivid detail, just know I've lived, man. I have lived it.

17 comments:

  1. Funny story Cheryl, Yes, you are going to have to put that in a book. My dog has brought creatures also. He sets out to play and then can't figure out why the small animal doesn't play anymore after he's shaken the life out of it. LOL Of course its another story when the animal is large. yikes

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  2. Thanks for the giggle this morning, Cheryl! I can totally see the happy, proud puppy carrying around a rabbit head. Our blue healer mix loves to hunt in the hay barn for mice, but she discovered it was much easier to steal the cat's prize. Our tomcat would bring his kill to the door to show it off before going to eat it. The dog would harass him until he would drop the mouse/rat to swat at the dog. Then she'd swoop in, grab the rodent and run around the house with just the tail hanging out of her mouth. Lazy dog.
    Ah...life in the country! Now I'm going to be singing "Green Acres is the place for me" all day long. Thanks. :) I loved that show.

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  3. LOL! Poor little rabbit. I remember once, while talking to our neighbor, their white lab, who stood nearby, bit the head off a mourning dove. I was mortified!

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  4. Cheryl, I wrote a post on this blog about the bunnies taking over our yard last year. I couldn't believe how many cute, baby bunnies we were seeing (and how effectively they were decimating our gardens)!

    In doing some research, I discovered that one mother rabbit and her female offspring (in the absence of natural predators like Jack) could result in 187 billion (yes, that's billion) bunnies in seven years! We have a large property and, fortunately, the bunnies are faster than our pups, Harley and Logan. Despite understanding why natural predators need to exist, I'm glad that neither of our pups has caught a rabbit to date as I would much rather deal with relocating snakes (and have done so) than extracting a bunny head from a doggie mouth.

    Thanks for the chuckle, Cheryl, and you know I loved Heart's Refuge...which incidentally is featured on the Harlequin website right now for THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER, under the category of Dogs That Heal Hearts: http://www.harlequin.com/store.html?cid=623580 :-)

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  5. Cheryl, Isn't there an ad running right now for a dog food that claims inside every dog is a wolf? They show wolves in the wild running after their prey and then dogs sneaking through the long grass--after what they don't show. I just think dogs and cats are natural hunters. But I don't envy you trying to get him to give up his prize catch of the day.

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  6. Cheryl, I can relate. My Siberian Husky went after porcupines and skunks as well as mice but my cat was even worse. She brought home live snakes. I got really tired of returning that poor creature to the well where he usually stayed.

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  7. Cheryl, I have cats in the neighborhood who hunt moles and proudly present them to the neighbors, usually on front doorsteps. :-) So far, they haven't discovered the birds and squirrels...but the squirrels here are bigger than the cats.

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  8. Cheryl, your frame (photo) did not show up. The HTML is there.

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  9. Cheryl, this was so funny and brought back memories of too many similar episodes when my Golden Retriever, Beau, was alive. But your bunny head story will stay in my memory forever!! Congrats on being featured in The Dog Days Of Summer!!

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  10. Cheryl, thank you for the laugh this morning. I can relate. Lucky has proudly killed a couple moles and we had a border collie who was deadly on snakes (which I was fine with). She also didn't like porcupines, but unfortunately for her, they ALWAYS won the fight. Ouch. Those quills are the worst. But like a couple other people mentioned above, it's always been our cats that were deadlier than our dogs. We had one that regularly brought home rabbits, squirrels, mice, shrews, birds, snakes and bats. She would even stalk the deer in our field. I don't know what she thought she was going to do with it if she ever got a hold of it. But in that moment I think she felt like a lion stalking a wildebeest!

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  11. Too funny, Cheryl! I'll never forget seeing our chocolate Lab out in the backyard hopping around. I thought it was so cute until I saw him flip his head back and a baby bunny go flying in the air! He didn't want to kill them, just play with them I guess! I sent my husband out immediately to relocate the babies who did not want to play :)

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  12. Cheryl, that's hilarious! (As long as you weren't there, it's hilarious.) We had a cat who loved the dog and always put her trophies in his dish. The dog always whined until I removed the treat. We also had to close off the kitchen one night and leave the transom open because the cat had brought in a live bat. I guess all our experiences are grist for the mill, so be sure to put all that in your idea file with the same sparkle with which you told us about it.

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  13. Ah, been there. Our current dog is a ratter, which I don't mind at all except that she wants to show off her trophies. Like Carol's, she once tangled with a porcupine, and having more than a hundred quills removed wasn't cheap. My son said she'd have stayed and fought on if he hadn't grabbed her and carried her away. She probably thought the porcupine was running out of quills.

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  14. Oh, funny! Not sorry I missed it, but...

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  15. I would have been mortified at that discovery. I have little bunnies in my yard and my cat just watches them through the backyard door. I think he knows he's too old to do anything about it. Jack's just doing what dogs do, right?
    Oh man, you just reminded me that I have to read Heart's Refuge too. I'm so behind. ) :

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  16. LOL, so far Lucy the Dog brings me lizards. Tyre the Cat, though, brings me birds, to my bed. EWWWW.
    I like Jack.

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