Breaking news. Ben and Rebecca, our two little rescue rabbits, have been attacked by a dog. Well, not just one dog, three to be exact. Two lurchers and a terrier which jumped the fence and did what lurchers and terriers generally do – which is kill rabbits.
Hard business to break to the kids, as we padded out into the garden forlornly.
“Maybe they’ve just gone on holiday” I explained, fooling no one, as we scoured a patch of grass, stained with evidence.
George from next door lent over the fence with a stick. In his eighties, country born and bred, George knew all about the recent events having just discovered poor Rebecca in a sorry state of disrepair in his drive.
“I’ll give those dogs what for,” he said, throwing a reassuring nod towards Noah who looked somewhat perplexed.
I like George, he’s exceptional at making fires in his garden. Wind, rain or shine, George has a fire. The kids like George, the dog likes George. George was firmly on team, and despite the fact he hunts wild rabbits with his ferrets almost daily, he seemed almost more aggrieved than us.
“Thanks George,” I said, nodding my appreciation. Solidarity in our village. That’s what it’s all about. George has lived through hard times so he would know.
“What Dad?” I heard the question. “Is George going to get the dogs?”
“If they come back, he will.” I replied.
“Are you allowed to get those dogs?” Noah asked.
“They might have rabies,” I replied, as you do, utterly rational. Preaching forgiveness wasn’t going to come easy for these three.
We found Ben and started to dig a hole. Noah and Sheba, aged 5 and 3 respectively, helped me clear a patch in the flower bed whilst Gideon, aged 15 months, tried to make off with the spade. It was a moment.
“Are they in heaven Dad?” Sheba asked.
“Yes Sweetheart,” I replied.
“Will they get Charlie?” Noah wondered.
“No, she is a man eating cat so she will be fine” I said as confidently as possible.
“If God made us, who made God?” Noah enquired.
I paused, hopelessly out of my depth. Once again floored by a logic far beyond my grasp. How to answer. Not one for a flippant response, I hesitated as the children looked at me expectantly.
“Best to ask Granny,” I said, hoping Cordelia couldn’t hear me. “She knows all about those things.”
Noah and Sheba nodded acceptingly as I busied myself with a wooden cross.
And so, having established the assassins were in fact visitors to the area for a week, and have now returned home. Coupled with the fact we’ve strengthened a bit of fencing along the back hedgerow and primed a ridgeback, a man eating cat and George from next door with his stick in case any other dogs ever return, we are debating our next step.
To replace or not to replace, that is the question. It’s a whole dilemma. Aside from the fact they cost money, time, angst, stress and heartache when the time comes, how can we ever REPLACE Ben and Rebecca for goodness sake? Quite easily as it turns out, with a call to the RSCPA.
And so the wheels of life keep turning and we all get a little wiser and stronger as we forge ahead. They did have a good life – surely another two rescue rabbits deserve a second chance? Killer dogs excepted of course.
And if, like me, you are wondering why we have got into this habit of having rescue rabbits in our garden in the first place. Ask Granny.