The urgency of the situation is always directly connected to the length that my two syllable name becomes.
I knew it was bad when I heard, "Caaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrooooollllllllll."
Let's just say I quickly realized that this was 9-1-1 urgent. I ran into the dining room to see my husband holding the dog by his collar, and the dog had something in his mouth. There was growling. There was snarling. I'm not sure who was doing which.
We weren't sure what "it" was, but Enzo was not going to share his morning conquest.
I had a lightbulb moment...
I had liverwurst in the fridge.
When panicked I resort to bribery. It's worked in the past for toddlers, and it works for dogs.
I dug a big spoonful of goo out of the package. One whiff of that fragrant mush and Enzo dropped his score.
On my dining room floor, was a tiny baby rabbit. Slimy. Hardly recognizable. Not much bigger than a sausage. My husband thought it looked like something we've pulled out of a Thanksgiving turkey cavity pre-roasting.
I scooped it up with a paper towel. I thought it moved. My husband nudged it. It squeaked.
"Monday. Monday. So good to me. Monday morning, it was all I hoped it would be..."
We located the nest and gently put it back along with its sibling that was lying outside of the clump of grass and fur covering the small hole that Enzo had found and ravaged. I covered them back up hoping that their mother would return despite my dog's intrusion.
But... I wondered, what's the life cycle of baby bunnies? And how was I going to keep the dog away from the nest that Momma had conveniently placed in the middle of the front lawn -- where the dog likes to run, and where Enzo and I had spent most of the day before gardening.
I remembered that we had a puppy enclosure in the shed. I'd have to secure the babies.
I soon learned from my neighbor that the Mom would return at dawn and dusk and sit over the nest to nurse her wee ones. I found a couple of bricks to prop up a side so she could make it into her safe haven. I also learned that as soon as they were old enough to leave the nest, they'd be gone. And, not many babies make it due to predators.
Thanks, Mother Nature (and Enzo).
New responsibility in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia.
The joke was on me. I was officially no longer an empty-nester.
How long would I need to protect them? How would I know if Momma came back to care for her newborns? And, could I ever forgive my dog?
Turns out, I wouldn't figure any of it out, except being mad at the dog. As my husband reminded me, he was just being a dog. A week or two later, we hadn't seen any activity and we moved the puppy pen back to the shed.
Just yesterday, I saw a very small rabbit dash under my boxwoods in the front yard.
I felt somehow triumphant and proud. Maybe, just maybe, they'd made it after all.
And, I sort of breathed a small sigh of relief. They are gone, and I am again an empty-nester.
I have however made a mental note to buy more liverwurst... just in case.