The vacant black orbs stare back at me with the uncomfortable intensity of death. What’s left of the innards are a mottled jelly and the once bunny-soft fur is a mass of dirt and blood and guts.
And I’m chasing it. At 6 a.m. In my nightgown. Breast and buttocks and wild hair unfettered. On the trampoline.
A year and a half ago, I made the ill-fated and heavily pressured decision to bring a dog back into our lives. After two years of peace and hairless quiet, the 15 years of triple-pet ownership had faded into pleasant memories. It wasn’t that I had forgotten the decimated carpets, the stolen food or the mangled shoes. It was that my daughter appears to have a promising future ahead of her in psychological warfare. And it didn’t help that friends were joining together in a chorus of maternal guilt trips.
She has decimated the underground irrigation system, causing hundreds of dollars in water bills. She’s dragged nine-foot-long poles and near-boulder sized rocks around the yard. The play set is tipping because apparently the best place to dig is under one particular corner and she ate a brown recluse that made Two-Face look attractive. The lounge pillows are never on the porch furniture where they should be and she ate a section of the pool vacuum hose, several hard plastic water guns, the tail of a large horny lizard and one hose nozzle. Two weeks ago she wanted to get up and play at 1:49 a.m. and yesterday she ate the chicken off the counter. And this morning she is tossing a not-freshly-dead rabbit in the air and rolling on it.
In the middle of the trampoline.
Every morning, this interloper that has interfered with my best attempts to slow and calm spends an hour or so lounging and sunning on the very large, very high trampoline that my daughter really, really, really, really wanted and then stopped using after six months. Instead of children laughing and jumping, our German Shorthaired Pointer runs laps on the inside and then around the outside. She lays on the edge soaking up the rays and when she happens upon something she knows is not permissible but is loathe to give up, she heads to the center of the trampoline and hunkers down to protect her position.
Like the irritating and long-drawn out impasse of my life, her yellow eyes dance excitedly at the game she is playing at my expense, the oozing treasure caught firmly in her jaw. I am hot, sweaty, tired and life isn't currently playing fair. Quietly seething I lean closer.
“I. Am. Not. Chasing. You. Any. Longer. If you don’t drop what’s left of that rabbit now, you will wish you looked that good.”
Cocking her head to one side, she looks at me unblinking and then suddenly there it is, deposited unceremoniously and juicily beside my flip-flopped foot. I watch her prance gracefully by and leap lightly off the trampoline to disappear out of sight.
Left alone with another mess to clean up.