After two years of owning a pet rabbit, I can report they are…inscrutable. Or maybe too scrutable. All I know is that after 24 months of direct observation and regular interaction with us, Ruby remains a puzzle. I can’t figure out what she’s thinking, other than FEAR RUN PREDATORS.
Work or live with animals for a while, and you swiftly learn that discussions of their intelligence is limited by the arrogance of human primates. No, a rabbit can’t invent a malaria vaccine or discuss the works of Marcel Proust, but she can hear an acorn drop three blocks away and react accordingly FEAR RUN PREDATORS. An animal that is tasty eatin’ for everything with teeth and talons eventually evolves defenses to deal with it, and a lagomorph’s are well known — prodigious breeding, fast runnin’. And those amazing senses.
Our wonderful, departed Jack Russell could be an exhausting pet. Anything could set him off on a tirade of barking, and I yelled “shut up” so often I sometimes wondered if my neighborhood nickname was The Screamer. We’d had him for years before one day we were riding in the car, and he was occupying his usual place — back feet on the back seat, front feet on the console, leaning up against both of our elbows, which were keeping him from climbing into the front. He would ride this way for miles, especially if there was food in the front seat, which there was — we’d stopped for dinner, and I’d carried out a doggie bag of pasta with Italian sausage. I’d given him a little and was leaning forward to get him another nibble when Alan said, “Did you feel that? Feel his chest.” I did; it was noticeably hotter than it had been just a few seconds earlier. “I never knew he could glow red that quickly,” Alan remarked. That rapid infusion of blood to power the muscles to make the leap after the prey — whether a mouse, a rat or a slice of sausage — is something we all do, but not as quickly as terriers.
That’s what interests me about animals, and why I tolerate one like Ruby, who, to be frank, doesn’t begin to fill the dog’s shoes. But I enjoy watching her climb to the top of the sofa and stand on her back feet, sniffing the air. I like to watch her do her binky dance in the morning. I like to take her outside to loaf around in her outdoor pen, where she cocks her head and listens to the squirrels and birds. And then I put her inside, adjust the shade and cover and go back in the house, knowing that when I go back to get her in late afternoon, even though I will put her in a clean cage with fresh food and delicious romaine lettuce, she will run from me, because FEAR RUN PREDATORS. It’s her nature — she really can’t help it.
Tuesday. Another lovely day — summer is leaving on a high note. But work still awaits. So, a little bloggage?
I’m sorry, but who could possibly be this stupid? Ahem:
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is facing a new challenge: He’s having trouble raising money from some Jewish donors who mistakenly believe one of his opponents, Michele Bachmann, is Jewish.
Some Jewish donors are telling fund-raisers for Romney, a Mormon, that while they like him, they’d rather open their wallets for the “Jewish candidate,” who they don’t realize is actually a Lutheran, The Post has learned.
“It’s a real problem,” one Romney fund-raiser said. “We’re working very hard in the Jewish community because of Obama’s Israel problem. This was surprising.”
I’d estimate I save at least 80 percent of my email, maybe more. I’ve never, ever understood the “inbox zero” movement, but maybe one of you can explain it. Evidently my strategy isn’t the one to emulate. But it is mine.
OK, time to prep for various teaching-related duties. Sorry for short shrift, but that’s how I roll.