The amazing rabbit chase

Categories Flora and fauna

It was over in seconds.

We were walking in an area of shrubs, dogs lingering behind. Suddenly a YIP! from Jordie, and I swing around to see him flushing a rabbit to the right across the path behind us. But there’s Kiya, and the rabbit abruptly turns right, on the path, toward us, Kiya barely a length behind. Not good. I instinctively place my feet wide on the path, to force the dog to detour, if only for a split second.

BAM! The rabbit bounces off the inside of my right leg. I spin my head around. Syd has turned halfway around to the right and BAM! it bounces off the outside of his right leg. This carom serves to change its course 90 degrees, and instantly it’s gone into the brush.

And then even more amazing — the five “chaser” dogs completely miss it, and go charging up the path ahead. Only Leah, the princess who prefers watching chases to participating in them, spots the rabbit’s real path, and takes off into the bushes after it. Seconds  later it’s obvious the rabbit has escaped, which comes (happily) as no surprise.

And then the other dogs, who had chased ahead on the path, reappear from behind. Go figure.

 Running Hare Drawing by Malcolm Tait, Saatchi Art
Running Hare Drawing by Malcolm Tait, Saatchi Art (click for source)


Syd has recounted several times the occasion when a flushed rabbit ran out of the bushes and through his legs, but never before contact, much less such a perfectly set up carom that the rabbit-hunting dogs completely missed.

During our time walking dogs together, there have been two kills, bring the total over all the years Syd has walked there to maybe seven. The first occurred at the end of the walk. A young rabbit bolted when five dogs were within a few meters, and didn’t stand a chance. Benji proudly came away with fresh blood on his back, having rolled on it. The second, recently, involved a longer chase, from which all of the dogs returned except Benji. Finally he emerged from the bushes with a dead rabbit in his mouth (no way of knowing who actually caught it). My immediate feeling was that I was looking at a classical painting.

I don’t recall having seen one, so I set out to look, and found this.

Sir Edwin Landseer: The Champion painting
Sir Edwin Landseer — interesting guy: click for story

But that dog, except for its size, looks surprisingly like Leah, the non-rabbit-hunter. Go figure.



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