I pick my niece, Rylee, up from school on Wednesday afternoons. Last week she excitedly told me about her upcoming Easter party and egg hunt. I can remember those days with my own children. It was always "Holidays Times Four" at our house. Four times the Easter outfits...four times the eggs to dye...four times the school parties to prepare for...and four times the FUN and EXCITEMENT!
As Easter nears, I STILL find myself preparing little buckets with treats for my grown kids...their spouses...and a grandchild this year. I began to reminisce on Easters from years ago while doing so and one in particular will always stand out in my mind. As usual, there were parties being planned and Ryan's teacher asked if I would mind hosting his class' at our house. We lived way out in the country and had all sorts of animals and play equipment in the yard, so having the Easter egg hunt and party at our house would actually be a field trip of sorts. So, naturally, I agreed and began to prepare for the the big day. When party day arrived, the teacher, students and parents were not the only ones to arrive...one dad popped out of his car carrying a cage and within it I could see a cute little fluffy bunny rabbit. PERFECT!
The kids jumped from their cars and ran around to the back yard and began climbing on the free standing tree house and some also ran out a little further to see the chickens. I greeted the dad with the bunny and commented on what a wonderful idea it was to bring a "real" rabbit to the party. He asked if it would be OK if he let it out of its cage a little later for the kids to play with. Of course, I said. That's when Muffin lazily sauntered around the corner of the house. Ryan had received Muffin for Christmas one year with a big red bow tied around her neck. She followed him everywhere he went; the perfect companion who had actually adopted Ryan's "Type B, laid back" personality. "Bunny Dad" asked if I thought the dog would bother the rabbit and I assured him that Muffin was the most gentle dog I had ever seen...she wouldn't hurt a fly. As a matter of fact, I told him about the one time Robby had attempted to take her squirrel hunting with him. They walked down to the woods and the first time Robby shot the gun, she ran all the way back home and was waiting for him on the front porch. Muffin would NEVER bother that sweet little rabbit; why, she most likely wouldn't even notice it.
So, after snacks had been eaten, the kids excitedly surrounded the rabbit cage as "Bunny Dad" gave instructions about how to pet and hold the rabbit. As the cage was opened, the bunny cautiously stepped out on the grass. The kids were right upon his fluffy little body; surrounding him, laughing and hopping around themselves. Then suddenly EVERYTHING went haywire! The kids were not the only ones who had noticed the cute little bunny...Muffin had as well. And that sweet, gentle, "wouldn't hurt a fly" pup had moved over to inspect things, herself. And as she came closer, she lowered her nose to sniff the bunny and apparently the bunny thought, "Danger! Danger!" It all happened so fast that I didn't know what to do. Muffin sniffed, the bunny jumped...and the chase was on! A mad chase ensued around the back yard with Muffin right on the heels of the bunny and all of the children standing around, flailing their arms wildly screaming, "Run, Bunny, Run...Run, Bunny, Run!" And RUN that bunny did...for his life. I ran after Muffin, while "Bunny Dad" finally got close enough to scoop his little bunny back up to safety...WHEW! Who Knew THAT would happen?!
Well, apparently, Robby knew "THAT" would happen. When he came home from work that afternoon, I told him how "shocked" I was that Muffin had gone after the bunny that way. He simply stared at me for a minute, rolled his eyes and then slowly shook his head. "WHAT??". I inquired. "Barbara, Muffin is a hunting dog", he explained. "Well, I KNOW that. But she has never really been 'interested' in hunting." That's when he said, "Those dogs are hunters and it is instinctive for them to hunt. You are just lucky that Muffin didn't CATCH the bunny or that Easter party would have ended VERY differently for you!"
So, in preparing for Easter this year, Sarah told me that she had a picture of Parker with the Easter Bunny in her new little dress. As she handed it to me, there was no big "person sized" bunny with floppy ears; instead there on her blanket sat two little cotton tailed, white bunny rabbits. And I thought, "I sure hope there isn't another Muffin lurking around the corner"!