To understand this story, you must understand a little about our backyard: It consists of two levels, the lower of  which includes a modest swimming pool. The lower level is mostly paved,  and is surrounded by a brick wall. The rear brick wall is interrupted by  steps leading to the upper part of the yard, which is mostly “wild,” covered in ivy and plant debris. There is a short wooden gate at the bottom of the steps.

This morning, as usual, I was taking Waldo to the upper portion of our backyard to conduct his personal business. Because he is a relentless digger, we keep him on a leash for these excursions. As we stepped outside, we both noticed our neighbors’ orange cat perched on the brick wall. I said hello, Waldo began to bark. I crouched to calm him down, and to remind him that We Like This Kitty. Before I could accomplish that, I caught something in my peripheral vision, headed our way. A squirrel? Vole? Mouse? Please, not a rat! A BABY BUNNY! How cute!  As I was attempting to register this surprising episode of adorableness, the bunny leapt into the pool.

I entreated Waldo to stay still and be calm, realizing as I did  that there was no chance of that happening. I kept one  eye on him and the other on the cat as I sat at the pool’s edge, attempting to grab the rabbit with my free hand.  As my feet hit the water I recognized the complete awkwardness of what I was doing. I was now close enough to see that the rabbit was injured, and finally made the connection between kitty and bunny. I also remembered the pool net.

Back on my feet, I reached for the net. With Waldo’s leash planted under one foot, I was able to scoop out the rabbit. I left him on the ground, wrapped in the net, while I made my way up the stairs with Waldo, who was deeply interested in all of this, but remarkably manageable.

I spoke firmly to the cat, took Waldo inside, and called for backup from TMIM.

Making plans to search for a  local wildlife rescue, I poured my first coffee of the morning and headed back outside. “He’s in the bushes,” said Dr. T, “he’s pretty chewed up.”

So much for the rescue plan: I was not about to crawl through the Nandina searching for this poor scared creature, but I could do one thing. Coffee in hand, I called to the cat. We are old friends, and he immediately followed me to the side yard.  I sat on the step; he hopped onto my lap. We chatted. I reminded him of my previous admonitions against killing and maiming the birds and critters in my yard. He might have pretended to agree with me, but I know he is still a stone cold killer. I just hoped to distract him long enough to allow the  bunny  to escape or die in peace.

I know nature is harsh. Rabbits are prey animals, and cats will kill. I know that dozens, if not hundreds, of life or death dramas play out in and around my yard. I’d just rather not participate.