‘Think, what you are praying for, you may get it,” goes the saying. It seems to me that I may have come face to face with such a reality.
For the past several years, the rabbits continued to give me a hard time in growing vegetable plants. Tender leaves of the sunflower were their special delicacy. Every time I came out to see my plants destroyed, I wanted the destruction of all the rabbits, forever. But that never happened. Their white tails and innocent looks soothed my feeling. I just tried to plant another batch later, with mature leaves. Then I made some wire tubes, and that saved my day. However, I could not stop them from playing in the garden. There are plenty of trees and shrubs in the neighborhood. The rabbits have a right to play and live as they please. I did not complain but wished them to go away.
The chicken wire tubes that I made protected the plants. I was proud of myself by outwitting the rabbits. Then a neighbor sold his home. Since the market was hot, another neighbor got an inspiration to do so. Now, the homes are occupied by another set of wonderful neighbors, who love dogs. Psychologists say that in a stressful time like this, a pet is very useful. In that sense, a dog becomes a part of one’s daily life — a source of strength like a security blanket. It gives emotional warmth and protects from intruders. “Dog is the man’s best friend” — goes the saying. President Harry Truman even advised his fellow politicians, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”
One of my neighbors has two beautiful dogs. They are big and extremely alert. For awhile, every time they saw me outside, they started barking in unison to the annoyance of me and of their owners. After some time, the dogs probably understood that I was not going anywhere from the place where they usually saw me every day.
Now we have adjusted to each other. They do not bark when they see me. It is a joy to see them romp around inside their fenced yard. They expect me to pet them when we meet. The other neighbor’s dog is a very small one whose barking is sharper than its bite. The dog is so small that it would not be a mistake if one takes it as a groundhog. But it is not. The dog jumps and yelps. However, its friendliness is precious. In the manual of falling in love, somewhere it says that if you want to love with someone, then you have to fall in love with his/her dog. So, if I had to love my neighbors, as the good book says, then I had to love their dogs as well. I did, and it was mutually beneficial. Then I found that there is a hidden cost involved. I was not quite ready for that.
The dogs, by nature, are carnivorous, and they go after lesser animals. So, perhaps they did what they are supposed to do. They went after the rabbits. One by one, they may have eliminated all the rabbits that visited my garden. This spring, I was confident that I outwitted the rabbits as there is no way they can get to my plants through the wire mesh. But the rabbits were nowhere to be found.
So far, I have not seen a single one in my back yard or in my neighborhood. Yes, rabbits do not belong to the endangered species. There are millions of them roving in the woods around the world. Yet, I was not expecting to never see them in the backyard. At one time, I really wanted to kill them and wanted their demise. But it was then, and I was angry. I really did not mean it when I said it. But unknown to me, my wish may have been working through my neighbors’ dogs. Now that the rabbits are all gone, I wish I had wished something different.
Anadi Naik writes from Frederick. His books are: Song of Satan, Nineteenth of November, Blown Away and A man of Humility, available from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble book stores,