I've been putting off my nightly driveway walks later and later, because of the heat and the sun. I can take one or the other, but not both. The Mansion sits high upon a hill, and sunset does not come early like it does in the valleys. Not until after 8:00 does the sun dip behind the tree-limb horizon.
The dogs work themselves into a frenzy when I come out, even if it's NOT the night to take up the dumpster. That's supersized frenzy night. They romp and growl and bark and take off. Jack and Copper run along the fence line, or duck under it to scare up a rabbit in Copper's grown-over field. They often follow it across the gravel road onto neighbor Tommy's property, where he's been clearing paths through the brush. Sometimes they end up in the horse field of the Killer Poodle's house. And usually, they double back to our yard, and run down the fence line into our woods, or across the front yard/field towards the BARn field.
Sometimes I see a big fat rabbit making a dash down the fence line into the woods. Sometimes I just see dogs with noses near the ground. My Sweet, Sweet Juno is a fair-weather rabbit-chaser. She starts out like she's going to help. Follows the other two hunters, then stands her ground. Poor dumb Ann (the shepherd/lab) used to use this technique while Grizzly (the beagle/lab) and Tank (the papers-to-be-registered beagle) scared the bunny out of the cover and into the open field. Ann was a good team player. Juno is not. Juno would be the last substitute into the game, playing only on Parent's Night, with a 50-point lead, and better off donating her time as manager.
Last night I was at the far end of the driveway, making my turnaround on the third lap. I know where to turn around, because there's a week-old pile of poop there. I don't think it's dog poop. It's like a small pile of logs, the shape which could be dog poop, but it has weeds or hair or feathers mixed in. Farmer H thinks it might be from a fox or coyote or raccoon that might have been what's getting our chickens.
Anyhoo...there I was, dusk setting in, turning around by the pile of poop, when I almost tripped. You know how you sense something at your feet. It wasn't touching me, but it could have. I looked down to see a mid-sized rabbit sitting between my feet. I stopped. It hopped over my right foot and headed for the main sinkhole in the stand of trees that divides the front yard/field from the BARn field.
And here came the hounds! Silent, though. Jack first. Slicing across that gravel road and into our field toward the driveway like a small dirty-white furry torpedo. Then came Copper. They were right on that trail, but then lost the bunny. I saw them double back, still sniffing the ground. I guess that little guy got away.
Juno ambled back through the yard and laid down, smiling at me. I don't think she earned her snack last night. She needs to watch her girlish figure.