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Dog Diaries

Bella's Midnight Run

by Diane Wainwright

About once every month or so, Bella will want out in the middle of the night so she can eat grass for 45 minutes. She will start with a whine that graduates to a woof and it will turn into a full-blown howl if I ignore her too long. If I continue to ignore her, the noise will stop and I will be awoken by the smell of things that will need to be cleaned. Anyway, last night was one of those nights. I woke up when the barks were turning to howls and I looked at my clock... it was 1:50am. Sigh. I resigned myself to the fact that I would be out in the yard until at least 2:30am chasing her, trying to get her to stop eating grass and go to bed.

I got up, put on my bathrobe and went to the kitchen to open the sliding door. She about knocked me flat heading out (no easy feat for a 50lb dog). I busied myself puttering around the kitchen, cleaning up from the teenagers' midnight snacks until about 2:10am. I then snatched up my hand-held gazillion-watt spot light and went out onto the back deck to search the 3/4 acre fenced yard and see what she was doing. I could hear her tags jingling behind the pool so I called her name in a hoarse whisper. She heard me and the next thing I saw was a black-blur with white-highlights at the back of the yard - a Crazy Little Black Dog (CLBD) running full-bore with a RABBIT in her mouth!!! I could see the ears above her head, with legs flapping below and I just wanted to cry. I don't know about you, but the last thing I want to do at 2:10am is try to wrest a rabbit from my CLBD!

I called to her again and she shifted her body to run full-bore towards me. When she got about 15 feet away, she shifted again to do a fly-by and I realized that she was actually carrying her big, fluffy TOY bunny. The one she is not allowed to take outside! I breathed a sigh of relief (and even laughed a little) and watched as she did loops and circles and figure eights around the yard at top speed for a good 5 minutes. She would occasionally lose her bite hold when navigating sharp corners and the rabbit would go flying, causing her to skid to a halt and spin around to pounce on it, her butt up in the air and tail going wild. She would then snatch it up into the air and take off again.

Finally, she ran around the side of the house and everything went silent. I cautiously headed that way, praying against the irrational fear that the gate wasn't closed and I would find the speed display beginning around the entire neighborhood, only to have her plow me down as she flew up onto the deck without the rabbit. She stood at the door, sides heaving, big puppy smile on her face. I asked her where her bunny was, but she just play-bowed at the door. I cursed under my breath and cautiously headed out to see if I could find the toy. After a few minutes of searching I was successful, and as I picked it up Bella came flying back into the yard and tried to snatch it from my hand to take off again. I held my grip and dragged the rabbit, Bella still firmly attached, back into the house. I closed the door and Bella took off back up the stairs, dragging the rabbit.

I followed her back into the bedroom, climbed into bed, and tried to fall back asleep. Just as I felt myself relax, the squeaking began. I thought I was going to cry. I got back up and began to chase Bella (quietly) around the bedroom to get the toy. We stepped on a sleeping Maisy, I accidentally kicked poor Lizzie in the nose when she awoke to Maisy’s cry, Chad scrambled off to hide in the bathroom, and Bella just taunted me with the rabbit. My husband? He snored through the whole adventure.

I finally cornered Bella and took the bunny. I gave her a stern talking to about how this type of play was appropriate at 2pm, not 2am! I hid the toy on top of the tall dresser, gave Lizzie and Maisy kisses and apologies, assured Chad the beds in the bedroom were safe again and then climbed back into my bed. I looked over, and in the time it had taken me to walk across the room, Bella had flopped down on a dog bed and was out cold sleeping! It took me, however, a good hour to wind down and fall asleep.

When I woke up in the morning, Bella and the rabbit were where I had left them - neither had moved. I actually had to wake Bella up to get her outside (an event I found quite pleasurable). And now I sit at my desk at work, my head nodding and my eyelids heavy, knowing that my CLBD is snoozing away dreaming of rabbits and running. Maybe I need to retire, too!

Greyhounds aren't just dogs, they are a way of life!