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Offisa Pupp, On the Beat

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Offisa Pup, in his sleek black and white cruiser, starts a round of bunneh patrol. For those old enough to remember the incomparable comic strip, Krazy Kat, 1913-1944 (and, for the record, although I am as old as dirt, I'm technically NOT old enough to remember it...) Offisa Pupp is always busting Ignatz the mouse, who spurns Krazy Kat's attempts to court him, mostly by hitting her in the head with a brick.Yeah. Let's hear it for the Internet. I LOVE Krazy Kat. You can tell the cartoonist, George Herriman, either played a musical instrument or bothered to study how it was done before doing this deceptively simple drawing. Compare the expression on Offisa Pupp's face here to the last photo in this post. See why we call him Offisa Pupp?

This used to be a flower bed, before the bunny ate all the flowers and dug it into a big old dustbath. I knew it was bunnies that did it, but it took about a week to catch one using it. It rolls around and digs some more and lounges and rubs its sides in the dust. It's probably choking out fleas and ticks in the process. Pretty cute, as long as you forget about the flowers.

Chet Baker likes to chase bunnehs. He makes sure that the bunnehs, which ran riot in my flower beds while we were in North Dakota and Maine, don't chew any more gazanias, portulaca, geraniums or salvia to the ground. Baker takes his job very seriously. He goes out probably ten or more times a day to make the rounds. Bunneh patrol.
Baker's no dummy. He mixes up the route, and he knows where the bunnehs hang out. Sometimes he approaches from the west, sometimes from the east. When he sees a bunneh out in the yard from one of his observation stations, he knows that the best way to chase it is to go out a door on the opposite side of the house. He leaves his jangles (our term for his collar and tags) behind and goes naked. At first he really wanted us to let him out the door closest to the bunneh, but he quickly learned that the bunneh could hear him when he did that. A sneak attack was the best.
It's all we can do, once we let him out the back deck door, to make it to the window in time to see the black and white streak that is Baker come rocketing around the corner. He almost always compltely overshoots the bunneh, which just honkers down and then makes a dash for the tall grass after Baker corrects his charge. I don't think it's my imagination that has the bunneh waiting until Baker gets really close before it runs. They like to cut it close, and they count on their split-second maneuverability and burst of speed to avoid capture. I know of only one rabbit that he's actually caught. The rest he just makes nervous.

Around dusk, Chet does near-constant loops around the yard, patrolling the edge of the tall grass. He has this businesslike, head-down lope, silent and deadly, wolflike. He can't be bothered to sit on laps or play. He's all business. That's when we call him Offisa Pupp.Note the dirty nose. He had just finished burying an ear of corn we gave him to chew and play with. I love this picture, Baker in the forget-me-nots, eyeing the camera. He walks the terraced bed walls like a little cat, hoping to catch a chipmunk by surprise. Offisa Pupp busts bunnehs, chipmunks, deer, squirrels, and raccoons (the hardened criminals in our yard). He is fearless, and more than once has come back from a nighttime tussle with a 'coon with a bloody lip. I cannot imagine putting my face next to an angry raccoon, but then I am not a Boston terrier. I shudder, clean him up, and put my faith in his yearly inoculations.
I will say that, now that we have Chet Baker, raccoons no longer take impertinent dumps on the front porch, nor do they molest the hummingbird and peanut feeders hanging from the awning. Chipmunk damage is minimal, and I can grow way more than I should be able to, given the rabbit population. Thanks, Offisa Pupp!
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