Something wakens me.
I shift position; or rather, I try to shift position. Gypsy is lying on my feet, her sleeping weight impossible to budge. I settle back to listen. The rain has stopped but wind is rattling the siding. Now I know why Gypsy is here in bed and not on the couch as usual.
I twist toward the nightstand to see the backlit time of my seldom-set-alarm clock. It's not quite 6:00 am. As I re-engage my pillow I hear something else below the din of the wind.
It's FLD Gus, downstairs, thunking a knucklebone Nylabone against the plastic tray in his crate. I sigh. He crapped out pretty early last night after rough housing with cc'd Rosie while I watched the girls; I knew I wouldn't be sleeping in this morning.
I wait. First the toy-thunks, then the whine.
Right on cue, FLD Gus whimpers.
I kick Gypsy off my feet; she merely curls herself against Andy's legs. I slide out of the warm covers, wrestle with my clothes in the dark, and hope I get downstairs before Gus barks. That's the next thing he does to get my attention.
Gus stops whimpering and doesn't bark.
I wonder--did my shifting wake him? Or did his clunking around in his crate wake me? No matter, I'm taking him out to "park."
Once out the front door, Gus wastes no time. He squats in his sprinter's stance before he notices the rabbit just a few paces away. His eyes are fixed; the bunny doesn't budge. It's as if we three are frozen in time as Gus's river flows, a faint rise of steam off the frosted grass.
He's done and turns to get a better view. The rabbit is as large as Gus's body, the biggest one I've seen around here lately. A second, smaller bunny, several feet beyond the first, hops away. I didn't see this one until it jumped. I tighten my hold on Gus's leash, in case he decides to take chase. I'm surprised when he drops into a sit. His movement triggers the big rabbit to spring and the two disappear in the dark.
FLD Gus stays in his sit and watches them go.
Good boy, Gus! I praise. He glances over his shoulder at me, gets up, sniffs around, and finishes his "park."
When we come back inside I unclip the leash and say, Gus, kennel up! He barrels over to his crate, leaps in and whips around, looking for his treat. Good boy! I toss in a few morsels of his food and head back upstairs to bed.
He gives me another hour. Good boy.