Poppy and Pinky: The Tale of a Dachshund and a Rabbit

Lessons in not Judging a Critter By Its Cover

Many years ago, in a land remembered only by old people, there was a ten-year-old girl who was a pretty good speller. Okay, here it is unembellished: When I was ten, which actually was beyond many years ago, my fifth grade class had a spelling bee right before the Easter holiday. The father of one of my class mates owned a women's clothing store and as a Holiday promotion had placed an assortment of bunnies and colored chicks in the store window. (If I recall correctly, customers could, with a specified purchase, choose one of the critters to take home.) As Easter drew closer, there must have been an abundance of bunnies remaining at the store; the owner decided to donate one as a prize for our class spelling bee.

The day of the spelling be arrived, and I was excited. I loved the challenge of a contest of any kind, but a spelling contest was particularly challenging. I realized, however, that my chances of winning the competition were not great, since my fifth grade class numbered more than thirty students. That was ok, though. Just playing anything that resembled a game back in those rigorous days of concentrating on "the basics" (which doesn't seem like a totally bad idea) was enough to set the stage for adventure.

The spelling bee started. You might remember the drill: at the beginning, all the students would stand, and as soon as someone spelled a word incorrectly he or she would sit. This continued until all but two students were sitting. In fact. I was nervous and amazed to discover that the only kids standing were a boy named Vincent.... and me! A word was given (I forget the word), Vincent spelled it incorrectly, I spelled it correctly, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I had won the spelling bee and the grand prize, a rabbit. A rabbit. What would my parents say? I knew they'd be thrilled with my spelling prowess, but I wasn't too sure how they'd react to the rabbit part. After all, we had just recently acquired our very first family pet, an adorable dachshund puppy named Poppy. The "adorable" aspect, however, had been in direct conflict with the "puppy" aspect, particularly when Poppy decided to consume chunks of my sister's spelling notebook as an afternoon snack. My parents came through, though, and purchased a cage for the new family member, whom I had decided to name "Pinky" in reference to her pink nose.

The next obstacle, of course, was introducing Poppy to what she probably would view as a rival. As I recall (which is not too clear from this distance), we placed Pinky in her (locked) cage on top of the washing machine, near where Poppy liked to hang out. Poppy walked over and did some serious sniffing. Evidently, she concluded that what she'd sniffed was a puppy, for she proceeded to stretch herself out on the floor. Her posture indicated that she was "guarding" the critter inside the cage from anyone or anything that might do it harm.

From that point on, Poppy the Puppy took her self-appointed job as bunnyguard quite seriously. In fact, it was difficult to pry her away from her position on the floor (except, of course, for dinner, since she was a dachshund). Occasionally, we would let Pinky out of her cage for a bit of hopping practice, but this didn't happen all that often. We actually were afraid that, unlike Poppy, Pinky might be aware of the difference between the two of them and have a heart attack or something equally as horrific.

Finally, after a month or so of watching poor Poppy concentrate all her energy on bunnysitting, my parents decided that it was time to rescue Pinky from her protector. So, much to my dismay, they found a nice farm where Pinky could take up residence and have far more freedom to hop around to her heart's delight. Poppy quickly recovered from having her funny-looking puppy taken from her, and that marked the end of the Tale (tail) of The Easter Bunny and the Dachshund.

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