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Outdoor Life: Jack the old rabbit dog 'crosses over' in the end

In the terminology of loyal sportsman everywhere to “cross over” is to switch sides in the middle of a battle without reasonable grounds. 
    It is not an endearing trait and can be hazardous to ones reputation depending on the nature and severity of the “crossing.” 
    Example: My wife “crossed over” from being a UGA fan to being a Georgia Tech backer simply because our daughter went to Tech. This does not qualify as a good rationale under the standards of my personal code. 
    Another illustration: I know of at least a dozen people who “crossed over” to the Alabama bandwagon because the Tide finally had a couple of good seasons in football. This too falls far short of reasonable thinking and borders on high treason.  Anyway, you get the idea.
    Sadly I must report on another “crossing”. Jack our beloved rabbit dog has switched sides. The little hound who for many years was an avid chaser of Mr. Big Ears has renounced his heritage and moved into a realm that I never thought possible. 
    Jack’s pedigree could not have foretold these events. He came from a renowned bloodline of short-legged, loud-yapping, rabbit sniffers.  His parents (Kojak and Jackie) were, I’m sure proud parents when little Jack came along. The promise of his DNA was unassailable and great things were predicted for his future.
    For many years he fulfilled that potential as happily and resolutely as anyone could have expected.  He could track a rabbit through rain or snow, through swamps or forests, and in the end always got the job done. He never gave up. He was undefeated.
    Jack even got in a few bonus rounds when rabbit season wasn’t in. There was an instance when one of our rabbit boxes was unintentionally left out after the season was over and we discovered that a rabbit was inside. We unanimously decided that this would be a good opportunity for Jack to stretch his legs. It wouldn’t do to let him get stale in the offseason.
    The rabbit box was taken into an open field and Jack was summoned. He immediately sensed that a new game was afoot when he caught wind of the box. His excitement was a joy to see as he eagerly waited to find out what this new sport might be. When we lifted the lid, the rabbit bolted like Secretariat out of a starting gate. Jack’s four inch legs immediately went into action as did his beautiful high pitched baying.
    The rabbit was never in danger of being caught, but in his panic the creature actually jumped into the pond and began swimming toward the other side. When Jack saw that he immediately headed around the pond to cut him off at the pass.
    What a dog.
    I’d never seen a rabbit hit the water like that and it just proved that Jack’s reputation preceded him. At that point, Jack was in his prime.
    Alas, old age has mellowed our valiant little warrior. I take some of the blame.
    I haven’t taken him hunting enough and his thrill of the chase has dulled. I also assign part of the blame to our next door neighbor. Kiki feeds him all kinds of scrumptious dog treats and so he stays around her house waiting on the next feast.
    Unfortunately Kiki also has pet rabbits and his desire to hang out there forced him into what was at first an uneasy truce with them. That truce has gravitated into a full-blown love affair and now the vaunted hound makes his bed inside the garage right beside the very creatures he was sworn to pursue. It is a heartbreaking thing to witness.
    I certainly hope poor Kojak and Jackie never hear that Jack has “crossed over” and is now sleeping with the enemy. 

    Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at dar8589@bellsouth.net.

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