Tucker Taught Me… Let’s Chase Rabbits!

Brain Injury Blog by Marie G. Cooney

May 3, 2011

Tucker Taught Me… Let’s Chase Rabbits!

Sometimes, I get sad during spring. Winter has been too long and too cold. Everything is a muddy mess. And that’s when my father died. One day, it’s bright and cheering. Then it’s dark and gloomy. The birds magically reappear. Then they mysteriously disappear.  Sometimes, I don’t exactly know why I am so sad or why the tears come so quickly. I’ve always been a person with a wide range of emotions. But ever since my traumatic brain injuries, I’ve had what is referred to as heightened emotions, while others might have dampened emotions. Almost everyone with a brain injury will struggle with anxiety, depression and other emotional changes.

Tucker, however, loves spring. He runs here and there sniffing out all the terrific smells, and even some icky ones. Like a private detective, he snoops out the trail of scents that others have left behind, and then follows a path of clues that only he recognizes. Like an Olympic runner, Tucker likes to sprint as fast as he can on four paws after squirrels. He doesn’t even care that they always make it up a tree and seem to chitter chatter down to him, “Ha! Ha! You can’t catch me!” Tucker never listens to me, when I try to explain, “No matter how much you bark at them, the squirrels are never going to come down!”

That’s why Tucker loves the “Let’s Chase Rabbits” game most of all during early spring. Tucker and I get more exercise, which is good for both of us. Rabbits, being great magicians, run here, there, and everywhere. They disappear down one hole or another, only to reappear again and again and again, quite miraculously here and there and everywhere! No matter how awful I might have felt before, I always feel better after playing hide and seek with Tucker and his rabbit friends, who love lots of exercise. Exercise is good for everyone, especially if suffering from depression, anxiety and other symptoms of TBI.

One day, rabbits keep popping up here and there and disappearing once again. Each time, Tucker was a sprinter right out of the starting blocks. Each time the magicians disappeared. And then suddenly I saw the most unbelievable sight I’ve ever seen! “NO, Tucker, no!” I yelled. But like the strongest stallion, he was after the rabbit with the carrot. “Tucker, COME!” I screamed. And yet he didn’t. He kept on running and running. “NO, TUCKER NO!” I yelled, “That’s the Easter Bunny!”

Tucker never heard me, but eventually he came back as happy as ever to have had the best chase! I really couldn’t reprimand Tucker, because he did eventually come back. Besides, Tucker did help me find the little child, who was supposed to get the dropped basket. So that made everything all better and him a very good dog!

Ever since I sustained two TBIs, I have had difficulty with memory, some higher executive functioning, and planning skills. So, I really hadn’t planned on what happened, nor had Tucker. 

I don’t think I’ll ever forget to keep him on leash again, when it is most important. But if on some spring day, you find yourself sad, disappointed, hurt or any other troubling and escalating emotions, try to remember what Tucker taught me: “Let’s Chase Rabbits!”…. just not the Easter Bunny, please!

Marie G. Cooney is a playwright, writer, story teller and public speaker.

4 responses to “Tucker Taught Me… Let’s Chase Rabbits!”

  1. Marie G. Cooney says:

    I love it, Janet! So much of their play could be our outdoors therapy! All the benifits without the expense. Yes, our pets teach us so much. “Woof, Woof!” to Nicky.

  2. Janet Cromer says:

    Hi Marie,
    My dog Nicky is teaching me (again) to wade in the spring rain puddles, or even lie down for a cooling mud path. That should be followed by a roll in freshly mowed grass or clover. Our pets get it right- get outside my head and laugh with nature.

  3. Marie G. Cooney says:

    Thanks Roxanne,

    I appreciate your comments about spring, animals, healing and gardening. Hope you enjoy the increasing population of little bunnies in your garden, since Tucker enjoys the chasing game, not the chasing away!

    I also read “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aron. She writes about both hightened physical and emotional sensitiviy, which in some cultures is perceived as a gift. I actually read her book prior to my injuries!


  4. Roxanne says:

    I come back alive in spring…even as slow as it has been. Animals bring such joy to all of us, especially when we are healing. I enjoy seeing the rabbits lounge in my garden despite all the winter damage they caused. Or perhaps Tucker should come visit and chase them away?

    I remember reading several books called the “highly sensitive” person to learn how to learn and deal with my heightened emotions.

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