I had my heart set on getting a dog. This one, in particular. Einstein, a beagle, was being put up for adoption with his partner-in-crime, Jessie, and I’d pretty much fallen for the mite.
But alas, it was not to be. My housemate, L, confessed she has a dog phobia. Good housemates are hard to find, so I said goodbye to my dog ownership dreams and put them aside for a day when, perhaps, I had a place of my own.
Then the very next day, I get an SMS from Reta. Her boyfriend’s neighbours had callously abandoned their two rabbits in the yard and did I know anyone who would take them? I’d had a rabbit turn up on my lawn before but that’s another long and rather funny story.. So bunny ownership was something I was very familiar with and well, it seemed like providence. Einstein and Jessie were well-loved where they are, but these bunnies needed a caretaker.
When I got her SMS, I happened to be having lunch right across from a pet shop. I’d just visited said pet shop, walking over because my ginger tom, Wally, had lost his flea collar. Again. Something told me to take a rest before I went back, sup a little, despite my stomach being rather delicate. And then I got the SMS. So Reta came over, we bought a cage and supplies for my two new wards and then drove off to rescue the rabbits.
Well, who knew my stomach would be hurting for a different reason? I spent an entertaining 10 minutes or so laughing (I know, I’m so bad) as Reta and Eric ran around the yard after the rabbits who were quite determined not to be caught. But finally both were bundled into a cage and off Reta and I went to send the bunnies to my place.
The rabbits were rather nervous around me, huddling in a corner of a cage. I did pick them up and handle them, just so they’d get used to me. To their credit, they didn’t try and hop off my lap. Instead, they trembled piteously to the point I decided that maybe they’d be better off with more space to run around in. So now they’re upstairs in my spare room, uncaged until they get used to me and realise that no, rabbit isn’t on the menu.
They’re both either female or male – am positive they’re of the same sex, otherwise there’d be a rabbit ranch on the premises instead of just the two of them. The smaller rabbit, who I call Bun-Bun (short for Moribund von Bunt. Private joke) is sweet but handy with her claws. She’s more fearful and acts like she’ll collapse in fright if I just blow on her.
Her buddy, Pie (short for Pythagoras) is more rambunctious, very curious and yet, despite being bigger, will attempt to hide behind Bun when she’s scared. I think both are female, if I’m not mistaken.
This morning, when I came in to check on them, they were still scared but obviously hungry. Hesitantly, they came up to me, sniffing to see if I’d bought food. And I had. The little bunnies happily munched the timothy hay I bought for them to munch on or use as bedding, whatever they preferred. My last rabbit hated the stuff and much preferred greens or the odd plum.
When I checked in on them a second time, they were brave enough to just walk up to me, their eyes asking the question: “Food?” They’d finished their hay and wanted more. So I fed them…after cleaning up the poop they’d generously decorated the room with. Yes, I’ve got myself two fluffy poop machines. Poop machines or not, they need taking care of. Domestic bunnies aren’t like wild rabbits – they’ve no clue how to look after themselves. Pie has an eye infection and Bun has a notched ear; both have horribly dirty, matted fur. They hide in a corner everytime Wally comes around; probably they’ve had a run-in with feral cats who would see them as prey.
I’m not one of those rabid animal-lovers and I think people who leave entire fortunes to their pets are plainly barmy. But I believe in compassion and that it’s just too bad to be cruel to animals just because we can. We bred domestic rabbits to be totally dependent on us so to callously abandon them is no different than leaving a three year old on a sidewalk. I can afford to love them – because love is free and I’ll always have some to spare.
Now, all I have to do is explain to my brother why his room smells like rabbit when he moves in come March…