Friday, February 02, 2007

Rabbit Tails

The rabbit was snuck into the house. Sort of. Furtive glances while sidling into their room together gave me the clue the kids were up to something. They were rabbit smuggling.

An internet search revealed that rabbits were litter box trainable! They were affectionate! They were great house pets!

Beyond the point of getting the rabbit into the house, they had not thought out how the rabbit would live. While other rabbits pooped in litter boxes, this one pooped everywhere. If your idea of a great house pet is one that chews everything in sight (every electric cord and anything made of wood) and poops constantly, then this was a super-duper great pet.

It ended up in a wire dog kennel with cardboard on the floor to keep it from falling through the grate. Sometimes they remembered to feed it. The occasions when they took it out of the cage to treat it like a pet became fewer and farther between. It was a pooping and chewing machine and no longer the adorable ball of fluff they fell in love with.

After several months the kids moved out and took the rabbit with them. The rabbit lived a neglected life in the wire kennel with a soggy, poop covered cardboard floor in an apartment filled with gnats. And then the kids moved far away and the rabbit (not my rabbit) came back home.


But it lived in a rabbit cage with a wire floor more suited for little rabbit feet. The poop fell through to a removable tray -- a great improvement. And the fact that the caged rabbit was now on the porch (and not in the living quarters) was another great improvement. But still the poor thing had no life.

It was not the sweet creature depicted by the pet rabbit websites. I felt sorry for it and tried to acclimate it to life of being an adorable pet. It never adapted.

Spring came and I hauled the cage outside so the rabbit could enjoy the great outdoors. He loved it. Once in a while I would turn him loose to romp. And romp he did. He kicked up his heels and hopped and bopped. When the weather was bad, I'd load the cage on my garden cart and wheel him into the shed, safe from the elements. When the weather cleared, I'd haul him out again and set the cage in the grass.

This became very tiring. And this was, afterall, NOT MY RABBIT.

Then came the great experiment. I opened one of the cage doors that made a little rabbit ramp for him to go in and out as he pleased. I observed him from the kitchen window. When he felt it was time to go home, he went home. When he wanted to play, he played.

I thought we'd found the perfect balance and that is how the rabbit lived out his days until the day the rabbit was no where to be found. I repeat - NOT MY RABBIT.

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