Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bunny come, bunny go

Our first bunny was a beautiful white angora rabbit which was immediately christened Fluffy.  He was sweet as long as we kept him in the outside hutch but he defied all the evidence from the House Rabbit groups by becoming a mean, territorial, growling, charging, biting bunny, when kept in the house.  When he started shedding, I learned how to spin his fur, ultimately making a few tiny knit angora bunnies.

Then a neighbor's bunny hopped over and decided to stay.  I tried returning him to his family several times, luring him with bananas, but he always came back.  After the fifth time, the family suggested that we keep him.  

Then came the giant lop eared rabbit, another angora, and a little lop eared bunny that was labeled as a female at the fair where we bought him. I was pleased to have another female because I had a female already.  They could keep each other company.  The little lop agreed with this plan wholeheartedly.  Fortunately, he was so overeager that we knew, even before we set him down, that he was, absolutely, undoubtedly male.  Time for plan B, I had to find a second cage.

The little lop was named Snickers, because his coloring matched the candy bar.  Snickers soon decided he was not a bunny after all; he was a dog.  Our old Lab/Rottweiler mix, Montana, would suddenly come to life as soon as we walked out the door.  He would grab hold of a stick and run around in circles.  Looking over to the rabbit pen, we would see Snickers running around in circles with a stick in his mouth.  If that's what dog's do, he was going to do it, too.

For a long time, we had three rabbits.  When I say a long time, I mean a l-o-o-o-n-g time.  Velvet was the first.  He was a sweet, sweet bunny who was found crossing a major street in town.  The family had other rabbits and needed to find a home for this one.  Then came Bunnicula and Killer, dwarf rabbits.  Brothers from the same litter, they were the nastiest rabbits I've ever known, completely destroying any stereotypes of the "cute little bunny".  Killer proved to be an escape artist, too, and within a week or so, decided to make his way in the world.  Bunnicula stayed on to growl, charge, and bite us whenever we tried to feed him.  I started wearing leather gloves.  The last of the three (not counting Killer) was Carrot, a used classroom pet that came to us after spending 1 1/2 years in the 2nd grade classroom.  Carrot was another lovely, friendly variety and he was always waiting for someone to pet him.  

We lost Velvet last year at age ten.  Yesterday, we lost Carrot, also at age ten.  A week ago, I found that his hind legs were paralyzed and he wasn't able to get to his food and water.  I knew he wasn't going to recover, not at his age, for sure.  I called the vet's office only to find that they were closed for the holiday weekend.  We brought him inside and hand fed him twice a day. Then I would clean him up and change his bedding.  I was glad when he decided to depart even before the vet's office opened up again.  
Bunnicula is still with us.  At age 9, he is still just as feisty as ever.

We have our new rabbit now, too.  The rescue organization named him "Inky", which wouldn't work for us.  We have a niece by that name.  I thought we'd call her Binky, but my kids disagreed.  After trying out numerous possibilities, she was finally christened, "MJ", because she is black with one pure white paw.  Our daughter was adamant that MJ be a house bunny and it's working out well!  MJ is a friendly and social little critter who runs up to us whenever we enter the room, hopping in circles around our legs.  If we sit down on the floor, she will run around the room, checking in with us after every few laps.  She's not a sit-in-your-lap type of bunny but the way she stands and looks at us when she checks in, has me charmed. She's even housebroken!

We've had many animals come and go in our family.  It's always hard to lose a pet, but when we are lucky enough to have a sweet, friendly rabbit live a full, long life, it's not as hard to say goodbye.  Ten years is a long time for a rabbit to live.  Old Velvet even had wrinkles on his face!  I suspect there will always be one more bunny to rescue.