Hoppin' Down the Bunny Trail
We weren't Catholic. I rarely wore brown robes. I earned this nickname because all animals flocked to me, especially the ones who weren't entirely certain whom to call "Mom" or "Can opener." It's still true.
In my world, stray puppies inch under my table and only my table at outdoor restaurants. Cats jump into my car when I'm washing it in the driveway. Strangers walk up to me in the street holding out a paper bag and say, "I'm moving to Guam, do you want this hamster?" Think I'm exaggerating? At one of my readings for "Notes From The Underwire", I was sitting at a fold-up table, happily signing books when I felt a "Whoosh" past my face and then a small "Thump" in my lap. I looked down to see a baby bird, taking his first flight out of the nest, detoured to the O'Hare of all feral flight-plans: me. The bird was startled. I wasn't.
Last Sunday, I was taking a walk around the nabe when I saw a couple and their small daughter. The parents were chasing after their toddler who was in hot pursuit of a stone on someone's yard. Upon closer inspection, I saw the stone was, in fact, a domesticated rabbit. The baby got close and shrieked in delight. The rabbit continued eating clover in a rabbit sort of way. Eventually, the family went on its way but I inched closer to examine the bunny. This was definitely a bunny, as opposed to a wild rabbit. It allowed me to get within a foot or so of it before caroming off towards more clover. It eyed me neutrally. I said aloud, "You take care of yourself, little rabbit." This was, of course, not possible; domesticated rabbits on the streets last until they don't. Something eats them, or something hits them. I'm not happy about this, but it wasn't in my yard and it wasn't my responsibility. Honesty demands I admit to feeling nothing but relief over that. I went on my merry way.
Yesterday morning, I had to do a favor for someone. I start with this not because I need the approval, but it was a boring and onerous favor and I got back to my house in a "Well, I'm certainly eating carbs and putting Quinn first for the next hour" sort of mood. So you'll imagine my emotional state when I saw the rabbit on my front steps. And you'll certainly understand my horror when the rabbit, upon seeing me, hopped towards me purposefully.
Rabbits can't convey much by way of the more subtle emotional states but this encounter did have the feeling of a reunion of family members separated by war. He sat on my foot in what appeared to be delight. I tentatively touched his ear. He fell over on to my ankle and nuzzled my instep. He had walked two blocks and crossed a street to sit in my yard and make me swear.
Let me sum up the next hour: Get cat carrier, fill cat carrier. Go to rescue group. It's a boy! My, it certainly is a boy, isn't it? Get greens from rescue group. Get hay from rescue group. Get in car. Take first Benadryl. Go home. Set up temporary cage. Take first picture for pleading email. Send pleading email. Take second Benadryl. You've noted the Benadryl. I'm allergic to rabbits. I've been told I'm not allergic to rabbits but to the hay. But since it's not a rabbit without hay, and since even touching the rabbit and then unconsciously flicking my bangs back caused a red itchy welt on my forehead, it's safe to say this story isn't going to end with "Oh, what the hell. Let's keep him." So he can't stay. But neither can he go.
The rescue group I work with is licenced to have no more than six rabbits; we have six rabbits. All rabbit-rescue groups are full. If I put him in the city shelter he'll be dead in a week. I have no room for this. I'm writing a book. I'm home-schooling my daughter. I'm toying with buying nicer towels. And now, it would appear, I'm keeping a rabbit for a week to see if someone puts up a "Lost Rabbit" sign, and then I'm in the rabbit-placing business.
Someone get me a Bendadryl.