So, yeah, the rabbit. He's been here a week now. Until two days ago, I began all conversations with "You want a rabbit?" To absolutely no one's surprise, not one single person has responded with "DO
I!" During the day, he runs around our yard; at night, I put him in the dog-crate and place him in the garage so he won't be eaten or even bothered by nighttime yard visitors. He has hay, fresh water, various vegetables. It's not been the ideal, but were I a rabbit, I think I'd call it a reasonable Plan B. The dog barked at him and chased him exactly once, after which I spoke to him sharply, he wilted and let the rabbit alone after that. When looking for your next dog, make sure to ask if the dog shames easily; I tell you, it's a Godsend. The cats aren't allowed outside, but have taken to sitting in the kitchen window, watching him hop around. The windows are their television and it would seem I just got them premium cable.
What's he like? Depends. If he's in the back yard, he's fairly indifferent to us, periodically opting to sit next to whoever is on the chaise, making a big show of eating clover and looking in the opposite direction, being a jaded little lagomorph who only would appear to be wanting to be petted. And then he gets petted for a few minutes and the lunges off. If the petter happens to be me, I then go in and scrub to the armpits.
But if he's gone to the dog run, he's a very, very, VERY different little man. The dog run BELONGS TO THE RABBIT. All who enter MUST ANSWER FOR THEIR BEHAVIOR. The dog run attaches to the yard by way of a path and a surveyor would tell you it's all of a single piece. THE SURVEYOR WOULD BE WRONG FOR THE BACK YARD BELONGS TO THE RABBIT AND OTHERS BUT THE DOG RUN BELONGS SOLELY TO THE RABBIT. IF YOU COME TO THE DOG RUN, THE RABBIT WILL RUN IN CIRCLES AROUND YOU UNTIL YOU LEAVE. You're thinking Awwww
right now. That's okay. I thought that, too, until yesterday.
It was midafternoon. I saw no rabbit in the back yard. I went to the dog run and called "Rabbit?" A small face peeked out from behind the gate. Having established he wasn't dead, I turned to leave the back yard, I heard a crashing. Turning, I saw the rabbit streaking through the grass towards me. Expecting the usual circling-until-I-left, I stepped away. He lunged for my ankle. Stupidly, I put my hands down to shoo him away.
He bit my hand. Hard.
I pried his jaw off my hand. He took this opportunity to bite the other hand. I held up my hand; the rabbit hung from it for a few seconds and then dropped off and lunged for me again. I sprinted for the back door, unshoeing myself in the process. I stood inside and panted, watching my abuser; the rabbit sniffed the flip-flop disinterestedly and found a grass-blade worthy of him. The scene was pastoral. Were it not for the rabbit-tooth divots in my hand, I'd have thought I was hallucinating.
Don't worry, Mom. He didn't break the skin. Two Benadryl later, the swelling came down. A little online research and a quick call to the woman who handles the bunnies at our rescue told me what I had suspected, that testosterone is a very powerful motivating factor. Once he's neutered, he'll probably get less territorial.
Or he's just a bit of a jerk.
So next week he'll be neutered. I'll pay for it, because there is no city program to help underwrite rabbit-neutering . Maddeningly, rabbit neutering costs more than cat or dog-neutering. And then I'll try to place him again, but I'm starting to think he's going to live in the dog run for a while. I'm not happy about this, but as of this morning I've decided what he is in my life. He's my Bengali tea-boy.
Of course I'll explain. A friend who is a Buddhist told me the following story: There was a highly-respected Lama who was travelling and giving dharma lectures. Among all the people who worked with him, came to see him, assisted him in every way possible, this Lama had a tea-boy from Bengal who went everywhere with him. The tea-boy was incompetent, rude to the Lama, and a general chore to be around. People, assuming the Lama was too kind, too evolved to fire him, offered to do this job. The Lama refused; he kept the boy because in a world where everyone wanted to make things easy on the Lama, the boy provided him with a chance to practice patience and non-judgement. All the major religions stress treating others with patience, kindness and mercy. All the major religions stress this because either the people who wrote it or the God or Gods who inspired it know exactly how hard daily patience, kindness and mercy are.
It's easy to love my dog who worships us and corrects his behavior after a single sharp tone. It's easy to love the cats who make doe-eyes at us. I took on the responsibility of seeing to the welfare of something which didn't ask to be small and helpless and can't help having the personality of a "Jersey Shore" cast member. I didn't want a rabbit, and I can't say I exactly like the rabbit, but I will care for him and love him as best as I can. His water will be clean, his hay will be plentiful. He will have vegetables and all the dog run grass he wants.
But don't kid yourself. The testicles are coming off.