Wednesday, April 06, 2011

He's a Rebel 'Cause He Never Ever Does What He Should

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.


Blogger Debbie St.Amand said...


When we learned to take care of the rabbits when volunteering at the Wildlife Care Center, they did say they could be territorial. I guess they weren't kidding!

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! You're doing a great job of making him sound... desireable? for a new home.

"Hey, want a cute, cuddly, VAMPIRE for a pet? Come on, you'll love him."

Welcome to the new Bengali Tea Boy.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I wrote what I did with any future owner in mind. Let there be no misunderstanding, no unmet expectations. Any potential owner enters into this relationship with eyes wide open, baby.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter's guniea pig, Mr. Flynn is my Bengali tea-boy. These are supposed to be GENTLE, SWEET tempered animals, who RARELY bite. Mr. Flynn RARELY misses an opportunity to bite me, his regular handler and treat giver. I was hoping maybe it was just eagerness to get the treats...or maybe I taste delicious. I was begining to I have a better frame work Bengali tea-boy. Dog love is cheap but guinea pig love is paid for with an actual pound of flessh, tiny bite by tiny bite.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You should read the Bunnicula books by James Howe; it's about a vegetable vampire bunny. Very cute.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Weirdly, I have a foundling cat in my house who serves that EXACT tea-boy function. And the first thing I thought upon seeing the picture you posted of the bunny was, "Oh my lord. That bunny looks exactly like Squiggy (ie the foundling cat)." Squiggy not only has very similar coloring to the rabbit, but she herself is a bob-tail with elongated back legs. If you look at her from behind when she's running, you'd swear she's a rabbit. Somehow, the thought of someone else in the world having a Squiggy tea-animal makes me feel less alone, so I hope this knowledge does the same for you :)

2:07 PM  
Blogger Stacey Ballis said...

You might want to periodically remind BTB that he would de delicious with a mustard cream sauce over some spatzle...might help keep him in line.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I think that clearly, you need to name this lagomorph (oooh, look, the new word I just learned in your post and I'm using it in a sentence now!) The Situation.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Debbie St.Amand said...

I wanted to clarify. My :::giggle::: was for the testicles comment, NOT because you got bitten!

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had not heard the Bengali Tea Boy story before, so thanks for that. And I had never heard the word "lagomorph" before, either.

It seems my whole world is populated with Bengali Tea Boys, so I'm in the market for some easily shamed creatures who live to please me. Let me know if you have any you need to get rid of.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Bengali Tea Boy story, and the new word....lagomorph......hmm.

It seems my world is full of Bengali Tea Boys, so I'm in the market for some creatures who are easily shamed and who live to please me. If there are any of those you are getting rid of, e-mail me.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Riin said...

He will definitely be MUCH calmer after he's neutered. Much sweeter too.

And if he actually runs circles around you? That's rabbit language for "you're swell!" You might want to read the Language of Lagomorphs website -- -- it's fascinating and will help you learn to communicate with your new furry friend!

7:12 PM  
Blogger Judy said...


Have you ever read C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce"? I see you as one Sarah Smith of Golders Green.

Oh, and many thanks for the provision of a new name for my Lhasa Apso. He is my BTB. The only thing this dog seems to enjoy is to randomly poop on my dining room carpet. I've tried everything but Depends.

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a good person! I think his behavior will improve once he's fixed. Our male rabbit humped everything, which was preceded by running around in circles, before we got him fixed. My dad's golf club cover will never be the same . . .

6:37 AM  
Blogger Karen of TX said...

"Well, that's no ordinary rabbit!"
No discussion is complete without a Pythonism. And yes, neutering will help a lot. Wily buggers, aren't they?

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't expect this rabbit story to contain an attack and a spiritual reminder. You continue to amaze me.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Nancy in PA said...

I love Karen's well-placed Pythonism. LOL As the "momma" of an easily shamed dog who lives to please us, and two foster felines - a doe-eyed darling (whom we likely will adopt), and a Bengali tea-cat (who, should we be suckers enough to adopt, I am now considering naming "Bengi" LOL) - I can do very little but chuckle sympathetically and look nostalgically at the cat tooth shaped divots in my own hand. Perhaps Rabbit will one (post-neutered) day repay your kindness with love and devotion. Or maybe it will just be one of those sort of experiences that people always said would be "good for my character growth" or some such thing. Either way, perhaps the "other" bunny will reward you a nice basket full of chocolate and leather gloves. ;-) Good luck...

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quinn, I too have a bunny that was suppose to be wild after one of our hurricanes here in Fl. It is tame. No way it was wild. Daily I spend time feeding, watering and loving this rabbit as well as anyone can. Love your post on here.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Substitute the rabbit in the proverb for a teenage girl and you will understand the moral lesson I am going through at the moment. And many more moments to come.

Oh, except for the neutering part of course. Sorry.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

I was laughing hysterically as I read this!!! I had never ever heard stories like this - which is why we bought a male rabbit for our kids about a year and a half ago. Our story is similar, except for the fact that we live in an apartment near Tokyo, and our little bun is a "house" rabbit! He decided to "woo" my daughter and I, and completely terrorized us - I was bleeding from the ankles every other day.

OK, I exaggerate. I wasn't bleeding every other day. I only bled a couple of times, and after that stayed standing on chairs whenever he was around - until he started jumping up after me. After that I just stayed clear when he had to be out of his cage for cleaning (my eldest son never had a problem with him at all - we suspect that he somehow was able to show the rabbit who was boss by firmly petting his head many times a day). I really began to loathe that rabbit!

The good news is that after we had him "fixed" he gradually changed, and is now a perfectly agreeable bunny. Well, he's actually kind of picky, but he never bites anymore. The kids and I have evacuated to my husband's hometown in south Japan after the big earthquake/tsunamis here, and I actually miss the little bun. We had really started to become friends.

So, there is hope for you! Yes, the testicles really must go!!

6:11 PM  
Blogger moonbow said...

Turkeys can fly, I asked my 4 dogs.

5:25 AM  
Anonymous MidLyfeMama said...

Thank you to Karen of TX for getting in there with the Python reference. Big Sharp Nasty TEETH.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Dawn Maria said...

I imagine at some point in my life I will need to know the specific details of rabbit neutering. So thank you! This is all imprinted in my brain now, but I still can't be of the slightest help to my son when he has trouble with his geometry homework.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Jeanette said...

I had a pet rabbit as child who also became aggressive. He beat up any neighbor's cat who dared use his litter box as well as every member of our family. After he bit me on the face, my mother gave him to a "friend with a farm". As a teenager I met this friend with a farm who told me "Bugs", as we called him, was delicious. I probably would have been heartbroken at such news, but after all the biting and scratching I kinda' felt like he got what he deserved.
My mother, bless her, was going through a rather hard time while this was going on. Although she is freakishly patient, I think she had enough "BTB's" at the time.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Jobi Harrell said...

Yup. Your offspring was ocrrect. You got a rabbit.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous tokenblogger said...

Everywhere else I go it's all about balls today!

5:39 AM  

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