When I was growing up, our house was a chaos of kids and pets. Dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, snakes…Almost a pony once. Once. It was a lot of fun. I learned the ins and outs of caring for many different kinds of creatures, and what might have been an otherwise dull suburban upbringing was a Constant High Drama of Scheming Cats, Obnoxious Dogs, Escaping Gerbils, and Hapless Fish.
Much later, I would find myself Without Pets for the first time. And was I ever surprised that I liked it. I liked the quiet. I liked the lack of hair on every surface. I liked going away for the weekend without finding a pet-sitter. I liked the lack of dependents, and the extra money that was not being spent on veterinarians/pet food/medication/etc. I liked the lack of urine on the rugs, and the dearth of doo-doo on the back lawn. I really really liked not being a hostage to another creature’s regimens for medication/going in and out/etc. for the first time in my life. It’s not that I’d suddenly become an animal hater, merely that I’d done my time and was through. For a bit.
Well, all good things come to an end. I’ve had a rabbit for the past two years. It’s a nice, undemanding pet with simple needs and inoffensive output. And this afternoon, I seem to have acquired another.
It was disconcerting to walk through the Humane Society, feeling the familiar rush of desire to take every last animal home with me. I came dangerously close to taking all of the hamsters. Who would bring a hamster to the Humane Society? How much of a burden can a little thing like that be? Was sad to see the dog section full to brimming with pit bulls and pit bull mixes. Now there’s something to make a person hate her fellow humans. We breed dogs with vice-gripping jaws and a hair-trigger, then everyone is so *astonished* and *shocked* and *horrified* that they turn out to be less than ideal pets, and pretty soon they end up on death row. I briefly toyed with the idea of starting a pit bull rescue.
When it came to the alligator, though, I drew the line. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for something that would happily eat me in my sleep.
But rabbits, I think, are a good compromise. Went through a phase where I desperately wanted a Flemish Giant Rabbit.
Of course, then I realized that cat piss on the carpet was nothing compared to what a gigantic freakin’ rodent would do to the furniture. The same goes for capybaras.
My Current Rabbit is a lopsided agouti lop.
She had a rather traumatic life before being brought to the Humane Society, which culminated in being run over by a car. She has a very impressive flattened hind foot to show for it. She’s understandably a little standoffish after all this, although she does like to sit by my feet while I’m sewing. Bunny Experts seem to agree that EveryBunny needs a friend, though, hence the New Bun, who remains to be named. It took a little time to choose from the four available–they were all attractive and had their charms. My main consideration, though, was a friend for the Existing Rabbit. Thus, I wanted someone mild-mannered, who wouldn’t harass or dominate or otherwise traumatize a sensitive flower of a bun.
The New Rabbit is a young female, picked up as a stray at a local park. She’s a darn sight smaller than Clarabel, so I don’t think she’ll be doing any pushing around. She’s of an age that she might have been an Easter present that ran away or was abandoned. She’s friendly, curious, and very used to being held. And cute. Did I mention cute?
(That’s not our cage, btw, in the second photo, with the horrible wire bottom. The photo is from the H.S. website. My rabbit lives in a sprawling, three-story Bunny Palace, which is more than large enough to share. And it has solid floors, for sensitive bunny feet.)