If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that I have been housing a big white bunny with black spots for several days now. He appeared in my yard one morning, happily dining on our overabundance of dandelions and weeds. I thought that he was perhaps somebody’s pet that had escaped his cage and would soon return home or be sought after in some manner by his owner. After about five days of watching the rabbit hanging out in my yard, I began to doubt that he was going to make it home on his own. I really didn’t want this cute little guy to be dinner for the coyotes, so on the advice of a friend I decided to try and catch him. After my attempts to entice him into a box with a piece of fresh lettuce failed, my mom came over, chased after him with an ugly weed in her hand and a few minutes later we had him safely trapped in the garage.
But then there was the whole question of “now what?” The friend who suggested I catch him, a former bunny owner, was able to borrow a cage from a pet store and she brought it over with some hay and pellets. We cleaned and dressed the cage and she told me a little bit about taking care of a rabbit. For instance, did you know that bunnies first pee on their hay, then eat it? I didn’t either.
I hadn’t been under any assumptions that I might be able to keep the rabbit but I found out that if I took it to the humane society, his chances of survival were, ironically, slim. When I called them they said they were obligated to take the rabbit, but did just about everything they could to discourage me from bringing him in. Too many to find homes for, I guess.
So I reluctantly let him stay while I asked around the neighborhood and tried to find the owner. I gave him a bit of freedom each day in the laundry room but didn’t want him roaming around the house. He is a very cute bunny, soft and fuzzy, and he makes a delightful crunching sound when he’s eating lettuce, but rabbits are destructive. They like to chew cords and apparently my friend’s parents had their entire couch eaten by their rabbit. The amount of poo I returned to in the laundry room each day assured him very little freedom while he was staying with me.
I had to find him a home and fast. At first, a coworker of my mom’s agreed to take him, which is one of the reason’s he had an extended stay at my house. I was waiting for her to pick him up. But it was my opinion that if she wouldn’t divulge exactly when she would come get him, she probably wasn’t going to. I was right. It looked like he was headed for a shelter.
Then, as I was awaiting a phone call from a rabbit rescue to see if they would take him, a customer at my mom’s restaurant drove up in a car that had stickers of rabbits all over it. My mom talked to this lady who, it turns out, raises rabbits and had several cages free at the moment. Just a short while later, bunny had a new home with a competent care taker and lots of other animals to hang out with. It was quite the fairy tale ending for the little guy.
I have to say that the thought of losing my own pet is devastating to me and I could never imagine just abandoning him if I could not care for him. I want all the bunnies and kitties and puppies to have great homes and long, fulfilling lives. But as I was begrudgingly cleaning out this cage every day, distraught over what was going to happen if I had to take him to a shelter, I could see how someone might (erroneously) think letting an animal free was the better choice. If it seems chances for adoption are slim, one might (again erroneously) think, that an animal’s chances for survival were better in nature.
I am so very grateful that this story has a happy ending, yet I am not as happy as I thought I would be. I wondered continuously while he sat quietly in his cage if catching him was the right thing to do. I actually feel bad that I was unapologetic and unwavering in my stance that I did not want to take care of a rabbit and that he could not stay with me. And it would be awful if he were abandoned but worse if someone were looking for him and we missed each other.