Wednesday, January 2, 2008
When we had our Great Dane, Bess, put down, Kiki grieved and grieved. I told her when she was ready she could have another pet.
A few weeks later, Kiki came to me and said, "I think I want a bunny." I told her that she needed to find out as much as she could about rabbit care, and then we would talk. She read on the Internet, spoke with several rabbit experts, and read numerous books. Then we e-mailed several rescue organizations, telling them that we had a noisy, controlled-chaos household with several Labs and several kids, that our pets were part of the family and went places with us, and we needed a rabbit who could handle it.
Only one organization contacted us back. The writer said, "I think we have the bunny for you."
We met Bob the Bunny in a pet supermarket. He was casually reclining on a table, watching the shoppers, no cage nearby. Kiki wanted a cuter bunny, perhaps one with a more bunny name than "Bob." But I arranged for another meeting, and Bob ended up coming home with us.
From the beginning, Bob demonstrated to be a bunny of great poise. We trained him to ride in a basket, capitalizing on the fact that rabbits feel safe in small spaces. For his first public appearance, he attended an Easter breakfast with over fifty preschoolers and hardly showed any stress at all. I, however, needed a nap.
Bob now visits the nursing home regularly. If he stays away too long, the residents and staff ask for him--it is not uncommon for me to pass by a room, only to be called back with a "Where's Bob?" Bob will sit for hours, being petted and massaged by a resident who talks about his or her childhood rabbits, only his bunny nose moving. The most agitated person can become remarkably calm after a few minutes with Bob, and he is a great tension breaker when young children are uncomfortable while visiting a relative. Sometimes, too, the director of nursing will call and ask for Bob to attend for a special event.
Consequently, I have become the rabbit's driver.
However, I don't mind, as I really don't know who gets more out of Bob's visits: the residents, the rabbit, or me.