Sunday, June 7, 2009

Normal people don't keep rabbits in the living room

I am sitting here in the living room, gazing at the rabbits, who have industrial livestock cages set up right next to my Amish-made-especially-for-me-honey-oak coffee table.

EG said to me once, "You know, normal people don't have rabbits in their living rooms."


I never realized how attached Bob and I are, mostly because I don't take him out of the cage except once or twice a week to do his visits. However, he rides on the passenger seat of the car when we go, checks on my whereabouts when we visit, and looks for me when he gets "too much" and needs a break. And on one visit to a school, when I put him on the floor to hop around, he came to me, put his paws on my knee, and looked into my face when he was ready to go back into his safe little basket.

It is odd to be attached to a rabbit. If you think about it, their brains can't be much bigger than a walnut. Just how much thinking goes on in there, anyway? I mean higher order stuff. I am sure we share some same thoughts: bathroom/litterbox; carrots/chocolate; what was that noise? However, and I have said this before, he seems to get it when it comes to the people he visits. One lady was not responding, so he nudged her hand with the top of his head, which caused her eyes to fly open and her to smile when we showed him to her. One lady absolutely loves to pet him for an hour or two at a stretch, and she talks to him. He sits quietly and lets her stroke him for all that time.

I told her I think he has come to the conclusion that I take him to a bunny spa each week.

Animals can be so therapeutic. My sister talked about the therapy dogs who greet patients who arrive for chemotherapy at the Cleveland Clinic. I gave my son a dog to keep in his room at night, someone to protect that damaged child and listen to all his concerns, someone to give him unconditional love when I was too stressed and cranky to do so. We have all heard stories about the cats who won't leave the side of the nursing home resident until the person passes. And one of the greatest experiences I ever had was volunteering for a therapeutic riding program where differently abled kids learned to ride horseback. To this day, I keep the image of a blind boy sailing over a jump on the back of a large chestnut--the glee on his face, and the attitude of the animal, almost a sense of pride, made me a believer at that very moment.

So, yes, normal people don't keep rabbits in the living room. But maybe they should.

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