Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Misadventures in rabbit ownership

H had a stomach bug a few days ago. The quick kind, here and gone in a day. I made a valiant attempt to keep her home from school yesterday- she was feeling better but seemed tired. She fought me and tearfully begged that I let her go to school. Hasn't this kid read the manual, I thought? But I know from experience, no she has not. She had a great day, as per usual, and came home with the desperate need to have a rabbit.

"Can I have a bunny? A white one with black eyes. No, with black spots. No, all black, No, maybe brown. If I get a white one I'll name her Snow. Can she be a girl? If shes brown I'll call her Coffee." That was our ride home from school. Here is the dilemma, something H can never know- I am the biggest sucker for any animal, and the mere mention of a rabbit has me building hutches in my mind. But I say no. For now. Seeing if its short lived, this bunny love.

I do the stereotypical 'we'll talk to your father' thing. J says little to H, but once she's in bed he looks me square in the eye and says, "No." Because he knows he'll have an easier time calling H off the rabbit idea than me. Then J goes through all the logical reasons we shouldn't have a rabbit, really. Because we have dogs bred to hunt rabbits, for one thing (but they're not terriers, I argue, they'll just point at it, not rip in apart. Although I know this isn't necessarily the case) "Who will feed it when we go away?" He asks. The same people who feed the fish, and the cat. Of course. "I don't want to look at it!" He says.

When I was a kid, we had a revolving door of animals. The quantities changed, but at one time it was: 5 dogs, 4 cats, 2 chickens, a duck, 2 doves, I think it was 92 quail, a guinea pig, a hamster, 2 mice, a snake, 2 turtles, many frogs, a fish, a parakeet, an opossum, and 2 rabbits. I am probably forgetting something.

I had 4 rabbits, altogether- the 1st two, I thought were both female until one fateful morning we discovered what I thought were tomatoes all over the floor of the garage, where the rabbit hutch was. Turns out the rabbits weren't both female after all, one had babies, and the other one ate their heads off. Its true what they say, the males eating their young thing. We were late to school, by mother was annoyed, I cleaned it up quickly, tried to save the few live babies put them in a cat carrier with their poor bunny mother who was understandably traumatized. I rushed into the car to get to school on time- got there and cleaned up in the school bathroom.

The other 2 rabbits I had were babies bought at a market in Mexico City. I think they were too young to be away from their mother- in any case they died not long after I got them. I had an idea to memorialize them by keeping their skins. Our neighbor was a chef, had his own restaurant. I asked if he'd help me skin them. He agreed on the condition that I watch. I agreed, mostly out of being stubborn, and not wanting to look like I couldn't handle it. I regretted it soon and still see the rabbit nailed to the tree in his back yard.

These are two of many experiences I had growing up that seemed quite normal to me at the time.

This I promise- only one rabbit at a time, ever. And no skinning them. For the love of God.