Friday, January 14, 2011

Bunny Love

Whenever my beloved rabbit gets sick, I take a step back from my busy life and reflect. It’s a sad reflection because every time it happens, I look into her sad little bunny eyes, and I wonder if it will be the last time we gaze into each other’s eyes. I get especially emotional when I have to take her to the vet. I reflect on every moment we’ve had together. I think of all the happiness she’s brought to me with her little rabbit life. I remember where our journey began.
It was the second weekend that I’d been in my first apartment - I was excited. I lived alone, however, and I wanted to share my new space with a pet. Initially I wanted to buy a couple rats since I’ve have had them as pets before. But instead my path crossed with a special little rabbit that would change my heart.
I adopted my rabbit from the Idaho Humane Society in 2005. I walked into the PetCo on Federal Way, and there were adoption cages lined up with a sign proclaiming “free rabbits - for adoption”. The price was right, but I didn’t know anything about owning a rabbit. I figured rat rabbit, close enough, right? There were two rabbits – each in its own cage. One rabbit was pure white from its wiggly little nose to its fluffy little tail – it was cute. The other rabbit was striking, also white but with black on its nose, ears, and three stripes on its tail – this rabbit was equally as cute.
I asked the PetCo worker a few questions about rabbits: What do they eat? How long do they live? Where do they sleep? Do I need to spay or neuter it? Where do they go potty? She directed me to a pamphlet about rabbits and informed me that both rabbits were fully litter box trained. Sold- wrap it up- I’ll take my bunny to go please.
Then she asked me which rabbit I wanted. I thought for a moment - they were both equally cute. I love animals and wished I could take them both but I was afraid they might fight. I asked the girl which rabbit was nicer. She quickly informed me that the all white rabbit was nice – “the other one has an attitude”. “Good,” I answered. “I’ll take the mean one”. She was taken aback by a reply like that, but my instinct told me that the nice rabbit would find a house sooner than the rabbit with an attitude; plus I like an animal with attitude. As I walked around the large pet store, I couldn’t help but feel pride. I now had a companion. My new fur-child got everything cute I could find, a cat castle to sleep in and lounge on, a litter box with special rabbit litter, hay, rabbit pellet food, rabbit toys, and even corn on the cob rabbit popcorn. I walked out of the PetCo with my free rabbit and $ 298 in supplies.
I loaded everything in my truck and headed across the parking lot to Home Depot. I decided that I would keep my rabbit on the balcony of my apartment. All I needed to make this happen was chicken wire and zip ties. There were two apartments facing me in the courtyard that had cats; they let their cats out on their balconies by securing the railing with chicken wire so the animal couldn’t fall down and hurt itself. What a superb idea! I would do the same. It was a hot August day and I felt bad for leaving my bunny in the hot truck – so I ran through the parking lot – ran through the store- bought my items – and ran back.
When I got home, I carried my rabbit upstairs in the cardboard carrier first. Then I made multiple trips from my truck to my apartment for the rest. I got the rail of the balcony ready first and opened the cardboard carrier. My poor little rabbit was scared – she just sat in her box. I continued to get the area prepared. I set up her cat castle, arranged some papers she could nibble on with hay. I set up her litter box in a corner. The toys I bought were arranged on the cement ground, and I put her little food bowl with rabbit pellets near the water bottle that hung on the chicken wire like a big hamster water bottle.
While I was doing this, my little companion decided I was “okay” and that this wasn’t so bad that it peeked its little head out of the cardboard box to investigate. What a cutie – I should get my camera – I thought. I ran inside, got my camera, and snapped a few pictures. By this time the rabbit was okay with me petting it. I thought to myself – how wonderful to have a companion like this, someone to tell my secrets, someone to eagerly wait for me to get home. I was in love. But my rabbit didn’t have a name. Since my rabbit was adopted, the information to its past was limited to the piece of paper pinned to her cage at PetCo. It said:
So it was a mystery to me. I had to come up with my own name. For the time being, I’ll call you rabbit.
For days I pondered over the name for my newfound friend. I showed his picture to everyone that entered the gym – where I worked at the time. I was stumped. A good name is important; it doesn’t define a person (or being in this matter), but it definitely influences how people see you. I thought of all the stereotypical rabbit names: Fluffy, Thumper, Peter, Snuggle, but none of them worked for this rabbit with an attitude. This rabbit definitely had an attitude like the girl at PetCo said. He’d hop away if I petted him for too long; he’d tell me when I needed to feed him by standing by the glass sliding door looking in at me – just staring. He was a character I was beginning to find out.
One morning as I was in the kitchen preparing myself something to eat I was listening to the Dane Cook CD Harmful if Swallowed. Dane began his joke about Walgreen’s. I’ve listened to this CD hundreds of times, but this particular day it clicked. Dane said, “I’m going to Tarintino it and…” It hit me, Tarintino! “Tarintino is your name!” I said to my rabbit which looked back at me with his twitchy nose. I was so happy I found the perfect name for my rabbit with an attitude.
Throughout my years with Tarin, things have evolved. I moved in with my boyfriend who also loves animals and embraces Tarin as his own fur-child. We learned how to become better rabbit parents. Tarin has gone from a balcony bunny, to living in the garage during our first cold winter, to living on the patio one regrettably hot summer, to becoming a pampered house rabbit (where she currently resides). After four years of living together, we found out that Tarintino was a Tarintina; her paperwork was wrong, and she was in fact female. Now her food bowl is cleaned for every meal with dish soap and water. And her diet consists of fresh mustard green, parsley, celery, cilantro, and a small carrot as an appetizer.
My little rabbit named Tarintina has made me eager to learn about rabbits. Did you know that rabbits have 32 teeth? Did you know that a rabbit has a digestive tract similar to a horse and that rabbits can’t throw up? Also did you know that rabbits have three eyelids and can sleep with their eyes open? Not only has Tarin educated me on rabbits, but she increased my interest on helping rescue animals. No animal should be tossed aside. Just like Tarintina, they are caring animals with unconditional love to offer. I always loved animals before, but Tarin is a living, breathing example of how adopting an animal can not only enrich your life as a human but also the life of a caring little beast.
Emotionally she’s opened her heart, and she’s opened mine. She still has a bit of her old attitude and demands fresh filtered water daily, but time has softened her hard rabbit persona into a caring, loving animal that enjoys good long pets. I’ve changed, too. I never thought that a small furry creature was capable of making me feel unconditional love. Throughout the day I am thinking of home, eager to see her sweet little rabbit face again. I’m excited to let her out of her pen into the house where she runs around the furniture – so quick and loud she sounds like a herd of elephants. When I step into the kitchen and open the refrigerator door, I know that she will run to the edge of the linoleum, waiting for a veggie treat. I know that every night I can depend on her to know when its bedtime and hop on her cat castle for a long pet before bed.
My life revolves around this sweet little rabbit. I never would have known that such a small creature could impact a person’s life so much by just being a loving and trusting pet. I wish I could keep this rabbit forever, but every time she gets sick I am reminded that one day I will pet my rabbit for the last time. One day I will not see her sitting in front of the coffee table watching re-runs of “Frasier”. One day I will not need to buy 25 pound bags of litter or endless amounts of fresh veggies. And one day I will not be able to gaze into her sleepy bunny eyes as she drifts to sleep under the kitchen table. That will be the day that my heart becomes incomplete. I love my rabbit and the life and memories that she has shared with me.

1 comment:

  1. I have been through this twice with my 2 previous bunnies and when I lost each one I thought I would die but I could bear to be with out a bunny and now I have Speedy