The latest addition to my household are Yin and Yang, a sister pair of baby Flemish Giant rabbits: definitely the major life changing event that has happened in the last two weeks.
It is all my doctor’s fault: he prescribed me a social life, and failing that, he felt I should at least have a pet. I told him I have fish. He wasn’t impressed. When he started rattling on about damn pets again the next time I saw him, I went home and thought about it. I mean truth be told, he is an excellent doctor, so I respect his opinion.
What kind of pet would I get, I mean apart from fish? Turtle? Probably not what the doctor meant either. Parrot? They’d poo everywhere. I’d like to have a goat, but that will be difficult to accommodate on my half section which also serves as orchard and vegetable garden. Geese? Too complicated. I’ve been wanting to get chickens, but more for the purpose of eating their eggs, and I don’t know, it feels wrong to have a pet and eat their children for breakfast on a regular basis.
I’m definitely not a dog person: they need far too much attention, and they get so damn attached. Besides, I don’t like their smell. I’m not really that keen on cats either: I’ve been thinking to get one in order to help keep my mice in check, but the main reason against it is that I’m allergic to them. That probably wouldn’t make the doctor very happy either. In fact he strongly advised against it when I mentioned it to him.
So then I thought, I could get a rabbit. And that somehow felt right. They fulfill all the cuddly and cute requirements that fish fall so woefully short of, they aren’t noisy and not terribly smelly, and they can sit quite happily and entertain themselves when you need them to. We can work on our anxieties together, perhaps.
In my usual impetuous manner, I jumped on Trademe, found a second hand rabbit hutch, and a second hand rabbit at a nearby animal shelter. I went to pick them up the next day, and when we got home, I thought I’d let the poor rabbit out of his carry case where he was sitting trembling as if the world was going to end, and let him hop around in the sunshine a bit and chill out, while I was setting up the new hutch.
That was a mistake.
I can’t say that I’d had any previous experience of rabbits, because if I did I would have known that unlike cats, rabbits don’t come up to you to beg for food and cuddles. Especially rabbits who don’t know you. They just run away. By the time I had found a place for my hutch and got it set up, my new rabbit was indeed enjoying himself quite a lot exploring my weedy, grassy garden – pretty much a rabbit’s idea of paradise! And I soon realized that I had absolutely no way to capture him again. Eventually he ducked and disappeared, and was lost from sight forever. What became of him, I do not know. He lasted in my inexpert care for exactly three and a half hours.
That was crushing. Here I was trying to do one of those normal things that normal people do, and it turned out to be an utter failure. I felt woefully inadequate, and at the same time decided that the damn doctor could have the damn rabbit’s karma on his head for all I cared.
When I told him the story, he laughed raucously and tried to cheer me up by saying he’d probably gone off to make lots of baby rabbits and was having a great time (it almost sounded as if the good doctor was a tad jealous) – better to burn out than to fade away, and I’d probably done the beast a favour. And really, I didn’t have to have a pet if I wasn’t a pet sort of person. He seemed a bit shocked that I took this so much to heart. I don’t think he has come across a specimen quite like me before.
I put the idea of rabbit to rest for a while, but it gnawed at me. I’d gone and bought a hutch, so I might as well put it to use. Then a couple of weeks later, I had a strange encounter with a beautiful, quite tame Flemish Giant rabbit when I went up to Taranaki to attend WOMAD. My friend – and prop maker extraordinaire – Inkibus, who breeds rabbits in the Ozarks, had recommended this breed as particularly friendly and intelligent, and I could see her point. So I thought, get back in the saddle, try again.
Yin and Yang, I am happy to say, have now been sharing my home for nearly two weeks and are still doing well. If they survive the year, I might go and get myself a pair of peafowl. If you asked me, I see myself more as a peafowl person than a rabbit person, really.
Why am I telling you this story? Well, it’s a good story, and after wrapping up my series on magic birds, I’ve been a bit stuck for a topic for this blog. So why not do something about rabbits, I thought. I also felt that after so much fantasy and mythology, it was time to have a look at outer space again.
So logically, I punched “space rabbit” into DeviantArt’s search field. This is the result: which goes to prove that DeviantArt never lets you down. Enjoy!
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