Today is Miss Q’s Bunniversary!
Two years ago today, I brought Miss Q home from the shelter. I had gone there to meet another bunny, but when I saw Miss Q, I knew I just had to have her. She was incredibly shy and had bald patches where she had pulled her fur out to make a nest. The vet who examined her indicated she had given birth shortly before being rescued. It was heartbreaking to think about how she had been dumped in a park in Cambridge left to fend for herself, and possibly her babies (domesticated rabbits should never be dumped outdoors; they do not have the instinct to survive like wild rabbits and will often die within 24-48 hours if they are not killed). I sat on the floor of the shelter while she sat about two feet away from me with her one white paw sticking out in a friendly gesture saying, “You! You’re taking me home!”
So I did. After she got comfortable in her new surroundings, she would zip around the house so fast that it was practically impossible for me to get a non-blurry photograph of her unless she was flopped out on the ground all pancake-like. She had so much energy — definitely a young bun. If she wasn’t zooming around or pancaked out, she was up on her hind legs trying to figure out all the new sounds, just like this (under the ‘protection’ of the piano):
Maybe I’m a sucker for the underbun: Rabbits are such misunderstood pets. They are not starter pets; they are awful pets for children. If mishandled, their spines will break. Rabbits are high maintenance: they need socialization. They need exercise. They need toys and mental stimulation and safe things to chew on. They need an abundance of fresh vegetables and hay. Their litter box needs to be cleaned just about every day. Are you ready for a commitment of a decade? I had one rabbit that lived to be almost 14 years old, bless his heart. Rabbits have personalities that come out when you make them a part of the family, of your life. If you rabbit-proof your home so they can’t get into trouble, they can be free-range bunnies and have the run of the house. Most rabbits don’t like to be held, but they will often sit next to you while you watch TV or read a book (and will want to take a nibble of the paper).
Miss Q might be about three years old now, but of course this is only an estimate. Her fur grew back within a month and she’s been pretty healthy ever since. We’ve had some good times and some not-so-good times. She had a boyfriend who she hated at first – “Mom! Why did you bring this stranger into my house?” – but she eventually learned to trust him. I learned a lot about how to bond rabbits, too (it wasn’t easy). She loved to kiss and snuggle him. Sadly, he died unexpectedly earlier this year; I remain undecided if I will find her another friend.
She demands to be fed her treat of pellets first thing in the morning and will rattle the walls of her exercise pen when she knows I’m awake and not in the kitchen (where her pen is). She eats hay all day long. She’s litter box trained. She likes to play inside paper bags. She will tug at my pants to get my attention. You can’t say, “Do you want a salad?” in front of her unless you know you can deliver the goods. Even though she gets a salad every night, she begs for vegetable treats whenever I’m at the kitchen counter and she hears the rustling of plastic produce bags. She knows the difference in sound between the bottle of Advil and the bottle of papaya tablets (treats).
She has definite likes and dislikes. She loves it when I scratch her head and cheeks. She will get up and run away if anyone attempts to touch her hind legs when she has them stretched out. If I lay down on the floor with her, sometimes she will give me a kiss (but only when she feels like it). She will grunt if it takes me too long to add more hay to her box. She loves parsley, mint, dill, and Brussels sprouts. She hates cucumber, zucchini, and cilantro (I wonder if it tastes like soap to her, just like it can for some people). For a little three-pound bunny, she has an enormous personality.
If Morrissey had a pet rabbit, he’d probably write a song that goes like this:
Every day is like Bunday
Every day is smiling with hay!
Because you know what? It is. I can’t imagine my life without a bunny in it. Happy Bunniversary, my sweet girl.