Because of my mother’s love of and interest in animals there were occasionally exceptional and strange animal situations at our house. There was the scorpion my brother brought home from college. There was the dead raccoon he found on his paper route that my mom and he dissected in the back yard. There was the iguana I was allowed to keep for the summer in high school who would whip his tail at my boyfriend but no one else unless there was cantaloupe in the room. But nothing was so memorable as the bunny we had one summer when my mom was in vet school.
He was an experimental bunny which piqued my interested immediately. Experimental? “What was the experiment?” I asked. It seems our bunny was from a litter which had been taken out of their mother’s uterus and spent time in artificial uteruses inside male mice. Yeah, weird. They spent a week incubating in a male mouse then were moved back to the mother and born. Some survived, some didn’t. Bunny Foo Foo survived. Ostensibly this experiment was performed in case some woman needed to go drinking in Mexico for a week while pregnant. With new research, your fetus could be safely stored during your ski week in British Columbia.
My mother carefully explained and repeated several times that he would only be staying with us temporarily for the summer and then he’d be going back to the student who owned him. I knew I would get attached, as my mother worried, but vowed to do my best not to. As it turned out, it wasn’t as difficult as I’d imaged to keep my distance. The rabbit spent every moment not in his cage jumping around the basement popping out an seemingly endless supply of feces. It was disgusting. Hop, poop, hop, poop…stare…hop, poop, poop. Yes sometimes there were two poops per hop. He seemed to have no redeeming qualities. He could not be trained, was not cuddly and on top of that pooped everywhere which became my brother and my jobs to clean up. Finding the pellets of poop sucked all the fun out of letting him out of his cage (especially because our cats weren’t allowed downstairs while we did,) but occasionally guilt forced us to cave in and let him out to poo his way around the basement. As a result I began to near disliking him.
One morning I sat bored watching him, disliking him, and then immediately felt guilty for disliking him. I decided once and for; I would find a way to like him. I would play with him. I would not let him out of his cage, as this would only serve to frustrate me. Instead, I went and got a pile of stuffed animals to put on a pet show for him. I began dancing various stuffies before his twitching nose, singing and devising elaborate plots for him. Sunshine bear pranced before him offering friendship, a teddy bear I didn’t particularly like told him he’d be his new roommate. They danced in pairs, they had weddings, breakups, fights, and finally enter Ewok. Ewok was the final straw for my relationship to our bunny. Foo Foo leapt atop him, even through the bars of his cage, and began furiously shaking. He had a new vacant bunny look different from his previous vacant bunny looks. The light began to dawn on what he was doing to my Ewok. I ran upstairs, “Moooooo-oooom!” I yelled as I headed up. “Look! You’ve got to come look what the rabbit’s doing!!!”
She came downstairs and I repeated the Ewok dance, the same thing happened. The bunny immediately went to town on my Ewok, “Mom… is he doing what I think he’s doing?”
“yeah, peanut, he is.”
I didn’t like that bunny any more for our afternoon together but did learn where ‘screw like bunnies’ comes from. For once I didn’t get attached and when he went back to his home I was simply relieved not to have to clean up any more rabbit pellets.