March 24, 2014 10:32:47 AM
Shannon Bardwell - [email protected]
The caller said, "I read in the paper that you wanted a rabbit."
We have a saying at our house, "I pity the fool that says ... " people don't read newspapers.
Because one day it's in the newspaper that I wanted a rabbit, and the next day Toby Mac is in the upstairs bathroom.
The caller offered a small cage, a water bottle and 25 pounds of rabbit food, an offer too good to refuse. And then my friend Mavis said she'd loan me her bunny book. Next thing Sam knew, Toby Mac had a room of his own.
Jacky Triplett offered his pen where I raised the ducks. The same week the newspaper had a classified ad for a rabbit hutch. I called the next day, but the rabbit hutch had already been sold. The lady that answered was really nice so I asked about rabbit hutches. She knew all about hutches but not much about rabbits 'cause she had raised roosters in her rabbit hutch. She said you never know how roosters are going to work out so you have to separate them for a while. She told me about the dividers inside the hutch, so I told Sam that maybe he could make me some dividers for Jacky's duck pen.
As with the ducks, I learned firsthand that a lot of sayings we say, like "ducks in a row," are because that's exactly what ducks do. And now I'm learning we say "scared as a rabbit," because that's what rabbits are. Like the ducks, they have little protection from the predator world though Toby Mac has nothing to worry about in the bathroom. Well, almost nothing.
I secured everything I could, like tucking towels between the wall and the vanity. I covered cords and hoses just like "The Really Useful Bunny Guide" by Carolina James suggested. Besides the cage Toby has a shoe box with a hole in the end filled with alfalfa hay (also provided by the rabbit donator). He shimmies into the box when he's tired or scared.
One morning, the morning I was to leave Toby in Sam's care, I couldn't find Toby anywhere. Finally I realized Toby was behind the vanity and had probably been there all night. I got him out, and that's when I learned that rabbits can jump high and can climb like a squirrel. He can climb from your arms to your neck, then land on top of your head.
Rabbits will use a litter box like a cat and, like cats, they groom themselves. Rabbits will moisten their "hands" and wipe their faces after they eat. You can hardly teach kids to do that.
Rabbits have individual food preferences. Toby likes lettuce but not broccoli, chard or celery. Toby and I share apples. I eat the good part, he eats the core. I like carrots, Toby doesn't.
The world of nature holds remarkable gifts. Ah hum ... I was thinking about some goats for the garage.
Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.