Elizabunny Remembers: A House Rabbit’s Life, Then and Now
I was born into a lovely family. I had three sisters, two brothers and loving parents. The world seemed a wonderful place to be. Then one day the unthinkable happened: my siblings and I were carted off to a pet shop. We sat in a window, and everyone stared at us. We missed our home and parents.
Things went from bad to worse. My sister Whitey and I were taken out of the window and put in a box. It was dark and frightening. After a long car ride we were taken from the box and put in a wire cage. It was not a very nice place to be. We couldn’t run or play. Once a day some people would come and give us food and say a few words. A child came every day, too, to rub our backs, and once in a while pick us up, but she didn’t know how to hold us and we were frightened. I scratched her, trying to hold on and not be dropped. That led to the next disaster.
We were set loose in their yard, with no place to hide and nothing to eat. We were terrified. We didn’t know what to do. We just sat very still at first, trying to be invisible. Then we ran. The people in the next yard tried to catch us. They put food out, but we wouldn’t let them near us. I was able to hide at night because I am black and hard to see in the dark. Whitey was caught by a coyote. I never saw her again.
The next morning I was so hungry I went into a wire box that had food in it. When I touched the food, the door shut, and I couldn’t get out. I was so scared! The people must have been watching, because they came right away and took me out of that scary contraption.
The man built me a three-room apartment that sat outside the sliding-glass door in their fenced-in front yard. What a luxury: bedroom, living room and kitchen, and play area and bathroom. They helped me keep my house very clean. After a while, I was allowed to run around the yard when they were with me. They didn’t get too mad when I ate their plants or made them chase me when I was supposed to go to bed. The man learned how to hold me under his arm so I felt safe.
They even bought books on how to take care of rabbits, and soon I moved into their house. Their four cats learned to accept me, and we get along very well together-except when I want to play nose tag. Cats don’t know that game.
I am a real member of the family now. My day starts with a healthy breakfast. I spend time in the yard when the weather is nice and someone is home to watch and keep me safe. I run out through the swinging door that the cats use. I have shelters of plastic and wood, so I can see my humans and they can see me. I can dig tunnels and eat goodies (the rabbit book told them which plants are dangerous for bunnies), and nobody gets upset. Though they do fill in my tunnels.
At suppertime, my place is on a carpet, in the kitchen with the rest of the family. I have my litterpan, a box to rest in, and a place to eat. They give me fresh hay, dandelions, kale, dark green lettuce, pellets, and my own bowl of water. My mom washes all the greens and dries them well.
After dinner I play with my toys. I throw them around, especially when I want attention. My favorite time is later in the evening, when we all sit on the living-room sofa. I get petted and get my tummy rubbed while we watch TV. Sometimes my dad starts reading and forgets to rub my tummy, so I throw his book on the floor. That works pretty well. With a little time I’ll have trained them to be almost-perfect bunny parents. Even I make little mistakes now and then, but I figure if they can accept me, I can put up with them.
At bedtime I get a carrot-top and a little slice of banana or apple. I sleep on my little carpet until morning, when Dad comes in and helps me clean up my area and gives me breakfast. I’m not afraid of the vacuum-cleaner anymore.
My life had a difficult beginning, but now I am loved and safe, with people who understand what bunnies need to be happy and healthy. They used to think dandelions in the yard were a bad thing! Now they grow them just for me. I love my humans.
By Smudge Elizabunny Siegel (penned by Dr. Bernard S. Siegel)
House Rabbit Journal Fall 2001: Volume IV, Number 6