When my niece purchased an empty house several years ago, she found two abandoned rabbits living there. She wasn’t a “rabbit person,” but she was willing to keep them in her home and provide a safe environment. On my recent visit, she showed me their habitat on the enclosed patio.
“They’re not very friendly,” she said, “In fact, they usually run away from people. But that’s ok. They’re happy.”
When I thought about how much we demand gratitude from our companion animals, I realized that a true animal lover gives care and protection without demanding anything in return. There is enough human satisfaction in providing a comfortable secure environment and just watching animals be happy.
In remembering my most responsive (to people) and my most aloof bunnies over the years, I can’t say which I have enjoyed more. When I have a cuddly, smoochy lap bunny, who depends on my exclusive company, who meets me at the door and sleeps in our bed at night, I am turned into a housebound prisoner. I can’t stand the separation in being away from home. Vacations are impossible (our bunnies do not delight in travel).
On the other hand, the bunnies who like each other better than they like me give me much more freedom. I can travel without guilt. They are friendly enough to accept treats from my hand and well placed strokes in their preferred locations. They enjoy my company well enough to dance in front of me, but they perform just as well in my absence. They leap and play and groom each other, showing no regret when I leave the room.
But that’s ok. They’re happy–with or without the pleasure of my company.
House Rabbit Journal Summer 2004: Volume IV, Number 10