You Never Know

When I was six, my most valued possession was–my lucky rabbit’s foot. I loved to feel the soft fur. I used it as my marker when I played hop-scotch. And I never once thought about the animal from whom it had been taken. Because I loved animals, then as now, I would have been horrified to know the truth of that rabbit’s miserable life.

Over the years, I’ve entertained my share of narrow ideas; accepted without question hundreds of false assumptions; and been the unknowing cause of suffering to thousands of creatures, great and small. Who hasn’t? I have also met teachers, some human, and some other-than-human. In most cases I was blind to the meaning and value of these experiences when they took place. Only when I look back do I see the change in my path marked by these lessons.

Occasionally I have had the honor to serve on the other side of the equation. So I know that like the student, the teacher rarely realizes the significance of the encounter. Traveler and way-pointer converge at a place neither could have predicted.

We may not know when or where these magical connections will occur, but we can create a hospitable environment, by words and actions. Suggest to a friend he buy his child a plush bunny at Easter rather than a live one. Talk about the value of adopting animals from a shelter or rescue group rather than purchasing from a breeder or pet store. Words hold a powerful magic. Invoke it often. One day someone will come up to you and say, “We had our rabbit spayed because of what you told us.” Somewhere a rabbit you’ll never meet will have another chance at life. The spell may be cast at any time. You never know.

by Amy Espie

House Rabbit Journal Spring 1997: Volume III, Number 9