HRS’s most ardent rabbit guardians accept an un-spoken philosophy that live animals are more important than our household furnishings. HRJ editors were quite amused when a reader, who shares this philosophy, commented to the Letters department that the photo in my previous article, “A Clean Environment,” did not reflect the wear and tear from bunny teeth normally found in rabbit homes.I must defend the “brand new” materials in the photo. My plastic fence has been in use since 1997. The litter box with the letter “P” dates back to our dear Phoebe, who died in 1990. These things have been in use all along but somehow survived intact, while others have been thrown away. We expect to replace our material possessions as we indulge our bunnies. But the reality is that many people don’t share our values. They surrender their rabbits to shelters because they don’t want their homes destroyed.
For seasoned rabbit people, there is no tough choice between the bunny and the couch (bunny wins). Yet, I question the assumption that you must choose between them. I am quite certain that you can have them both. I know this is true because we have too many supporters who are artists, architects, designers and decorators. Aesthetics and fine furnishings are very important to them. These people live and breathe their art. The artist is not satisfied with simple bunny proofing (e.g. plastic tubing around electrical cords). It has to look fabulous as well.
HRS Fosterers and adoption counselors question the sincerity of prospective rabbit adopters who ask for a designer breed or a special color that will look good with their home decor. HRS does not place a rabbit as a decorative item. Conversely, however, inanimate ornamental objects can be used as enthronements for living creatures, with surprisingly pleasing results.
In art teacher Carolyn Long’s house, it was no accident to see a black and white checkered rabbit scamper about the dining room and ascend a ramp to enjoy a salad on a lovely black and white tiled counter top in a window alcove underneath black and white checkered curtains. A visual delight for the beholder!
Aesthetics on a schedule
I have never managed to have my house looking beautiful at all times. I have learned, however, that with a few scheduling tricks, I can have my living room presentable for human guests, with just a few minutes’ advance notice. (I don’t allow drop-bys.)
I can quickly roll up the seagrass rug that envelopes our couch, shake out the comforter, and fluff up the pillows underneath. Instantly, we have a seating arrangement for guests.
I had almost forgotten what it was like to preserve a piece of furniture for human use, when for the first time in years, we bought a new couch. We also took in an extraordinary rabbit, with many superlative virtues, who is reminiscent of our first rabbit, Herman, of many years ago. We were thrilled to see her dancing about our living room, leaping from couch to chair and back again, and claiming them all for herself. It was a perfect world revisited. Then to my chagrin, I found her chewing a hole in the futon mattress.
My choices appeared to be the bunny or the couch. Not wanting to banish this amazing bunny from the living room and not wanting to give up a place to sit, I was determined to have them both. Then the grassroots option presented itself literally from underfoot. The seagrass rug, which we had purchased for the front porch, was turned into a huge cover up for the couch.
We now have a time-sharing plan, with suitable seating for humans, at times, as well as a trampoline/chew toy for the lively Peggy Sue, at other times. And even a rug-laden couch with a bunny on top looks gorgeous to me.
By Marinell Harriman
House Rabbit Journal Summer/Fall 2006: Volume V, Number 1