Don’t Call Me Kind

WOULD YOU DEFINE a creditor as generous for granting you a loan at 20% interest? Generosity is giving without compensation. So, stop calling us (rescuers and fosterers) generous.

As I become increasingly uncomfortable with personal praise for my “work” with rabbits, I have come to understand why the praise is misdirected. Only human attributes are acknowledged: “You’re so dedicated.” “You sure must love rabbits.” “What a kind person you are.” I wince at these intended compliments. It is not modesty but justice to give credit where it is due. Instead of applauding caretakers for being kind, applaud the animals for generating kindness in humans. We are being praised for being fortunate-for living with logicians who restore order. I get off the phone from talking to a creditor about a check I forgot to mail. I turn around and see Ozzie flopped over on his side in ecstasy. Maybe creditors aren’t so nasty after all.

My husband’s computer “hangs up,” and he loses three hour’s worth of data. Across the room Bandit, our office bunny, is stretched out flat on his belly in a torpedo shape, hind legs extended. Bob chuckles and decides that the data files can be rebuilt.

Our car’s rear bumper has been smashed; our back steps have collapsed; our water heater has gone out; and Myrna leaps for joy, swiveling and spiraling her massive Californian torso. When mishaps seem to be more than we can handle, I’ve often heard Bob say, “Thank God for the rabbits!” We don’t need praise for receiving a 200% return on our investment. What the rabbits give us is far more valuable than money.

Compliments are welcome when appropriate. Which would parents rather hear you say of their human children? “You are wonderful parents for having such patience with your children.” or, “Your children are very interesting and intelligent individuals.

If you want to say something nice to me as a rabbit fosterer, look to our animals and say, “What beautiful, worthy creatures!

©Copyright Marinell Harriman. All Rights Reserved. Republished with the permission of the author.

Ths essay first appeared in House Rabbit Journal Volume II, Number 11.

  • Marinell Harriman

    Marinell Harriman is the author of The House Rabbit Handbook. Over the past 35 years she has fostered and rescued hundreds of rabbits. She has published numerous articles on house rabbit philosophy, care, and behavior. She has a special place in her heart for disabled and special needs rabbits.

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