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The House that Max Built
Nancy E. Monahan

No pets. It says that in our lease, and the landlord verbally reinforced his policy at every opportunity. But, I thought, what can it hurt to ask? So I ventured to the manager: "How about a guinea pig?...Well, that's sort of like a fish, isn't it?"

"Yeah, sort of...Well, I guess that'd be okay."

As soon as I saw him, I was hooked. I asked if I could hold him. He pushed his face past my chin and cuddled as far as he could into my neck. I think he was scared, and I wanted to comfort him. So guess who came home with a baby rabbit, a wonderful, six-week-old, all black mini-lop? I named him Max. If a defense were needed, I thought a rabbit would be an even easier sell than a guinea pig: litterbox trainable, no squeaking, perfect!

Not so perfect. Landlord's verdict was: We'll see what happens. If anyone else in the building wants a pet and says "She has one," Max and I would have to go. I decided not to wait until that happened. I began looking for a house to buy. Funny thing about buying a house: It's a lot easier to do if you have some money. So Max and I lived in secrecy, and I started saving.
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Three years later we found some land to build our own little house! I designed the floor plan very carefully, with a special room just for rabbits. The house is turned so that the rabbit room is on the coolest side to minimize summer's higher temperatures. Outlets will be placed halfway up the wall to prevent injury to bunny mouths or bodies by electrical cords. The rabbit room has an outside door. No more hay trails across the living room floor. No more squeezing a cage into the bathroom for cleaning. There will be a closet and shelves for storing bunny supplies. The builder told me he has built a house around a refrigerator and a house for a chair. But this was his first "rabbit house." He thought it was rather funny.

Freedom at last! No more hiding behind closed drapes. No more running with 40 pounds of litter, trying to get into the apartment without being seen. No more surreptitious trips to the vet. Oh, to be seen in public. To let the sun shine on bunny fur....

First Max. Now a house for Max. Soon maybe two or more rabbits for the house that Max built.

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