A year ago, we went to a county fair. There the girls got to coo over all the cute little bunnies in the rabbit barn. Virginia fell in love and wanted a bunny. So came forth the “I want a bunny” face (see to the right). I could understand her desire. They are adorable. I had a friend once who had a pet rabbit. It was even little boxed trained. Cool. But still, my husband and I vetoed the idea of getting a pet bunny. Maybe someday.
Fast forward to this week. Last Sunday, as we barbecued with friends on our deck, my friend Lori and I were sitting in the kitchen, when the guys came in to tell us that Lori’s dog had found a nest of baby bunnies. Much to Lori’s horror, her dog wasn’t being very “friendly”. She gathered up the four babies and held them close to her to make them feel safe and secure again then safely tucked them back in their nest. Then an ironic moment – Dustin (Lori’s boyfriend) received a phone call on his cell phone. He answered the phone and then said, “Hold on a second.” He put the phone on speaker phone and said, “Say that again.” The voice on the other end replied, “Do you want a baby bunny?” Seriously? Was this a setup? Nope. The guy on the phone had a baby bunny he no longer wanted and was trying to find it a home. We all had a good laugh, but ultimately, no one wanted to commit to a pet bunny.
The next day, Klara and I (Virginia was away at camp) went out to check on the bunnies. We found three out of the four bunnies. Worried, that the mama had abandoned them, we scooped them up and were prepared to take care of them. I immediately hit the internet and read information about baby bunnies from our local wildlife rescue. The website assured us that they were ok. They still looked well fed, so we returned the three bunnies back to their nest. As we did so, we found the fourth bunny. All babies were safe.
All week long, Klara and I would check on the bunnies day and night. Our loveable dog, Obi, would “check” on them too. Each time he would go to the nest (it was in his yard after all) and smell them, then come in the house, never harming them. A few times I would even pick one or two of them up and pet them. One actually never seemed to mind. Then yesterday, five days after discovering the bunnies, Virginia came home from camp. Because we had been “loving” on the bunnies during the week, we decided to show Virginia. I picked up one of the little bunnies to show her. As I did so, another one came out of the nest and hopped to me. This was the first time Obi saw them actually leave the nest. He got excited and ran over to smell the bunny. His reaction scared the little guy, so he took off running. Of course, my stupid dog thought that meant he should run too. Bunnies scattered. Worried over what had just taken place, we rushed the dog in the house and gathered up the bunnies to put them back in their nest. Then we proceeded into the house.
The remainder of the day, I didn’t see the girls. They were just so fascinated with the bunnies, that they couldn’t stay away. No matter how many times my husband and I told them to leave them alone, by the end of the day, they would ultimately scare all four of the little bunnies away. Thinking they were gone for good, I had to give them the mom lecture and remind the girls that they should have left them alone. I guess I should have left them alone too. They were just too adorable.
This morning, all four bunnies were still gone. Yep, must have left for good. I went about the day, attending boot camp, going to a wedding, then returned to find that the girls had found one of the bunnies. They named her Daisy. They were carrying her around and she seemed very docile about it all. Then of course I got the “can we keep her?” It did sort of seem like fate. As we sat on the deck petting Daisy, we heard a horrifying little screach. I knew what it was, even if I had never heard it before. Obi found another one of the bunnies between the fences. I ran as quickly as I could to save the bunny from my over-curious dog. I got to the fence and grabbed the dog. Virginia scooped up the terrified little bunny. Then we saw a third bunny in the fence. I tried to grab it, but couldn’t while holding Daisy. It hopped off. Virginia gave me the bunny she pulled from the fence and went to get the third bunny. It was too late. Hopefully it got away to a safe place. She came back to me and looked at her hands. “Am I bleeding?” She asked. Sure enough, she had blood on her hands. Maybe she cut herself on the fence, but it didn’t really look like it. She wasn’t concerned, so she brushed it off. We put the two bunnies we had back into the nest. As we looked around for the third or fourth bunny, both of the ones we had hopped out of the nest. Daisy hopped right to me. Amazing! But then we noticed that the other one didn’t seem to be moving much at all. Then I saw that it’s leg didn’t appear right. Oh no. I said something to Virginia about it possibly having a broken leg. She picked it up to look at it, and discovered that the blood on her hands was not hers, it was the bunny’s. It’s leg definitely looked broken, and it had been cut open.
I called the animal rescue and had to leave a message because of it being Saturday night. The information I received from the phone line indicated to keep the bunny in a box with some cloth to keep it warm so it doesn’t go into shock. So we put Daisy and the injured bunny in a shoe box in the hopes that at least being together, the injured bunny would have a better chance of survival. We gave them some clover the girls picked out of the yard and were happy when we saw Daisy eat it. They were young bunnies, but at least they were old enough to eat without their mama.
Now Virginia is crying and upset that it’s all her fault that this bunny may die, but really I know it’s more my fault for not leaving them alone once we learned they would be alright in their nest. I should have stressed the importance of leaving these fragile creatures alone more to my girls. They saw me hold the bunny. They wanted to love the bunnies as well. So I sit here praying that this poor little bunny makes it through the night or even longer until we can get it the appropriate care. And I face another dilemma…the girls want to keep Daisy. Part of me says no, it’s wrong. She needs to live the life that was intended for her. Part of me sees how docile and sweet this bunny is, and how easily she has taken to us, and I want to keep her too. I guess I can’t make any decisions until I find treatment for our poor injured bunny. I just feel at this point that no matter what happens, whatever the outcome, it will be wrong. Such hard lessons for two little girls, and one grown girl to learn.
Update: The two bunnies slept for part of the night in a little shoe box in my bedroom. Just after midnight I heard rustling. Daisy was trying to get out. I had to let her go. My husband agreed. She needed a chance at the life that she was given. But I had to get Virginia to let her go. I went up to Virginia’s room, Daisy in hand. Of course, she was still awake watching something on her ipod, hoping not to get caught. I didn’t care. I explained to Virginia that Daisy needed a chance to find her mama. So Virginia and I went back out to the nest and let Daisy go. She didn’t stay in the nest. She hopped out, ate some grass, hopped by us as if to say goodbye and then hopped away into the dark. I don’t know what will happen to Daisy. We both agreed we would like her to come back, but we both also hoped that she wouldn’t. Then we would believe she was safe – away from people, away from pets.
An hour or two later, our poor little injured bunny (we named Carrot) seemed restless. I held her against my chest in bed. Over the next couple hours she slowly inched her way up to my neck and nestled in my hair. I finally fell asleep for about an hour or two. When I woke up, Carrot was in the same spot. I got up to put her back into the box and found that she had passed away in my arms.