Robyn posted about an outing she took to the Santa Barbara Bunny Festival. It reminded me of a story that I wanted to share. Even though I'm STILL taking a blog break until October-ish, I figured the timing was right and if I waited I would forget. I tend to do that.
When my son was five years old and my daughter was nonexistent (unless you want to get all spiritual and say she was "waiting in the wings") my mother thought it would be a grand thing to get a couple of bunnies. And give one to us. Unasked for. That was the "grand" part.
The one we wound up with was a cow bunny (or a floppy dwarf or something). Mostly white with black splotches all over. And I'm just assuming it was a "he". Apparently there is a way to flip them over and check, but when I tried "he" got all wiggly and twitchy and there was hair everywhere. I never saw any "bunny bits" but I figured the attitude matched a male, so from that point on he was a he and I was damned if I was going to check again. Since we only had the one there was no penalty for guessing wrong, unless ours had figured out a way to somehow spawn without a mate. Like in Alien. (Chest-bursting bunnies. Just picture it! I dare you NOT to!)
My son named him Runkle. I don't know why. Did I mention he was five? He was dancing around me while I was holding the bunny (a dance like the pee-pee dance, only this variation is the "gimmeeeee!" dance) and I asked him, "What would you like to name him?"
He stopped wiggling and twitching (see? Male trait.) and got this "deer-in-headlights" look on his face. The noise that escaped him sounded like "Runkle?" When I asked to be sure that was what he said he latched onto it like a beaver on a fish flavored wooden leg. "Yes! Runkle!" It was an awkward name at first, but it grew on us.
Now, the problem with this arrangement was it fell to me to take care of this bunny. My son was too young to handle it. At the time I was the only adult in the house. The bunny was skittish and in turn my son got skittish and it was a mess.
I had enough trouble taking care my son. I'm afraid the bunny didn't get treated as well as he should have. To my credit I *did* keep him from dying. But that's about it. He almost never got to leave his cage and when he did you could just tell he was looking for a way to escape or someone to bite. If I had a bunny now (not that I want one) I could probably handle it a better. I'm more in tune with utter chaos than I used to be.
My mom got rid of her half of the pair around two months in. She couldn't get used to the smell or something. We held onto Runkle for at least a year and a half before he had to go. Toward the end I had been working hard to fix the damage that had been done to the wee bunny's brain. But we had to move into an apartment that didn't allow pets without an insane deposit. It turns out that a two-year-old kid – the one in the wings – with koolaid and a sharpie is far more damaging to an apartment than a rabbit would have been. The fools! Heheheeh.
Runkle had to go to the Humane Society.
Now, this is where my co-worker (and the brother of my girlfriend) Derek comes in. He is a very strong believer in "meat is meat", and that, in a majority of instances, a pet is merely food that comes when you call. Like Dominos with fur. He wanted me to give him Runkle rather than take him to the pound. He was quite adamant that bunnies are good eatin' and it would really be a shame to let such a biggun go to waste. He assured me that my son would never know, and asked me to just give it some thought.
But ultimately I couldn't do it. If I had given my son's first pet to him to cook up I'm not sure I would have been able to look at him the same way again. Or myself for that matter. Plus, he would have probably made a snappy t-shirt that read, "I ate Runkle" just for giggles.
So on a Saturday morning my son and I took Runkle to the pound. I was going to write about how painful that was, but I've decided not to. I'm sure most of you have had to deal with something similar, and if you haven't my explaining how it felt wouldn't be very effective.
Since then we have only had six pets. Four of them are African Dwarf frogs that my son got for his birthday a couple of years ago (only one of which has died so far) and two are fish that he inherited from a school science experiment having to do with the introduction of an outside element into a closed ecosystem. Why he got the honor of keeping them rather than his lab partner I have no idea. He must have "won" the coin toss.
Until we have our own house I've decided to stick to pets that you can flush if they die and that can't be cuddled. Although my son and I buried the dead frog in my mom's flower garden, and there was still much sadness.
So it's had a mixed kind of success.
Now, back to my blog break.