Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Story of Rose...errrr...Spot, the Rabbit.

Last year, while she was in first grade, Big Sis got a bunny in her bonnet.

All I want is a rabbit, Mommy.

"Wishes for bunny" is probably a box in the developmental flow chart of the average little girl, in this case right before "loses first tooth" and right after "masters two-wheeler."

We hoped it was a phase that would pass. We're dog-and-cat folk, after all, of the "one each" variety, and occasionally reluctant goldfish owners. We don't know rabbits.

But we found it difficult to explain to our daughter why a rabbit wasn't a reasonable request. "We don't want one" was the most truthful answer. Truth is, we didn't really want a big plastic talking dollhouse in our living room either, but such are the things we do for love.

Attempting to both stall and discourage Big Sis, we required her to research rabbits and explain to us their care and feeding. She dutifully checked out bunny books from her school's library and reported her findings.

In the meantime, my mother helpfully clipped newspaper articles (the kinds which appear around Easter) detailing the reasons Why Rabbits Make Poor Pets.

And then, we all forgot about bunnies. Maybe. I suspect our daughter was taking a break from her campaign and preparing for a Fall Blitz.

At any rate, she developed a genuine loving interest in our current pets, growing into their best friend and advocate and taking charge of walking the dog.

At my school, meanwhile, we have a French teacher/4-H Rabbit-Raiser/Dr. Dolittle, who from time to time has broadcasted her bunnies available for adoption (and fresh eggs available for purchase). Back in the initial stages of Rabbit Research, she detailed her own daughter's journey through rabbit raising, and both dispelled and confirmed my fears about taking on a bunny ourselves.

This week, in an email about classroom supplies and schedules, she slipped in mention of a sweet bunny looking for a home.

This week, The Week Before Big Sis's birthday.

And that is how Rose the Rabbit came to spend a day in the Vice Principal's office and then a lifetime in our home (gulp). I mean, backyard. We're looking for a hutch.

Our daughter was surprised and amazed that her wish came true so unexpectedly, and giving gifts under those circumstances is just awesome.

After we got over the initial euphoria, we still had a bunny. So we set out to get to know him. Rose. Rose the Male Bunny.

Turns out he is a show rabbit, a "Dutch." Our teacher's daughter tattooed his ear, as is customary with show rabbits, before learning that He was not a She. Rose will have "Rose" forever emblazoned inside his long lobes. I suggested "Axl" or "Bud" as appropriate male additions to his feminine moniker, but he has been dubbed "Spot" by his new owner. Allrightythen.

The first time she held him, Big Sis's eyes grew wide, in awe of what she'd asked for and gotten: Bunnies are nervous. Bunnies scratch. Bunnies, we have learned, bite.

"Do you have buyer's remorse?" I asked her.

She gulped and nodded solemnly. "It's a big responsibility, Mom."

But she is determined. She is holding that bunny as often as she can, and enduring some rascally rabbit habits.

Thus, Spot has joined the fold, is part of the team. And my husband is happy to have another guy around.


Ms. F said...

Ahh, bunnies...Rest assured that it wasn't a phase. After a childhood of begging my parents for all sorts of small critters, I got myself a bunny as a sophomore in college, so, no, the desire doesn't wane. Tully passed on to greener alfalfa patches last year after 9 years, much to Danny's great relief. :)

Heather PC said...

The only rabbit I knew was an ornery bastard who grunted whenever he was grumpy, which was most of the time, and chewed anything rubber. He had a lot more personality than I thought a rabbit would have, though, and was lovable despite his cantankerousness. I hope Spot the Rose is equally (if not more so) charming, and settles in to the household nicely. Sounds as if Big Sis is willing to put in the effort to make it happen.

Mama Deb said...

You totally made your little girl's day, though, and that is awesome.

I had a few hamsters as a kid, and I have to admit, small rodent-ish animals like that scare the bejaysus out of me with their love of nipping.
I also had a chinchilla in college, but she was more for fun-party-tricks. A good friend adopted him after I graduated and she lived for over 10 years!

steve jones said...

awww. I had a bunny named fluffy when I was little and then when I was 13 I got snickers (same colors as a snickers bar!)

If you can, build a fenced in area where it can roam and eat grass and clover. Snickers loved it!