Friday, March 27, 2009


Rabbits: there's not much to look at from the front, facewise. You have to check them out from the side.

So I've been agonizing over whether I am going to adopt Chip* or not. He is of the New Zealand breed (of the Easter bunny fame), and only 14 weeks old. I think full-grown, he will be as big if not bigger than Boyd. The first time I saw him, I found him a lively and curious rabbit. More catlike, in my opinion, sniffing around the edge of his cage and moving around it like he hadn't been there for weeks (or however long he's been there). After entertaining fantasies of cuddling and reading and lots of affectionate times with "My Little Angel," I waited a few weeks to go back and see him. He was noticeable lethargic and didn't get up when I opened the door or even reached over to pet him. I stayed longer and eventually he let me feed him some hay (rabbits eating is a very, very cute thing to see). After much petting (such soft silky hair!) I left, hoping I had somehow imprinted a memory of me onto him. Lame and lovelorn, I know.

So, I'm torn, because I feel like rabbits are a kindred spirit. More so that cats, at least, as they are predators and I am always wary of their sharp claws and teeth. Boyd, as much as he loves me, uses them on me occasionally and it never fails to dry up my affection for a while. I'd much prefer a gentle pet that takes time to get to know. And I just love petting animals. Physical touch is a big language of mine. It's so familiar and comforting, I bet I'd do it all day if I had a pet. But to have a rabbit.. my room is quite small and doesn't have any extra space for a cage, and you have to feed it twice a day (can't leave food out like you can for cats), give it hay daily, and then there's all the habitual cleaning, maintenance and general costs of owning a pet. I am still trying to save money (for upcoming big expenses, perhaps), so right now would not be the best time to add more costs, present and future. And, I'd have to say goodbye to weekend trips, or at least search for a petsitter. Not my idea of complete independence. I also spend basically half my time at B's house anyway, so being at home half of the time probably isn't a good environment for any pet. (Besides a cat.) I will seriously reconsider this put-off decision at the end of July, when my lease is up, depending on my new housing situation... assuming that he will not have been adopted by then.

The sign on the wall at the shelter says that rabbits live 10 years or more. That is a helluva long time. Who knows what my life will be like when I am 33, or even how much it will change in the next decade! I hope to have kids by then, and honestly, I don't really want a pet and kid(s). I don't know how people do it. In general, I don't know how parents exist..happily. Perhaps I am in for a wonderful surprise and will find that living for someone else is wholly satisfying.

EDIT: Chip is ADOPTED!!!!!!

*I thought I could rename him Pan, short for Pantalaimon, Lyra's daemon/soul in The Golden Compass (and the rest of the series). I'm just about to finish The Amber Spyglass. It's a riveting story with child heroes, but it also piques my interest in the philosophy and physics so integral to the plot development. After I finish, I predict I'll be all over the Internet searching for insightful commentary and discussion. It's how I roll, yo's. A Philip Pullman quote:

"There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children's book."


ehaze said...

we had rabbits growing up and most definitely left food for them in their hutch. (the hutch was outside so the poop would just drop onto the dirt - less cleanup and natural fertilizer). they don't need attention daily like dogs or sugar gliders, so you can leave them for a weekend trip as long as there's enough food and water. don't think they won't scratch,though. they have claws too and though they don't use them like cats, if they suddenly hop out of your arms you can get scratches. and having pets + children isn't as awful as you might think.

Fern said...

Great, thanks for the words of experience, Erin. I had no idea you owned rabbits, otherwise I would've asked. The only thing about keeping a rabbit outside is that I imagine it's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter for them. I'll have to give it more thought for sure. But you can't leave Raleigh for a weekend, right?