After several failed attempts we end up at a dodgy pet store and I saw Bunny and his brother. I could only afford one of them so I took Bunny home.
When my friend and I arrived at my ex’s with bunny we had no idea what to do with him. We didn’t know his age (6 months), his gender (male), or what to feed him (carrots is not his diet). The following Monday I took him to the vet and without thinking about his name, told the nurse, he was Bunny. I learned he was a little boy, about to because a tantrum turning teenager and that he should probably lose his balls sooner than later in order to have a longer life.
The first year we spent together was tumultuous. I was finishing my last year at college, teaching, and working like crazy to pay for rent and tuition. There was days I was near broke and I would feed him the best free cut parsley and cilantro while I ate cereal and milk. He spent one afternoon going through my laundry hamper nibbling on suit cuffs, jeans and tops. He jumped onto my tall IKEA bed (the one with massive storage) and pulled posters off the wall and left them as Swiss cheese.
He learned how to pull books off the bookshelf and then stand on the books to get to the next level. His favorite reads were Financial Economics (2004 McGraw Hill) and Econometrics (2001?) amongst some classic literature (Watership Down – the irony, Shakespeare).
On days Bunny really wanted to cause trouble, he would get on my desk and eat my homework. I actually used, successfully, that “my bunny ate my homework” to a GSI when turning in homework.
When I bought a baby gate to keep him from getting out of my room and harassing my roommate, he learned to ram it like a bull until it collapsed. He also learned how to jump over it. Bunny was an indestructible teenager that year. On the days he had to stay in his cage, he would violently shake it so much that eventually the door broke open. Then I learned to tie the door shut, then he would eat the string and then shake the cage again until the door opened.
In 2005, I moved to a new one bedroom apartment by myself. It was the first time in four years I didn’t have a roommate and it was a place for Bunny to call home. It was a very average apartment built in the 70s but had cool vaulted wood ceilings and a refurnished bathroom. The bathroom was bunny’s heaven. He slept there. He hung out in the bathtub. For a few months he made it a policy that if you went to the bathroom he would follow along. My friend’s husband once went to the toilet during the night and we heard “Eeeeek!!! … Oh… bunny why are you here when I’m peeing?”
Bunny used my guests as pillows and trampolenes and would tossle back and forth until someone gave his bum a push to go away. He would return hours later, only this time to sniff everyone’s faces with his big whiskers and floppy ears.
When my mom first met him, she was ambiguous towards him. One fine morning as she was eating a banana Bunny climbed on mom and attempted to stick his head in her mouth to get some gushy banana. I woke up to my mom part-lecturing part-squealing at him. I said it was okay to give him a tiny piece. He was estatic! The little mushing sound he made as he ate banana meant if heaven were a fruit, it would be a banana.
But from that moment on, my mom was in love with him and likewise he was to her. My mom, being a mother, always fed him on time (on a grass mat) and made sure he had fresh water and a clean cage. I learned how to be a better caretaker/mom to Bunny.
During that same summer, Bunny had a space in my closet with newspaper and hay to dig and destroy. He naturally being a learned rabbit realized newspapers were for losers and decided on eating my artwork. He found, zipped away in an art pouch, my best pencil drawing ever. Ever. To better educate himself in the arts, he ate it, leaving behind a few pieces.
I was angry. Bunny was placed in his cage and stayed there for three days. I put a towel on top so I didn’t have to see him. He would shake the cage. He would pout. He would shake the cage that the door opened, his learned trick, that while was stark raging mad I laughed so hard when his face poked out from the open door. “Shit! I opened the door, do I stay or do I go? Mommy’s laughing but she’s still so angry.”
After those three days, I squeezed Bunny and he slept on the bed with me. He apologized, sorta, and I, sorta, forgave him. A few years later, I was able to finally laugh at that experience.
There was the time I would make fruit smoothies. Frozen berries with yogurt and a dash of sugar and fresh mint. The empty glass would lay on the desk next to me. By morning the glass was rolling around the bed, and Bunny was rolling around behind it. I once woke up to his little face smushed in the glass desperately licking the remaining goodies stuck to the wall of the glass. I giggled, “oh silly bunny you are crazy for berries.”
When my dad visited new adventures arose. A big dude was scared of rabbits and all things furry. How fun to be Bunny then! He could torture a man twenty times his size. And during Bunny’s most active time (the night) I awoke to my dad screaming. To understand this screaming, think of a child having nightmares and wailing at night. Put that in my dad and give it a deeper wail. I ran into the room, turned the lights on and saw Bunny on top of my dad eating the newspaper and dad eyes poking out from under the covers. He was terrified, Bunny was delighted to eat paper and tease dad.
I couldn’t stop laughing at this site of grand silliness.
In my next apartment, a spacious two bedroom with a large living room and dining area, bunny went crazy. It was all carpeted, thereby he could hop like the wind. He would dive bomb from one room to the next. Run up and down the hall and turn the corner until he ran himself into a door. “Thunkk” He hated closed doors and banged on a door until it was open.
When my mom visited me again, I slept in the small bedroom and mom in the master bedroom. Bunny was confused so it took it upon himself to play trampoline with my mom’s sleeping body until she awoke to say I was in the next room.
Around 6.30AM mom would give him breakfast and 15 minutes later he made his mad dash around the house. That included running into my room, on top of me, on top of my head, and out the door again. Since that wasn’t so cool, mom shut the door so I could get a little extra shuteye. Bunny didn’t approve. After breakfast he would do his binkies and running, then stop at my door and scratch on it. He would even bang the door with his paws, head butt it, and run into it. Mom gave up and opened the door so he could scamper in and run on top of me until he tired and left the room. I heard he gave mom a look of look of approval when she opened door each day.
On Bunny’s nightly walks, he would look for trouble. One night he found a plastic bag of Jelly Belly Jellybeans and ran up and down the hall shaking the bag. Then he smashed the bag against the wall to break it open. Jellybeans everywhere! And here, I awoke to mom’s melancholic lecturing and crying while Bunny continued sniffing the beans, “mmmm, tangerine, ewww…butter popcorn,” and gave her a defiant look of triumph.
A few nights later, he found a paper bag of wine corks and ran up and down excitedly in the hallway. Paper bags makes more “crunch, crunch” than plastic bags. Obviously this was a gold mine for the beanie. Mom awoke and took the bag from him emptied out the contents on the floor. He sniffed the wine soaked corks, took a bite, and was disappointed. He let mom put the bag away.
Besides Bunny’s antics, he knew when people were sad or happy. That pets have a sixth sense was remarkedly true with him. Once when I returned from the hospital he cuddled on me. He figured if he cuddled and got a nice rub from you, it means you forgot your troubles, if only for a few minutes. His way of showing love was his own way but we all understood when he was showing love. He would lie on the floor next to the couch and watch you. If you left the room, he would follow along. He would never sleep alone at night; under the bed or a chair in our room.
My mom told me that when I leave for several days he became depressed. He didn’t want to run around and throw things, he wanted to mope. She had to cajole him to play and do bad things to keep his mind occupied. He even got lectures for being mopey.
She also told me Bunny would run by the door a few times in the evening, just before I showed up. When I came home, he would be “Yay, mom’s home! back to eating a mat now.”
One fine night, a drunk Swede met him. Bunny was sleeping next to his food tray in front of the fireplace in the living room when a beer-smelly, funny accented boy lay down next to him. “Hey!” he called to me, “you have a bunny, and he’s freeeeee!” “Hey bunny, you like green stuff huh? Can I have some too?” And he ate some cilantro on the floor with bunny. “He’s a biggggggg rabbit. Wow, big fat dude. Cool, rabbit though.”
That Swede became a bun-dad and my husband. He and Bunny shared an estranged relationship at first; Bunny saw him as the man who took away his mommy. He didn’t want to share with the Swede. But Þorbjörn loved Bunny. He would hold him, he would tease him, he would rub him and talk to him. He would help feed and clean his cage. And when he moved in, he still let mommy spend lots of time with him.
When Þorbjörn and I moved in together, the antics and the naughty behavior didn’t stop. Bunny may have been an adult now, but he still loved trouble. There was an evening where I was at an afterwork and Þorbjörn was to join us. He went home first and found Bunny in the kitchen with the bag of kitty litter all over the floor. He sighed at Bunny and left him to do his destruction. When we returned a couple hours later we found our kitchen was entirely covered in kitty litter. Spare no floor. And the man behind the madness was resting on his mat in the corner of the kitchen admiring his work.
With the kitty litter safely put away after the incident. Bunny needed a new job. So he became a Personal Mail & Paper Shredder. He would sleep on the rug at the door and wait for the newspapers and mail to come in through the door slot. And then he would destroy. All newspaper was shredded and mail torn in half. It went on for weeks. To leave or enter the house meant going over Bunny and his new workspace. He quit that job and became a professional painter making landing stripes with his cecotrops.
And cleaning cecotrops he didn’t want to eat was gross. It was the most disgusting job ever. Rabbits create an edible excrement called a cecetroph, it is a nutritious, smushy, smelly blob to eat. The times he didn’t want to eat these smelly blobs, he rubbed on the floor with his butt to make a long landing strip behind the couch. To say the least, the husband cleaned up the nuisance.
When we moved to the largest apartment we had, Bunny would spend hours being lost or sleeping under the couch. Then at night he would run around like it was the Indy 500. Daytime, quiet as a church mouse. One morning my husband woke up and went to the bathroom to take a shower. Mundane start to a working day. He turned the shower on and heard scampering and scratching! And then I woke up to laughing. When I ran in the bathroom, husband was laughing and Bunny stood on the floor in shock, all wet . We managed to get him to the bathroom mat where he stood put. No one was going to make him take a shower again.
Three days later at 5AM I heard scratching on glass. After inspecting the house for Bunny, I went to the bathroom. Sure enough, he was in the shower and got locked by the glass doors. Evidently he had to investigate the source of heavenly water.
He was a character. He would sleep at our door at nighttime and in the evenings would run back and forth from the living room to bedroom to let us know, “hey, it’s bedtime, let’s go people!”
If he didn’t use my friends as trampolines when they slept on the air mattress after a long party of drinking, he ran around the house looking for trouble. Open cupboards and closets, newspapers and cables, nothing was going to stop his furry butt.
I do not have any siblings so when Bunny arrived he was the first creature I had to take care of. He was my sole responsibility. My companion through the best and worst times, my little brother (selfish and annoying), my baby fuzzy, and my friend. His presence signified home. He was smart, well read (hello The Economist, I like eating you), loving, funny, and even self centered and a show-off.
Our house is empty without him. A family of three is rendered to a couple. Our hearts feel a terrible weight of grief that will never completely go away.
We will always hear his pitter-patters and see the remains of destroyed books, clothes, boxes, and shoes in our home.
Bunny, you are in heaven with other little pets. We believe you are there to take of the animals who were less fortunate than you. Be good to them as we were to you.
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