Favorite guilty pleasure?
Not sure why I feel guilty keeping a house rabbit. We keep Tuxedo in our kitchen and family room. Because I share hours each morning in silence with our rabbit,should I feel guilty? Love watching him as he goes about his dawn rituals. First, he sniffs the entire kitchen, seeking scraps of snap peas, celery or carrots on the floor. Then he sniffs me, especially my fingers and breath for a hint of his favorite foods. Finally, he cuts a rug. He jigs. He flings himself in zigzag patterns, tossing in a few 360 degree balletic jumps.
House rabbits make fab companions for adults
Tuxedo gaily performs on the blanket and rubber mats. If I am on the floor he hops on, off and around me. I never know when he may burst into action so the surprise delights me every time.
So where does guilt come in?
I feel guilty that I have a gentle and frisky rabbit all to myself. I feel guilty taking such good care of him, while mothers with babies and children live shelter-less in cities nearby. I keep Tux warm and dry. He receives clean water and a fresh litter box of newspapers with dried Timothy grass morning and night. I feel grateful to have room for a quiet and meditative pet. He’s good company on rainy mornings and dark nights.
Why keep a rabbit as a pet?
Once I heard a Zen Master use the example of donkey – donkey. That people as animals have preferences and temperaments that make them compatible or not with one another. This Zen Master referred to simple animal companionship. He made sure to point out that some of our donkey – donkey relationships really work for us. They work when we feel at ease, when we feel at peace. We tend to stay healthier with the right people in our lives. I believe this is true for our pets. I love dogs. I write about dogs. We share a dog.
Tuxedo acts like my husband is a carrot giving tree. Tuxedo loves soft strokes and gentle pets on the side of his nose. When he feels relaxed others can approach and pet him. Sometimes, Tuxedo bites the pen’s metal bars, trying to escape. All rabbits are escape artists!
Tuxedo responds, especially, to me
Each morning I sit or lie on his level, letting him roam. Using food rewards Tuxedo has learned his name and to come when called. He shows me by holding still when he wants me to continue petting him. Tuxedo seems to be all mine.
One day I went into our dining room and made a phone call. I did not know Tuxedo had escaped his kitchen Ex-pen. I felt so engrossed in my phone conversation, I’d forgotten I’d let Tuxedo out of his resting pen.
The thing I heard where thumps. Tuxedo hopped up the stairs to find me in the dining room. He could have made mischief chewing electrical wires or pillows in the family room. He could have jumped in the laundry basket and chewed our clothes. He followed my voice. I heard his thumps coming down the hall.
Since then, Tuxedo has learned to recognize his name and come when called. See the YouTube video I made of him below.
Our house rabbit remains a guilty pleasure. Together, we enjoy plenty of time every morning. I treasure him for his quiet times, lively times and alertness.
Two years ago at the animal shelter, we let Tuxedo choose us. After having visited with many rabbits, one Sunday afternoon at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter visiting room, Tuxedo came to me…full of curiosity, ears up with his black and white nose twitching. He came home with us.
By Deborah Taylor-French
Rabbits fall in the category of lagomorphs not rodents
“…people were already keeping rabbits as pets by the 18th century. British poet William Cowper kept hares in his home to help combat his severe depression, and he wrote eloquently of his love and appreciation for these creatures as companion animals.” Petfinder.com “Do Rabbits Make Good Pets?” by Mary E. Cotter, ED.D,. Licensed Educator, House Rabbit Society