Friday, 24 July 2009

Today is a sad anniversary for me. One year ago, my beloved Netherland Dwarf rabbit, Neutrino, died. Though I have four bunnies to keep me company, Neutrino had his own unique personality and charm. He lived in my house for eighty-two months, allowing me to become intimately familiar with his irrepressible character. As I wrote in my debut memoir, When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies), he had a rough start to his life. Below is an excerpt from the book regarding Neutrino's arrival at my home.

After Sunday service one August afternoon, my friend Willy strolled up to me. "I've got this little rabbit," he began. "He's in a pen with the others, but they keep biting him. The poor guy just sits in one corner of the cage while the rest of the rabbits sit in the other. He's too small to be a meat rabbit, so I was wondering if you wanted him."

I felt sorry for that poor picked-on bunny so I accepted Willy's offer. Sunday after Sunday, I waited for him to bring me the rabbit, but something always stood in his way. It wasn't until the last day of September that my church friend brought the rabbit in a dilapidated carrier. "I want the carrier back sometime soon," Willy said. That didn't bother me at all as I had other carriers which were in much better condition.

When I arrived home, I took out the bunny and placed him in the white cage, which I then moved into the living room. As I watched him exploring his new surroundings, I pondered the interesting things Willy had told me. Three church families had that poor rabbit in as many years and all lost interest in their pet. The children must have manhandled the little creature, causing him to be wary of them. No wonder he cringed and was jumpy whenever I reached out to stroke his fur. Of course, he was traumatized by the big bunnies that bit him and that could have accounted for his nervousness too.

The last family who had him called him Peewee. I despised that name because it reminded me of that children's TV show Peewee's Playhouse. Since the rabbit was tiny and his black fur made him hard to see in dim light, I called him Neutrino. In scientific terms, a neutrino is a sub-atomic particle that is nearly impossible to detect and can pass through most matter without disturbing it. I also loved the rock group Klaatu's song The Little Neutrino.
That was in 2001. A year ago, Neutrino's day started out badly. Because I used paper from the library's shredder for his litter, he refused to wet on it. My left foot found the spot on the carpet runner where he peed. I put the rugs in the washing machine and cleaned up the mess, grumbling all the while about the fact that he had to be such a brat first thing in the morning. When I looked into Neutrino's cardboard house before supper, I found that he had wet on the newspaper I'd placed there and his behind was soaked. I took a basin and cleaned his butt before placing him in his newly-changed litter. As I answered e-mails after supper, Neutrino had a seizure. Racing into the kitchen to find out what the noise was, I saw him lying on his side. The silence I heard when I held his chest to my ear told me the sad truth.

Though I still miss Neutrino, I feel that I gave him the peace and security he lacked at his first three homes. Most bunnies never receive the affection and vet care that he had. My hope is that my memoir will cause its readers to treat their bunnies as well as I did Neutrino.

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