Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Friend or Foe?

Meet our newest family member. Yes, Caroline and the sweet girl next door found this little guy along with his two siblings in the backyard yesterday. One of the tiny hares hopped away (lucky for him) and the other two were homeless, and according to the girls' account, motherless. It appears that the two lone bunnies are now officially, as far as the girls see it, adopted; one was taken in by the neighbor, and the other by my daughters.

I know, I know, it's cute as a bunny, and it couldn't have a sweeter disposition, but LET'S FACE IT - this creature will grow up! And he'll become the menace that tortures me incessantly.

Last spring, right around this time of year, my beautiful pink - and nearly four-feet high - star lilies were just on the verge of blooming, their buds almost ready to burst with color. Like a mother who nurtures her newborn baby with tender care, I watched and watered those lilies meticulously, my anticipation growing with each passing day. One morning while I sipped my coffee at the table, I looked out of the kitchen window and spotted it - a rabbit - most likely this little one's mama, (or aunt, or cousin or sister, or ... you get it) stretching up on her hind quarters, nibbling at the robust, juicy leaves located at the base of my lilies! I flew out the door and clapped my hands vigorously, but it was too late; she had chewed the stalks raw. The leaves had been sheered off from the ground up to about twelve inches of the plant. I almost cried, literally. And I'd hoped that not too much damage had been done. But, I was wrong. Most of the buds never had a chance to open, at least not completely.

So now what's a mom to do when her ten-year-old walks into the house wearing a smile larger than life, cradling this bundle of joy in her tiny hands? Upon seeing his little whiskers twitching in a way that just highlighted his innocence, I, of course, immediately experienced a hair-raising flashback of my gorgeous phantom lilies that never saw the light of day. I tried so very hard to explain to Caroline that bunnies need to be outside - and they need to be free - to roam with their families and friends.

My logic and reasoning didn't work.

"But Hoppity will die out there!" she squealed. Hoppity? She'd already named it; the die was cast.

After I again explained to Caroline that the bunnies eventually damage plants and flowers in my garden, she thought for a moment and then cried, "Well, we can put a shock collar on it so that it won't go too far into the street or into the flower beds!"

Of course! Why didn't I think of that? Let's do all we can to keep the bunnies in our yard, including using behavioral shock therapy!

And here we are, twenty-four hours later, when another irony pops up: would you believe that we are actually planning to make a trip to the pet store to buy one of those small water bottles with the little metal tube that attaches to the side of the hamster cage (which she drug up from the basement) - just to make his little life more pleasant!?!

And all this for a rabbit who is just waiting to devour my beautiful flowers once he's free.

Any advice out there? Please! Help!


Kelly said...

Awwww... how cute! I understand your dilemma, though. I wouldn't want it to grow up and terrorize my garden, either!

It might not be fair to the bunny, but you could always keep it in a cage.

Hoppity. I like the name.
: )

Debby said...

Sorry. I'm a sucker for all things that need mothering.

We had a baby bunny once. He used to stand on my foot and pat my leg when he wanted milk.

Kelly said...

Oh...and when I suggested a cage I was referring to the type you keep outside on a stand where the droppings fall through. Also, that would keep him up out of the reach of neighbor dogs that might want to harm him. Of course he'd need to be in the shade of a tree, too, so he wouldn't get too hot during the day.

Kim said...

A very cute story....maybe Misti will be able to leave enough "marks" around the yard to scare off the unwelcome rabbits. Molly can come help out if you need her to. :)

Denise said...

Can't say a whole lot. My youngest is bugging for a bunny as well. We plan to get an outdoor cage. I told her it is not staying inside.

Kerry ABOUT ME said...

I feel your pain. I spent some mother's day money a couple years ago on some flowers, planted them, waited paitiently, saw with delight they were just starting to bloom and discovered the next day the bunnies had decapitated them all!! From that time on I put my kids in charge of chasing the bunnies from the yard.Our dog helps too, but the truth is everything we plant now we have to surround in wire. Otherwise it ends up bunny food. Maybe if it is in a pet cage you'll be safe. ;) Good luck and blessings,

Kerry Osborne