Monday, June 16, 2008

The Long, Long Road to Bunnyville

Say hello to the most adorable new member of our family -- a bunny named Maddie. After years of the kids begging and pleading for one, we finally have a pet in our house. Well, technically in our garage, but she does get to come inside and be cuddled now and then.

The proud mama of this furry little baby is my daughter, Tootsie. (She actually informed me that I am now a GRANDMA...but I prefer to think of myself as Supervisor. Or Facilitator.) Either way, Tootsie worked long and hard to make this adoption happen.

When her pleas for a pet first started, we were able to satisfy the desire with a fish. That was all fine and dandy...until one day the fish died. Then my son, Bubbs, got a hermit crab. Again, it was pure excitement around here...until one day the hermit crab died. Then Bubbs found a tiny turtle on a camping trip and he became the new pet of the house. (T.J. the turtle is still alive and well, knock on wood!)

But the kids started to get more expressive about the specific needs that a pet should be able to fulfill. Like being holdable. And cuddly. And warm. And furry.

My solution was to get them each a brand new Webkinz stuffed animal! They're furry AND holdable AND cuddly. And the virtual online version can be taken care of every day. And they always do exactly what you say and they never shed or poop! (Or die!)

The Webkinz did actually fill the need last summer. The kids had fun, everyone was happily distracted, and I thought they all made perfectly ideal pets.
But they weren't alive. And that became the topic of the next round of discussions. So, being the clever problem-solver that I am, I bought them a container of...PET GRASS! It's alive! It needs daily care and watering and trimming and sunshine! Tootsie was particularly pleased with it...for about 24 hours. She trimmed and examined and watered it with pride.

Then she came to me and said, "Mom? It's just GRASS. This is NOT a pet." She's so quick, that one. (sigh)

So here's what we finally agreed: Tootsie would research the specific type of pet she wanted to have and then write an informative report about it. The report would include information about daily care, housing requirements, training methods, etc... If she could find a pet that required a minimal amount of care with little to no effort on my part, that would not aggravate my allergies, and that would not unduly interrupt our daily routines, I would CONSIDER the idea.

She got to work that very night, surfing the internet for information about rabbits. The pile of print-outs grew, and notebook paper and gluesticks were flying around the office for a time.
She completed her report within 2 weeks. And I have to say, she did make a pretty good case for having a cute little unassuming rabbit as a pet. (Did you know they can even be litter-box trained?!) She narrowed her rabbit of choice down to a Holland Lop, due to its relatively small size, gentle temperament, and adorable floppy ears.

About this same time, some friends of ours got a hand-me-down rabbit which they took along on a camping trip with us. Tootsie held that thing all weekend long, and even gave them a few pointers about rabbit care. The weekend helped convince me she really was serious and ready.

We finally agreed to her rabbit plan.

The next step in the rabbit-acquiring process was for Tootsie to earn some money to pay for it herself. She picked up trash from the yard and watched Junior several times to earn the first bit of money. Then she got a more enterprising idea: she purchased bottled water, pop, and candy to sell in a stand in front of our house. She had the $25 she needed after two days of sales (thanks, everyone!).
I found a local rabbit breeder, made a call, and discovered they had one Holland Lop bunny left, which would be available that very weekend! (Bunnies have to be left with their mothers for the first 6 weeks.) We looked at pictures online, and Tootsie's little heart was set on that furry little girl. The fact that the timing was so perfect seemed like a sign that the match was meant to be. Then came four days of waiting, which Tootsie claimed were some of the longest days of her life.

When the pick-up day finally came, Tootsie took along her entire money jar and paid all by herself. Her face absolutely lit up when she got to hold her very own, long-awaited, desperately-loved bunny for the very first time.

So far things are going pretty well...although Maddie is nowhere near litter-box trained yet. (In fact, I had no idea such a tiny little thing could produce such incredible amounts of poo. At least it is tiny, harmless-looking poo. That I don't have to pick up. Or step in. Or smell.) So for now, Maddie comes into the house on a towel.

The first morning of pet ownership, the kids were up at the crack of dawn. I went downstairs to see all three of them cozily snuggled up on the sofa together, sleepy and grinning, quiet and proud, holding the bunny while they watched cartoons.

I think this is going to be a good thing. I'm really, REALLY hoping so.

(Especially since Bubbs now has his eye on this little fellow, a 3-week-old Mini Rex...)

Is there any way to keep him exactly that adorable size?? Because THAT could convince me...

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1 comment:

atsirk said...

Yeah! Peter made the blog! We're so proud!