Friday, March 05, 2010

Tale of Two Pets

Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

Our daughter was fourteen when she got her first job. She worked at Schmidt's Bakery in Trolley Square, just three blocks from our home.  Aside from being able to walk to and from work, she also brought home bags of leftover donuts and sweetrolls everyday.  A great perk, at first.

Of course, we all gained weight, then got sick of the sweets and began giving the treats to our neighbors who in turn got sick of them. 

One day, instead of bringing home a bag of goodies, she brought home a cage with a Netherland Dwarf rabbit. She'd saved and paid for it with her own money. What could we say?  Danielle announced that her new pet's name was going to be "Echo" after an obscure British post-punk band called Echo and the Bunnymen. 

The deal was done and we accepted Echo into our home and eventually our hearts. 

A family on the next street raised rabbits in hutches in their backyard.  These were not family pets, but were fattened up to become family meals.  The idea disgusted me and our animal-rights-activist daughter became determined then and there to save every animal she could.

Echo lived outside in his cage while the weather was warm.  The neighborhood kids would let him out on the lawn to play and would bring him carrots and lettuce to munch on.

When the hot days of summer gave way to the rainy, cool days of fall, Echo's cage was moved inside to Danielle's bedroom.  Pretty soon she and her brother,Wes, started letting Echo out in the house and he jumped joyfully from room to room.  He became our house bunny and acted much like a cat.

When Echo needed to relieve himself, he would hop back to his cage lined with newspaper and kitty-litter.

Echo became a family member, joining us in the family room to watch TV and the dining room to share our meals.  He would hop up onto our laps, begging to be petted. 

Now I know it is hard to believe, but when Echo wanted our attention, he would hop behind the TV, grab the cord in his mouth, pull and unplug the television set!  I'm certain he knew what he was doing. 

Thankfully, Echo did not bother with the many cords to our desk-top computer and printer.

Remarkably, Echo could sense the needs of family members. If someone was sad or ill, he was right there to give comfort.  During that time, my husband stayed up most nights into the wee hours working on a book.  Echo kept him company.

One night I was stricken with a horrible gall bladder attack.  I went to the family room so I wouldn't wake anyone and there I flailed on the floor in agony and dispair.  Echo hopped up to my face and looked me in the eyes as if to say, "I'm here for you. You'll be okay."

Finally, at five in the morning when the pain got increasingly worse, I woke my husband to take me to the hospital.  The gall bladder was removed.  I survived just as Echo told me I would.

Echo was with us for many years.  My daughter went away to college, but Echo stayed with us.  She brought home her Swedish boyfriend who would tell Echo to "Yump up" onto the couch.  To this day I can't hear of say the word jump without laughing about Stephan and Echo.

In due course, Echo died of old age.  He was buried in our backyard, our family of four adults shedding tears over his grave.

About two weeks later, a gray tabby cat showed up on our doorstep and told us he was there to take Echo's place.  We tried to find the owners of the cat, a neutered male who refused to leave. We named him Persistence "Persy" because of his determination to be our cat. Fourteen years later he is still with us.  He is now sixteen or seventeen, old and feeble, but hanging on.


This post was inspired by one of my favorite blogs--Imagine--please read her story about an amazing dog in


Arkansas Patti said...

Lovely tale. My best friend growing up had a bunny who was litter box trained and ruled the house. They are wonderful pets that should not be confined in cages.
I just read Judy's story before coming here and between the two of you, my day has had a really nice start. Thanks.

Travelin'Oma said...

I've never heard of a bunny as a house pet! And he's so cute.

I had a horrible gall bladder experience with surgery 7 years ago today. (We're still paying for it!) I also writhed on the floor. I needed a honey bunny that night.

kenju said...

Thanks so much for the link; I am glad you enjoyed the story of Jasmine. We once had a cat we could have named Percy (for persistence). He belonged to our neighbors, but with his repeated visits to our home, they formally gave him to us one day. We had him for 14 years after that.

Pat said...

You have been privileged to have two such smashing animals.