Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big Bunnies at the shelter

Last night I finished putting up two plastic panels at a local animal shelter. They wanted them attached to the walls because the kitties apparently dig at them when using the litterbox. Since I am handy, I offered to help. I chose Wednesdays because people are there until about 10.

The room I was in was called The Kitten Room, and it held kittens (most of them 6 months to a year old), and the shy cats, some of them good and grown. The thing about this room is that I was guaranteed lots of help: help pulling out and inspecting the contents of my purse, help biffing my drill bits around the floor, and help climbing into the toolbox and digging through all the fun, noisy, small movable odds and ends.

One of the volunteers, an eccentric but kind older woman, pointed to a white long-haired 6-month-old and said, "I don't understand why he's still here. He's so beautiful."

I didn't have the heart to suggest that perhaps the reason was that, beauty aside, he is a complete psycho. I am still healing from the kamikaze dive from the cat tree onto my arm, where he freely used his teeth to stabilize himself upon landing.

The great thing about Wednesdays is that it's Rabbit Night. This is when all the Rabbit-owing volunteers gather, many bringing their own bunnies, and hang out in pens set up for the rabbits to get some exercise. (They are kept separated.)

When I'd first walked in to the shelter, I stopped in front of a volunteer sitting on a chair, her feet outstretched on another. Along her legs was an enormous white rabbit. He was on his back, head back, eyes closed, mouth gaping. His feet flopped over the edges of her legs.

"Did he just come out of surgery?" I asked.

"No; he's just relaxed."

Turns out this rabbit was found wandering in Skokie and was in such bad shape they thought he wouldn't make it. Now, he;s a big, healthy guy who loves to be held like a baby and have his head rubbed. Once you start rubbing, his eyes roll back and he flops over. It's hilarious. After I'd done my handiwork, I came out and went to his pen.

"Hey Drake," I said softly, picking him up. His head was the size of a softball. I rubbed the back of it, and his eyes immediately closed, and he fell over backwards in my arms, teeth rubbing together in characteristic rabbit purr. I sat down and he lay back on my legs, belly-up, legs limp.

I don't really know how to describe how unusual and how wonderful it is to have something so large and so soft be so trusting. It can happen with rabbits, but it's not common.

If I were in a position to, I'd take him in a heartbeat. But I have my bunnies, and I do love them so. Although it would be interesting to see what Harry would do with the first animal in the house larger than he is.

I also hung out with Buster, another white rabbit whose MO is to stretch his head out on your lap while you rub it. He's a character, too.

AND I've been turned on to a very fun web site: Rabbit Bites.

Rock on, Chou Chou!!


dprentice said...

I'm surprised you haven't ended up with a whole ASSORTMENT of strays - (and I'm talking about the shelter - not the personal ad from your earlier post...)


JC said...

The animals at the shelter are less fuzzy, and better housebroken than the personal-ad flotsam...

Well, I used to work at an animal shelter when I was married. We had five cats at one point. It's not bad, until everyone starts to age. Then the medical bills start, and it's not pretty.

But dang, that Drake was a good boy....