Having a bunny and having chlamydia rank on the same appeal level. Neither bunnies nor chlamydia are very nice, fun to be around, or playful. In the list of pointless pets, hamsters rank higher than bunnies. At least you can put them in a rolly ball and watch them bounce down the stairs. I know this because my drunk uncle bought me a hamster for my birthday when I was six without previously consulting my parents.
When the oldest daughter I look after said she wanted a bunny for her seventh birthday, I told her dogs and cats are far superior. When tears wailed into her eyes, I modified with, "How exciting! What are you going to name it?"
This was about as creative as naming a yellow labrador Nala. Which my brother, sister, and I did. We had a yellow lab named Nala for over a decade.
She got a bunny for her seventh birthday. Thumper's two-story mansion squats near one of the walls of my pool house. When clouds and rain pattern the sky, the bunny gnaws on the six hundred dollar wood of his caged villa and then wakes me up when he assails the doors by launching his mini lop body against the wire.
Last week, the skies streamed and the wind belly-laughed. I awoke seventeen times to Thumper castrating himself against his cage.
The next morning, when the seven-year-old approached Thumper's cage with carrots, broccoli, and parsley cut into bite-sized bunny pieces by the mom, the bunny was gone. She cried. Not because her bunny had escaped, but because she was afraid her mom would rage about her lack of responsibility. When her mom assured her it wasn't her fault and then exited the room with tears skirting her eyes, the seven-year-old pointer-finger-motioned me to her small child eye level.
"I don't like Thumper," she breathed.
Through the door, I could hear the mom exhaling sorrow. The seven-year-old had harassed her parents for two and a half years for a bunny. After flaming debates and discussions, they concluded that, if their daughter's life depended on it, they would surrender. Their daughter had vowed life-ending misery if she didn't get a bunny.
"He doesn't do anything. He's boring," the seven-year-old persisted.
"Well, obviously. Bunnies attack you with their claws and hop around. You should've asked for a hamburger for your birthday," I replied. This didn't help.
After the seven-year-old went to school, the mom and I deliberated.
"It's just so very sad," the mom said. "We're never going to see him again."
"When I went to college, my mom called me a week later to tell me that the cat I had had since I was five had been torn apart by coyotes," I responded. "The thing is, she doesn't know that. She just knows that the cat disappeared."
This didn't help.
I wanted to tell the mom that we should crack open a bottle of wine and celebrate Satan's disappearance. Instead, I decorated a piece of paper with "Lost: Much-Loved Mini Lop Bunny, Grey White Black."
A mob of shouting twelve-year-old boys returned the bunny with conflicting stories of dogs and bears. Bears do not exist in New Zealand.
Three days later, Thumper bolted again. We found him again. Today, I have bunny scratches embroidering my hands.