Sunday, September 5, 2010
A precious life. Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010.
“Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it.” – Mother Teresa
A month or so after my attempt, I was in the office when I heard my husband out on the patio saying, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.”
I went through the patio door and found him bent over the bushes behind the house, looking terribly concerned. I followed his gaze, and there she was – the tiniest bunny I had ever seen.
She was all alone, and far from anywhere where there may have been a nest. It was obvious she had been abandoned, or had at least gotten lost. She was frozen in place, her heart beating so fast I could see it through her brown fur. She was about the length of my finger.
“I don’t know what to do,” repeated my husband. “I don’t want to leave her here. There are birds of prey all over.”
Instantly I was in love with her (and I don’t know why I call it “her” – she just seemed female to me). She had tiny ears and giant black eyes. There was a tiny star-shaped white spot on her back. She was the very picture of vulnerability, and I wanted to save her.
“Do we have any milk?” I asked our son. He checked and said we did. We don’t own an eye-dropper, so I asked him to pour me a small saucer full. I tried to give her a drop on my finger, but she wouldn’t take it.
“What about lettuce?” I asked. “No, but we have strawberries. Want one?” “Sure, bring one down.”
I put the strawberry in front of her, to see what her reaction would be. She nibbled on the greens – that was good news. After she nibbled a couple of them, I pulled the rest off and placed them in front of her, but she wasn’t interested in more.
My husband brought me a soft towel, and I picked the bunny up and put her on my lap. She tried to walk a bit, but she seemed either injured or very weak. It was getting windy out, but bringing her inside was out of the question – we had two cats, and even if we locked the cats up, the smell of the cats would probably terrify this little bunny.
I asked my son to check online to find out if there were any organizations or services that would take an abandoned bunny. He checked local shelters and animal rescues, and in each case the answer was no. Two of the sites also included warnings that infant rabbits almost never survive human captivity, no matter how well intentioned.
So I sat outdoors with this little bunny in my lap for hours. I stroked her tiny back and memorized her markings. I talked gently to her. At that time, her life seemed more precious to me than my own. I did not want her to die. I desperately wanted her to live a bunny rabbit life, stealing carrots out of our garden and hopping through our flowers.
When it grew dark, I put her back under the bush and came inside. The next morning I checked first thing, and she was gone.
Months later my husband was looking out into the back yard, and called out, “Look who’s back to visit you!” There was a brown bunny hopping around beside our garden. “It’s the baby!” I said, and my husband agreed, “I’m sure it is.”
Of course, we both know that most likely, our sickly baby bunny had met an untimely end in the claws of a bird or the paws of a feral cat. But I let myself believe that our visitor was THE baby bunny. Because her little life was precious to me.