mopsy, flopsy, and pete

May 13, 2006

Yes folks there is in fact a real live Bunny Lady. And I happen to know where she lives, a mere 45-minute drive from me. She has an official “Bunny Lady” business card. And she lives in a fairy tale sort of tucked-away house on a winding road on the mountain. Her yard is brimming with rabbit habitats and small animal statues, and the sign on her door proclaims it to be a Rabbit-Safe Zone.
It all began when 2 high school boys surreptitiously snuck through the halls carrying a large white bucket—not the normal sight in our suburban private school. As the past the lounge, one of the teachers summoned them back, where we discovered them to be carting around a tiny baby huddled in, and dwarfed by, the large bucket. They explained that they had been instructed by their drama teacher to bring the bucket from her car to her desk. [They had missed, however, her instructions to sneak it in through the back door].
Peering down at the little thing, June loudly proclaimed it doomed and then walked back to her lunch. I interrupted myself in the middle of cuteness-gushing, interfering with her attempt to return to her soup and salad—
What do you mean?!? How do you know?
“Oh, we tried dropper-feeding one once. They just don’t last more than a day. And now that he’s been handled, and Mom’s long gone . . . he’s as good as dead.”
At that point I knew this little bunny’s life was my mission.
First step was tracking down the teacher he “belonged” to. She first looked up and said, “Oh no, you’re mad at me too, aren’t you?” Once I had assured her I was not, I got permission to take it off her hands if I wanted to try raising it. She had brought it in to show her students and intended to release it back into her yard later that evening [her husband had almost mowed over it the previous night, so they had just decided to bring it inside for the night, for lack of any other ideas].
Permission gained, my next step was to call the Wildlife Center. There I was redirected to a Lost Animal Center somewhere in the tri-state region [a long distance number]. They immediately referred me back to my own area, informing me that the Regional Rabbit Expert lived in my own town. She, they assured me, would know what to do.
A phone call to this lady informed me that the little one was too young to survive on its own [less than 4 inches, ears not yet upright, rounded tips, not pointed]. She was amazed that it was still alive, explaining that little ones are so prone to stress that they tend to die of heart attacks if taken out of their habitat. And she then advised me to bring it to her immediately.
I did. I quickly grabbed my car keys, made sure I had the hour and a half necessary for the trip before my next group of students in the library, and stuck a “Out to deliver a bunny” note on my desk. A mere 45 minutes and 1 wrong turn later, I was in Bunny Land itself. She welcomed me in and quickly ushered me to the weighing station. “I thought so . . .” she quietly proclaimed as she wrote down his vital stats in her notebook. “11 or 12 days old. Probably been separated from his family for 2 days already—see how scrawny he is for his length?” I nodded knowingly, unable to think of any intelligent response. “Well hello little one,” she cooed as she cupped him in her palm and held his face up to her own. “My other babies already had their lunch, so you’ll get a late one. I think you’ll get along just fine with the other youngsters.”
I agree. I left there happily contemplating the future of the little guy. Soon I was back in my normal workplace, surrounded by my usual “youngsters,” but left lighthearted over the whole experience.

So hey, be kind to your cotton-tailed friends: the life you save may be . . . Peter Rabbit’s?

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