Francine, Alexander and I were delighted to get the opportunity to bunny-sit this past weekend.
We were actually quite delighted. It had been about four years since our home was filled with the sounds, noises and delights that a bunny can bring to it.
Our bunny, Mister Bunny, had lived for 11 years -- as I understand it, a bit longer than most dwarf rabbits live. For most of those years, he was a very animated and lively bunny, continually exploratory in nature and full of an endless energy. Even in his final few years, though he was a "senior" he was active and playful, never quite losing that "childish" nature that made him so much fun.
Though Alexander was just under 2 when Mister Bunny passed away, the two of them did have a lot of fun together. (Mister Bunny even consented to appear in various episodes of my HNT Darth Tater series of blog posts that started with the following "trilogy": Darth Tater Unmasked, Carb-Eater Strikes Back and Return of the Spud-Eye. Even after he had died, he appeared in a later episode of the goofy series that wouldn't end, The Final Standoff. Okay, he didn't consent to appear in this series, but he didn't protest it, either)
So, when we agreed to take Earl in for the weekend, we were delighted. And, admittedly, a bit worried about what kind of havoc a 1 year old rabbit might cause in our home.
While Earl is adorable and cute and loves to have his nose petted in the same way that Mister Bunny did, he wasn't quite the little bundle of energy we were expecting.
He stayed in his home pretty much the whole weekend, regardless of the continual efforts we made (both bold and subtle) to encourage him to come out of his cage and explore.
On Thursday evening, when he first arrived, we thought that perhaps he was just a little bit nervous being in a new environment and that it might take a day or so to get used to the new people, smells, sights and sounds.
But that never happened.
When I tried to gently lift him out of his cage and put him on a carpet in front of his cage as a way of encouraging him to explore and run around, he immediately hopped right back inside. And though we left the door on his cage open pretty much the whole time we were around, or had the top of the cage completely off for hours at a stretch, he did nothing more than stick his little head out to sniff around.
Even yesterday when I was cleaning out his cage and litter box and required removing him from his house, he struggled to get back inside, and I had to physically block him from re-entering.
And the second I was finished cleaning his house, and removed barrier to his access, he hopped right back inside.
It was quite a startling change from the animated and restless energy Mister Bunny showed.
Yes, Earl is a beautiful little rabbit. But the main difference between having him stay here and having, say, oh, a goldfish sitting in a bowl in the corner, is that you can't pet a goldfish.