This is Helen the rabbit. She lived in a cage for a few days after she came home. She came from a backyard breeder that had just one pair of rabbits, and two young bunnies. Still, Helen and Bonnie Bunny lived in a small hutch in a dark little shed.Helen and her sister Bonnie came to live with Wiley Wabbit, an elderly widower rabbit. They are mini-rex rabbits.Check out Helen’s cute tummy!They all lived together and got to play in the back yard every day.After a while, though, Helen’s sister Bonnie decided she wanted Wiley all to herself. She drove off poor Helen.That was fine with Helen because she became the Princess of the Kitchen.Helen had no cage, just a corner of the kitchen. Because she wanted to live in China, she would try to dig there through the bottom of her litter box, tossing the contents willy-nilly. This is her second litter box, with a higher back.Same corner, new COVERED, and final, litter box. It didn’t stop the digging, just the mess. Her clean boxes contained a layer of timothy hay over CareFresh. We won’t talk about her soiled litter box.This is how Helen told her slave to “Clean My Litter Box!” It only happened once.No door on this girl’s crib!For some reason, Helen never ate these chairs. Maybe I just never looked that closely.Usually, she was a good little bunny, and even a stray raisin like this was unusual.She was such a good bunny that she became an interior decorator.She even decorated in Dobby’s area when he was out for the evening.But generally she was a good little bunny, only eating her own furniture and the adjacent walls.She also liked to rearrange her furniture. And eat my tasty cookbooks: note the barricade.She particularly liked this condo. I stuck it in there temporarily and she was in there almost immediately.A picture of innocence.In pole position while I am cooking. Lots of lettuce and parsley flying around this kitchen. Banana boxes are a big favorite around here. You can put several together to make a compartmented tunnel. Even just one seems to be rabbit-sized.Helen’s favorite part of the day was Clean Up, after Dobby went to bed.His strewn timothy hay, guinea pig pellets, and stray corn kernels were the highlight of her day!She would take up residence as soon as the door was opened to his area.She would glean the leftover food and bunch up the dirty rugs. We barricaded off the back area or she would go under the shelves and never come out.She was never allowed near Dobby’s precious White Rabbit Rug, which was promptly removed.Hanging out in Dobby’s area was the best part of every evening. Before she was spayed, she left calling cards and rude little puddles, but that behavior stopped immediately after she was fixed. (I wish I could say the same for Dobby…)The days were lazy.Other than the abuse.The constant abuse.Real dress-up was okay though. These are CareFresh earrings!Here’s that condo again. Wait, who is that on the other side of that wall?Dobby! Dobby never accepted the fact that Helen was allowed on “the greener side” of the kitchen wall.Dobby was really annoyed when she was allowed outside to play in his special pasture.Then one day she just became very, very quiet. Less than 2 years old and she had suffered a stroke. Nothing to be done, no one to blame.I brought her home from the vet and she continued to deflate, like a balloon with a slow leak. And then she was gone. She left an empty corner in the kitchen, and another in my heart. Even Dobby mourned.I’ve had many rabbits, indoors, outdoors, baby bunnies, gift bunnies, cast-off pets, abandoned 4H bunnies, $2 bunnies bought at bird auctions because nobody else was interested, wild bunnies, and ridiculously domestic ones. Back in 1970 I had a house rabbit I had to toss out of my bathroom sink to wash my hands. But I never before had one that created such a ruckus in so short a time. You just never know, do you?
[Originally published February 18, 2013]