Just call me Fern.
You know, Fern from Charlotte’s Web.
I grew up on a farm and loved our animals. Our family raised pigs, and over the years we had a dog, a few stubborn calves and a bunch of cats. One summer, we had 23 barn cats on our farm– all adored, named, and most tamed. I loved them. My favorite cat from my childhood was named George. He was tough.
George and his brother Fred (named for the Weasley brothers from Harry Potter) were mostly black except for their white feet and a white stripes down the middle of their faces. Fred was a little skittish around me, so naturally I favored George.
He’d follow me everywhere and always came running when I called for him.
Actually, he acted more like a dog.
Anyway, one morning he didn’t come running.
I searched all over and finally found him deep in the barn, in a pile of straw curled up in a ball. He looked rough and had NO FUR under his chin anymore– his skin had been ripped away.
I couldn’t just let him lay there and die after what we assumed was a fight with a big tomcat, so I big time babied him. Feeding him tiny pieces, helping him drink, cuddling him, etc. I don’t remember how long it took, but eventually he was regular old George with no skin on his chin. He looked weird, but he lived.
A few weeks ago, Sunny (our dog) “did away” with a mother rabbit and two of her babies. The last baby hopped out of our fence, but then it just
into our yard. Into Sunny zone. Into no bunny’s land. It was the saddest animal interaction I’ve had since George’s incident. Did Peter keep coming back to search for his family?
Yes, I named him.
Did he think he had nowhere else to go? Had he ever known another home? What were we going to do with this little bunny? We couldn’t just let him die!
We caught Sunny trying to hassle our bunny friend and removed him from the yard four times. Even B (our daughter) helped us guide him out of the yard. After I moved him the fourth time, he hopped to me and crawled up into my hand.
I started thinking about just keeping him. I googled “How to tell how old a baby bunny is.” I thought about where we would put his cage. I wondered if maybe someday he and Sunny would be besties. “How could I get her to fight her instincts and be nice to him?”
I wondered how I should tell Kyle, “Hey, let’s just keep the little guy (or girl.)”
I snapped out of it and stroked his cute little white striped face.
As I placed him underneath our outside-of-the-fence pine tree, I said, “For your own good, stay out of the yard. Sunny is going to kill you! Please, go find a nice place to live. What if no one is able to save you next time?”
Peter the Baby Rabbit hasn’t been seen since.
Aware of what probably happened to the little guy, B and I imagined he grew tired of running for his life and now lives a comfortable life in a flowery, grassy meadow.