I have a bunny in my bedroom. She is very sweet, well-behaved, paper-trained, and loves to play. She runs circles around me when I come to see her then climbs on my back to sniff my hair (I think she likes my shampoo) or climbs onto my lap so I can pet her. She loves to rub noses and when I make kissing noises she makes soft kissing noises in return.
Layla Lou has had a rough life. Our neighbors pointed her out to my husband one hot afternoon. They said she'd been underneath our trailer on the side of our house for four days and they were concerned she didn't have much longer to live. I crawled beneath the trailer to take a look. She was covered in mites, her ribs were showing, and she was clearly dehydrated.
I gave her some water and spinach, slowly. When she began to perk up, I gave her an oatmeal bath and sprayed her down with a bug spray from the local pet store. The bugs immediately disappeared. Next, I realized the more pressing problem--there is no home for homeless rabbits in my area, and until I could find her owner, I had to find a place to keep her. With four dogs and a cat in our three bedroom house, this would not be easy. I made her a bed in one of the pet carriers and set it up in the guest bedroom, but she doesn't like it. She prefers to sleep on the bed. I also placed newspapers in the corner and discovered she is house trained--carefully house trained. She has never once had an "accident" off the newspapers in the corner.
Layla Lou has now been with us two months. No one has answered my many advertisements and postings for a lost rabbit, but deep inside, I knew they wouldn't. I knew when I saw her that she was an abandoned Easter rabbit--parents buy bunnies and chicks for their children for Easter, realize it takes work to care for them, and they abandon them, assuming the animals will be capable of caring for themselves in the wild.
There is a night and day difference between wild and domestic animals, and in this situation, a night-mare. Little Layla Lou was released in a city that has an ordinance against lawns due to repeated droughts. Every house is rockscaped, and it only rains once a year during the Southwest Monsoons. I suspect that if we hadn't found her beneath the trailer, she would have been dead within a few days, either from starvation and dehydration, or one of the packs of coyotes that I listen to each night as they roam our city streets.
We will be moving back to Colorado soon, and when we do, little Layla Lou will have a home of her own--I am working on building one now with scraps of wood, but it is challenging because rabbits chew wood to keep their teeth sharpened. In fact, I buy little packs of wood sticks for her to chew on. These are her toys. If I try to pick one up she makes a growling noise and charges toward me as if she is trying to protect her toy, then I pet her nose and she closes her eyes as if to say, "just kidding. I still love you."
When we come into the room, Layla Lou runs circles around our feet. I sit on the bed and she climbs up my back with her front paws--she likes to sniff my hair--then climbs onto my lap so I can pet her. I lay my palm flat across her nose and slowly move it over her face and ears as she falls asleep. I do this three or four times a day--she's a bit spoiled.
Oddly enough, Chewy the chihuahua and Layla Lou have decided they like each other. Chewy snuck into the room once when I had my hands full of Layla's water and food dish. Chewy sits beside me while I pet Layla Lou. Sometimes they sniff each other's noses. Sometimes Layla runs around the room and Chewy runs from one side of the bed to the other, not chasing her, just watching her run. He does not bark or growl, he just watches. Maybe some day they will learn how to play with each other, but until that time I still keep my fingers wrapped in his collar when they are close together--just in case. I don't know that it's really necessary. Layla Lou is fully recovered now. She is fat and sassy, bold and assertive.
This is a bit of a surprise to me because rabbits are prey to all creatures. They cannot defend themselves in any way. Their mouths are beneath their head and very small. Their claws are small. The bulk of their body is completely vulnerable and exposed. It is as if God made them to keep other animals alive. I believe this is why God has brought this rabbit to me. I am disabled. I, too, am vulnerable, exposed, and find it difficult to protect myself. I believe God brought Layla Lou into my life for a reason, to remind me that I must be cautious, protective, and yet bold and assertive. Layla reminds me that even when the situation seems dire, and it seems as if I can't possibly go on, there is always hope. There will always be someone willing to slide a bowl of water beneath the trailer as I shiver in fear, someone to offer me food, shelter, safety, and love, enough to get me by until I am strong again.