If you are lucky enough have a rabbit in your home, you’re probably nodding in agreement and scanning the room for a glimpse of what your friend is up to at this moment.
For the bunnyless, you might be wondering how such a small, silent animal can possibly lift the weight of human anxiety. Or you may be thinking that rabbit comfort is a prescription best suited to teenage girls with Hello Kitty bags. Well, think again.
Unlike dogs, rabbits aren’t typically bold, adventurous explorers. After all, their world is full of hazards and other creatures who would just as soon eat them as look at them. Still, for their size and strength, they are intrepid wanderers. Bunnies don’t make a clatter of their presence in your life. Yet, they make themselves noticed when they want to – often just by sitting, alertly, in the center of a room. Usually around “supper time.”
You don’t hear about house rabbits performing heart-stoppingly courageous acts of heroism like pet dogs sometimes do. Although, Google it and you’ll find multiple videos of wild rabbits fighting snakes. The snake thing not withstanding, the concept of rabbits as a refuge in a storm is a hard sell. Yet sell it I will.
Relationships with rabbits require a subtler approach, because their communications aren’t as well adapted to human perception as dogs’ are. They require a higher dose of empathy: as predators, we need to imagine how it feels to be prey.
Rabbit comfort comes in small but meaningful gestures – a soft nose nudging your ankle, in passing, or resting on your toes for pets.
Whiskers emerging, comically and unexpectedly, from gaps in furniture.
Looking down to discover a companion has silently taken up residence under your desk.
The realization that a fragile, incredibly vulnerable creature has completely relaxed in the bubble of safety you have provided.
For a while now —just for fun — I have been trying to train Finnegan to “play basketball”. Honestly, this is a challenge for my fairly green training skills, so it’s going pretty slowly. I’ll spare you the details, and I won’t show you my technique because I’m sure it could use improvement.
However, one thing is going very well: Finnegan is having a blast! If you are skeptical that bunnies can feel or express emotions, just take a look at this outtakes reel from before and after “basketball practice”.
The Fluffy Tail of This Blog Post
In this fraught election week, take time to find comfort and delight where you know it lies for you. Here’s hoping that next week we’ll all be feeling better!