Before moving from Massachusetts to Minnesota my family and I decided we would adopt a bunny for our new home. Sam, my twelve-year-old son had done some research on the types of rabbits we might want to get once we settled in. I’m not a big pet person to begin with, but a rabbit seemed like less maintenance and effort than a dog, so I went along with it. Val, my wife, on the other hand, is allergic to cats and also did not want a pet that could conceivable jump up onto our kitchen table. So, a rabbit it was, perhaps even two.
It took a while to find our bunny, though. One Saturday, while I worked on voicing a lengthy pharmaceutical eLearning training module, Val took the kids to the closest Animal Humane Society. The bunnies they met were skittish and unfriendly. Emily, our six-year-old, attempted to change the scope of the mission to getting a dog, even though she generally doesn’t like it when dogs come near her.
As other bunnies came on the Animal Humane Society website, we continued to make the twenty-minute trek. One bunny we met spent the whole visit under a chair, which I totally get. We were strange, large, and loud people (at least Emily and me) in a small, enclosed room. It seemed we were never going to find the right bunny.
Then we found a bunny that I’ll call “Bun-bun.” She was friendlier and less skittish than the others and seemed to want to engage with us. Her ears that stuck straight up. At close to six pounds, she was also large. From the time we met her, until the time we took her home the next day, we had to get ready to have a bunny. This meant getting a cage, food dish, litter box, water dish, chew toys, bedding, timothy hay, rabbit pellets, vitamin c tabs, baby gates and learning as much as we could about care and feeding of a rabbit.
Armed with all of our stuff, we brought “Bun-bun” home. She was scared on the drive because she was in a box with holes. Once she was set up, we let “Bun-bun” wander out of her cage and around our living room/ dining room. Right away she started pooping and peeing everywhere. Rabbit poop is not as disgusting as dog poop – it’s like malleable marbles - but nothing can prepare you for the sheer volume of poop a bunny produces. Every ten minutes there would be 20-30 more “marbles.” Since we let her wander, “Bun-bun” found a way to get a mixture of poop, pee and hay onto her hind legs and stain our carpet. She would also try to chew on electrical cords and could also be found going after wood furniture. And one time she got brave enough to try the stairs, where Emily found her in the guest room. That was the end of her free wandering. It was like having an infant all over again.
After a few days, “Bun-bun” started pooping and peeing more or less where we wanted her to with some exceptions – like peeing and pooping in her hay. The slurry of rabbit pee, rabbit poop and hay make for a rather unpleasant smelling soup.
Despite the “rabbit excrement stew” we spent some time getting to know “Bun-bun.” The kids enjoyed feeding her romaine lettuce and small servings of apple. They liked it when she nuzzled against them, and especially when she was “in the flop” – meaning she was laid out on her side. Being “in the flop” was a sign of her comfort with us.
But…there turned out to be a big problem with “Bun-bun”…or with the hay we had to feed her. I turned out to be allergic. After a few days with “Bun-bun” in the house, I would wake up every morning with a full-on allergy attack. It got to the point where my throat would constrict and I would sound hoarse all day. This is not the optimal condition for a working voice actor. All my recordings were a struggle because I did not have my full vocal range available. Plus, I felt and sounded hoarse ,and I noticed a difference in my delivery and my stamina in the booth.
For the kids’ sake I was prepared to tough it out with “Bun-bun” but it was clear, though, that “Bun-bun” was affecting my livelihood and would be better off with another family. So we made an appointment to bring her back to the Animal Humane Society after no one to adopt her.
Emily made the decision to come with me to bring “Bun-bun” back. The night before and the day of, Emily spent extra time with “Bun-bun” telling her it would be alright. At the Aniumal Humane Society, Emily did most of the talking, explaining that “Bun-bun” liked her the best and that I am allergic. Almost on cue, I started a sneezing nonstop as “Bun-bun” hopped around the room.
That night “Bun-bun” went up on the Animal Humane Society website. The next day she was off the website – a sign that someone else was going to give her a home. Thankfully it happened quickly. Hopefully she went to a good family with people who can breathe with her in the house, where she has a rabbit friend, and where she has the receives the same kindness my children showed her in the short time she was with us.