Sunday, May 29, 2011

RIP Zoey the bunny

Our house so often resembles a zoo. And not just because my boys have been known to act like monkeys. The boys, like their dad, are nature lovers and animals lovers. They find a creatures. They put it in a tank and it becomes a temporary pet.

They've cared for injured birds and other animals. They've gone to the creek to bring back tadpoles so they could watch them grow. We've had grasshoppers, snakes, caterpillars, praying mantises.

Last week my 12-year-old went down the street to cut his uncle's lawn. He came back with two toads and a baby bunny. The toads are nothing new. They find dozens of them in our yard or around the neighborhood each year. These two toads were pretty big. I guess I should be glad he discovered them before the mower blades did. They were placed in a tank in the garage with some water, rocks, sticks and greenery and released the next day.

The bunny was a new one. We had a domesticated rabbit as a pet when my oldest was about 5. He was brown and my son named him Napoleon. This one was wild, but it didn't keep my son from getting attached to it and naming it. When he found it, it made no attempt to run away and there were no other rabbits nearby - a hint that it wasn't healthy and perhaps had been left by its mother while she tended to the healthier ones of the bunch.

My son set up a glass tank to make it comfortable for his new pet, which he named Zoey. He added grass and made up a little bed with towels and put in some cardboard containers that Zoey could snuggle up in if she got cold or scared. He put parsley, carrots, spinach, lettuce and cucumbers in the tank for her, but she barely nibbled. He used chicken-wire and made a little pen to put Zoey in to let her get out of the tank for some exercise. He was taking great care of her. We kept telling him that we wouldn't be able to keep a wild bunny and that she'd have to be let go eventually.

After four or five days, my husband discovered that Zoey hadn't made it. My 12-year-old sadly buried her in the back yard - adding a canopy to keep the burial site from getting wet and a fence around it to keep the dog away. A sad day for the little guy...but happy to see how he cared for Zoey during her final days and after.

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