Bunny – the little black and white harlequin rabbit, with his twitchy nose and funny way of preening that made him look like a lazy ballerina – was the first mammal I ever had as a pet, and he died last night. His fur was still silky and soft.
We got him the first winter we were in New Mexico, and when he wasn’t at school in the 3rd grade classroom, he lived in our tiny kitchen next to the table and under the window.
Until him, I never really knew that rabbits had personality, but he did. He loved to be pet in the crook of the neck, and when you stroked his cheek or his ears, his eyes would shut lazily and get dreamy and sleepy in their haze of comfort. He had a temper, and if you were late getting his dinner or hadn’t cleaned his cage in awhile, he would let you know by pounding the floor with the most raucous thumps, thumps so loud they could wake you from a dead sleep into a crazed panic, thinking in your grog that someone was trying to break the door down.
The students picked his name, Baby Angel, because they thought he was a girl. We all did, until the day I took him to get spayed and the vet said, “The surgery went well, only we didn’t spay him – he’s been neutered.”
Then he was Baby Angelo – or sometimes “Anhelllllllllllllll!” when he was chewing on our jeans or shoelaces – but I always called him Bunnicula until that gave way to simply Bunny.
Bunny, I will miss you. I’m sorry you’re gone. I hope in rabbit heaven there are loads of dried cherries and cranberries. You loved those, and would eat them from our fingers.