Not quite sure how this happened, but we now have three pets. This was a house whose sum total of critters, over 27 years and five children, was: two hamsters, one turtle and a couple of one-week wonders, school fair goldfish. No dogs (nothing to walk) no birds (nothing to hear squawk), no cats (I prefer not to feed a furry snob). The older four had no problem with this animal-unfriendly policy, but Julie lobbied for a pet of her very own. She was responsible for Puffles and Truffles, the hamsters. I must say that Truffles was quite the little acrobat and fairly entertaining—well, if your idea of entertainment is staring into a rodent’s cage. In due course, the pair went up to that big exercise wheel in the sky.
Eventually, Julie fell in love with a rabbit. Stoli came to us from a bunny rescue organization. He was white, chubby, and even I had to admit he was a cutie. As we already had a beta fish, Bette (get it?), Julie was now adequately set with livestock.
Apparently Julie had other ideas. We were at the shore, and Julie had gone home with Dad for the weekend, leaving me on Stoli duty. I was so afraid that he’d escape his pen and go darting off (he’s fast as lightning) that I would lean in and just toss the hay in his general direction. Anyway, Jules came back with a surprise for Stoli—and me!—another rabbit. Oh, joy! This one looked like a scruffy little terrier, not like a rabbit at all. Her name was Stevie McQueen.
I was not exactly thrilled with my surprise, and at first, neither was Stoli. Rabbits are very social, and Julie had been feeling that Stols needed a bunny companion. She hoped they would bond instantly. Au contraire. When she put them together, one literally attacked the other—and the attacker was the pipsqueak, Stevie. Stoli would quickly hop away, and Stevie would follow, leading to another tussle.
Every day Julie tried to make it work, but her fantasy of two happy campers remained a fantasy. So, as we headed into the fall it was still separate quarters—two pens, two water bowls, two sets of toys. I was annoyed because they took up twice the space I was anticipating.
Until suddenly everything changed.
One morning Stevie was out and romping around. Next thing we knew, she had hopped the fence, as it were, and was right in there with Stoli. We held our breath, waiting for the next cage match. But instead—they nuzzled. They cavorted together. They shared a toy. Bonded at last. On their own terms. In their own time.
And it’s been hearts and flowers ever since. I hasten to add, theirs is neutered love. But it is love. And I guess I’m a sucker for romance, so it’s all good with the bunns.
However, Bette is on her own finding a soulmate. Gotta draw the line somewhere.