Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
From  Issue
14 March 2002
Let The Bunnies Be Free

By Robert Cohen - [email protected]

I woke Lizzy at the first light of dawn.

"It's time to free the bunnies," I whispered.

We had planned this moment for a week, from the time our Boston Terrier had discovered three tennis-ball-sized furballs nestled under leaves in our backyard.

We had found the remnants of her mother a day earlier, victim of a neighbor's cat. Perhaps she had sacrificed herself to save her young. Nature's plan?

One by one, our dog had found and carried each squealing bunny softly in her jaws. She can never have pups of her own. That was the animal shelter's policy. Still, she carried the baby rabbits in her jaws as if she had been their birth mother. As I yelled, she dropped them and I chased, caught, and scooped each one into a plastic waste basket, and then transferred the three siblings into a large terrarium that had previously been home to two rescued guinea pig brothers.

I telephoned my favorite licensed-by-the-state animal rehabilitator, Kimber Gorall (Rochester, New York), and received good advice how to care for these tiny rabbits.

We fed them freshly picked dandelions, both leaves and yellow flowers, which were soon gobbled up. Seven days after munching a variety of plants in the darkness of our basement, they had grown to the size of softballs. It was time to release them into their new Garden of Eden.

We had just the place. When George Washington was retreating from the invading British army, he and his soldiers passed nearby our Oradell, NJ home. The street is called Soldier Hill Road, and at the intersection of Iroquois Street there is a lovely stream and a partially wooded area. Washington's army had taken sanctuary in those woods, and so too would our bunnies.

Lizzy and I walked for about ten minutes until we found the perfect spot. Newly sprouted sweet onions had pushed their way through the earth, and lilies of all sizes and colors dotted the ground. Amidst ferns, I spotted wild sassafras (bunny root-beer) and other greens that would have looked good in my own salad.

We gently turned over the waste basket, and the bunnies ran in three directions, then found each other and snuggled for a moment at the base of a tree. In another minute, they began to explore, and we left them to their new home.

We got home at 6:30 AM, and Lizzy said the three most magic and special words that always bring a smile to this dad's face:

"I'm really hungry."

"I love you too, Lizzy."

I served Lizzy and her sisters (Jennifer and Sarah) their own bunny food. That's what I've always called cut-up melons and grapes. They sat in the den and watched 15 minutes of television. I joined them.

A commercial ran. It was either Burger King or McDonalds. I forget. What I do remember is a cartoon depicting a chorus line of dancing, squawking chickens happily singing their goofy song announcing a new flame-broiled filet of their own breast meat. It was very offensive. I thought about Jews in Palestine singing about their own death by nails packed into explosives from suicide bombers. I pictured Palestinians happily singing as Israeli bullets and missiles tore into their flesh. As my mind formed these images, Sarah said:

"Dad, that is really offensive. Can you picture the victims of 9/11 on the airplane singing songs and kicking up their feet right before their planes crashed into the Twin Towers?"

Nobody laughed.

The commercial was pathetic. The bunny rescue was a blessing. All life is precious. Every creature deserves to live a life in that promised Garden of Eden. The bunnies. The cows. The pigs. The humans. Let all be free.

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