Requiem for a Flemish Giant Rabbit

by RS on January 14, 2013

This post is dedicated to all the animals who have been abandoned and abused.

 In mid-December, we discovered a big, tame  bunny on the property. We immediately guessed he was someone’s pet rabbit who had escaped his hutch. After several phone-calls to the police, the vet, and the local animal control guy, we learned that no one had called about a lost pet rabbit.

Three days after we first spotted him, the Ol’ Man caught him, and the phone-calls started again to find a rabbit rescue.

Of course, once I had a good look at this critter, I announced that I wanted him, and as the Ol’ Man’s kids have pointed out that once there’s animal in the house, he won’t put up an argument about keeping him. And they were right. Now I had a rabbit who was big as Mr. Bessie, and after some research, I learned that we had a Flemish Giant Rabbit.

My only concern was that Mr. Bessie’s hunting instinct would kick in. And so, the now named Lester Cole was housed in a borrowed crate and kept separated from the dogs in the home office.

I kept Mr. Cole company and when I took him out of the crate to explore his sanctioned area, he was wonderful to watch. He didn’t just sit and wiggle his nose. He was curious of his surroundings much like a puppy.

When you have a Jack Russell terrier, you might be lucky if he or  she accepts another dog in the home—and as you already know, this home is Mr. Bessie’s, I’m merely his minion who serves his many needs. Five days after I said I wanted to keep Mr. Cole, I realized that it would be impossible. It was becoming a stressful situation for animals and humans.

So back to making inquiries with the hope of finding a rabbit rescue. After a few emails, we were notified of a Long Island woman who breeds Flemish Giant Rabbits as pets (not for someone’s stew). After a longish conversation with the breeder, I was satisfied that Mr. Cole would go to a safe foster.

A few days after his arrival, I received an email from the breeder asking me how I felt about Mr. Cole going to Queens Zoo where they have an animal education program specifically geared for kids. I loved the idea. Mr. Cole would be with other rabbits, he would have both large indoor and outdoor runs and have the opportunity to be around adults and children who loved animals. A perfect happy ending.

Or so I thought.

Early on, after we made all the inquiries here on the Island, we pretty much determined that Mr. Cole was most likely a young rabbit who was given to a child for Easter. When he became bigger the interest in having a rabbit either waned or entirely disappeared. In other words, instead of finding him a new home, it was easier to dump him in the woods.

I learned yesterday that Mr. Cole had come down with an infection that’s common in wild animals. The doctors at the zoo treated him, he appeared to rally, but in spite of all the care that he received, Mr. Cole didn’t pull through and passed away last week.

I am saddened by the news. I had Mr. Cole for a short time, but I became attached to him. I’m also angry because none of this would have happened if he hadn’t been callously abandoned.

I won’t lie: I like animals more than people. Years ago when I was an employee at a PR agency, I told my supervisor that I couldn’t stay late because I had to go to the vet and visit my little beagle, who had been very ill. She became annoyed and said that my priorities were all wrong. I don’t like confrontation, and normally I would have kept my mouth zipped, but in this case my hackles went up. I simply said that no, my priorities were correct, and that my dog mattered more than her business.

Where’s this leading to? Essentially, I have no patience with people who think they are better than other living creatures. When you tell me that my sadness is exaggerated over “just a dog” or “just a cat” or even “just a rabbit” you’ve become persona non grata. As far as I’m concerned you are “just a human” who takes up way too much space and resources on this planet.

Yeah, those are fighting words, but there’s no defense for cruelty. Dumping Mr. Cole-especially during a holiday season that is about good will and charity—was cruel.

But karma can bite you on the ass. The person who dumped Mr. Cole might find himself in a situation where he’s ignored by his children;  cuckold and divorced; shunned by friends or colleagues because of a misdeed; or even left in a nursing home long forgotten left to rot by his family. But at the end of the day does it really matter? Because, after all, he’s “just a human.”

 Image: Flemish Giant Rabbit resting in his bed. Courtesy of BackYardChickens.com.

17 comments
CarolKean
CarolKean

When the pound found the cat Merlin roaming as a stray, he'd already been neutered. People who move often leave pets behind. Possibly Merlin's owner died, but more likely, someone dumped him. The poor cat STILL has trust issues.

CarolKean
CarolKean

"Just a human" - at one time, I'd think that was a radical notion, but the more I've seen of human trafficking, child porn, random murders, rapes and on and one, the less respect humans seem to deserve. Well, some humans. But I've always thought like the American Indians (Native American) -- if people have souls, so do animals.

lynnehinkey
lynnehinkey

Hear, hear! My sentiments exactly. Just saw a lovel meme on FB: "there's a special place in hell for people who abuse animals and small children." I really hope it's one so deep and dark that even Dante couldn't begin to fathom its horrors.

kathbmarsh
kathbmarsh

Bless your heart, Rebecca. Your priorities are Exactly right. Our NikkiCat is the son of a beautiful Russian Grey that someone abandoned. He's the latest in a string of cats that have found us in one way or another. 

rhonda kay
rhonda kay

Great post, Rebeca. I shared on FB and I hope people far and wide read what you have to say about priorities, animals, and karma.

D D Falvo
D D Falvo

I'm so sorry about Mr. Cole. I treasure my four-legged family members and wish everyone did the same. xxxs

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