Rabbit Ownership

 At the risk of sounding insensitive, I admit that I do not understand rabbit ownership.

Why would we suppose that housing any small animal in a cage for the duration of its life would be a beneficial arrangement for said animal? And what are the return benefits to this caged confinement called pet-ownership? Looking at it? Petting it on occasion?
Like I said, I do not understand.

Perhaps I am simply being unpleasant. That my neighbor’s rabbit, caged a few feet from my bedroom window, wakes me up every night and morning is quite possibly clouding my judgment.
After all, I owned a rabbit myself as a child. It used to hop all around my room, leaving little back pellets, and to my father’s disdain, chewing holes in the corners of my bright pink carpet. Then one day, my bunny escaped from the second-story balcony where I often left him/her (?) to roam whilst I was away. (Even as a child I understand the cruelty in keeping an animal caged around the clock.) Wait a minute, I’m having an epiphany… I’m realizing that my father just might have had something to do with this miraculous bunny escape. He was known to “free” an inconvenient pet or two during my childhood.

I should call my father. Or maybe I shouldn’t; he would be too much of an ally.
Around 4 AM, when my neighbor’s floppy-eared critter starts moving things around in its cage and, from what it sounds like, running on some kind of squeaky wheel, all manner of plans goes through my mind. Who knew a rabbit could be so loud?

Mostly, I decide I’m finally going to go knock on my unfriendly neighbors’ door to tell them (again) that yes, whoever decided it was okay to build houses as close together as ours should be shot in the toe, but perhaps their backyard would be a more appropriate place to house their critter.

And when I’m more tired and less charitable, I imagine quietly creeping outside in the dark of the night and loosening the cage door. Run free, little one! You were never meant to live out your life in a cage anyway.

(I am a bit of my father’s daughter, aren’t I?)

Well, I don’t follow through with either plan. I just quietly stew over the pointlessness of owning a rabbit, every morning, around 4 AM.

And so yes, I have decided that ownership of non-domesticated pets is selfish – not even because it is inconsiderate of your neighbors but because it is inconsiderate of the pet itself. If you have a goat in your pasture or a chicken in your coop, I commend you. If you rescue dogs or cats from shelters, here again, I applaud you. (If you keep a fish in a tank, I think nothing more of you than to marvel at your dedication to keeping the bowl, aquarium or tank clean.) But if you have a small animal caged for your pleasure, I wonder, do you love animals so much that you can’t help but own one? Or is it that you care so little for the animal that you own it – valuing your access to it over the quality of its existence?

Well, whatever. Catch you very early tomorrow, little rabbit. (No pun intended, I promise.)

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