Leporidae of the Day

Now I know what you’re thinking seeing these photos, “What a strange looking dog!” But don’t be so quick to judge and jump to conclusions my fellow doofus! It’s actually a whole different species. Yes, we’re switching this it up this week.

So confession time, I don’t have a dog of my own. I do love dogs (and that’s an understatement), which may or may not have been the motivation behind me writing a column about them. But I have to say, I’ve been feeling a bit of jealousy from someone in my life recently while writing about them. He sees me, sitting on the ground with him, writing about another species. He runs across my keyboard to sabotage my piece and make me pay attention to him instead. He even once managed to close me out of everything I was doing and open a picture of me and him instead (that is a true story and I am still confused by it). Needless to say, I think it’s time we give some love the other fine creatures gracing this campus. And to start off, I’m going to give a totally not biased at all-nope-not-even-a-little-bit-description of my own, non-dog pet, Bowie the bunny.

I got Bowie in February of this year at eight weeks old. He’s a Netherland Dwarf Rabbit (aka the smallest breed of rabbit out there with a whopping range of 1 to 2 pounds). Proportionally, Netherland Dwarfs, such as Bo himself, make no sense. They have plump, round little bodies, short ears that stand straight up, stumpy little legs, and massive eyes. They look like the most adorable mistake you’ve ever seen. They’re like the corgis of rabbits. Upon meeting him, I’ve had many people react with an emotional “how is he real?” and “oh my god, no” and “he’s just a little bean” (I’ve heard the bean comment twice from two different people).

Bowie is a very sweet little man. He never bites or thumps his legs in anger. He just likes to sniff you and hop in your lap (and maybe give you a few little licks if you’re lucky). He’s constantly jumping up onto whatever he can get his paws on. He enjoys jumping up on my shelves or my laundry bag, taking naps on my blankets, and chewing on my books or pencils or anything that’s similar to the material used for rabbit toys that are not rabbit toys. He has no interest in things designed for him.

Like most animals that are not cats or dogs, people severely underestimate the intelligence of rabbits. Bowie will rifle through my belongings to try to find his bag of treats, if he gets it he will take it in his mouth, swing it off the shelf, then jump down and try to open it. He gets excited when I walk towards the fridge when it’s close to his dinnertime. He can also stand on his back two legs and go to his cage on command (especially quickly when a treat is involved).

People think I’m kidding when I say I have a trained rabbit, but he’s genuinely more intelligent than any dog I’ve ever owned. He’s a kind, adorable, and fairly sociable animal that deserves recognition as a legitimate pet that can form close bonds. Rabbits are not like a pet rock, they really do know you and love you (I mean when was the last time your pet rock nudged you or started licking your toes when it wanted attention?). Rabbits, in my experience are similar in personality to both cats and dogs. They resemble dogs in that they are fairly high energy and like to be in the presence of people. They also have cat-like qualities and aren’t necessarily down to give affection to just anyone, and like to have alone time. When it comes down to it though, rabbits are their own species with their own quirks that are unique to them. While I’m sure many, perhaps even most, Reedies are well aware of the joys of alternative pets (ex. I met a pet duck the other day, which I didn’t even know was a possibility), not everyone is informed about this. So if you’re considering getting a pet at some point, I encourage you to think about dogs and cats, but also think about rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, snakes, ducks, salamanders, what have you. There’s a wide range of lesser known/ understood/ appreciated pets out there. Many are considered less intelligent or less able to form close bonds, due to their uncommon domesticated nature. But as with reality, when it comes to pets/breeds and their reputations, my advice to you is this — question everything.

You can find sweet bun and I on the great lawn on nice, sunny, usually Sunday afternoons. I’ll let you give him a carrot and you will earn his love.