“How’s your patient?” I ask Lori.
Our baby bunny is doing very well. Warm and dry in his pink towel in a carboard box, he gets fed twice a day with milk and baby cereal through an eyedropper. On Day 1 he looked close to dying, lying in that cold, wet grass (it’s been raining every single day here for the past two weeks). That evening he ate his first food greedily and slept. Lori left the office door open; she wasn’t sure he’d make it through the night.
The next morning, she walked into her office and he was gone. She searched frantically, then went downstairs and found him at the foot of the steps, eyeing her with great curiosity. She put him back in the box, returned downstairs to look for a bigger box, and when she came back he was gone again. This time she found him right away in the trash basket. From now on her door remains shut, especially after sundown when he’s active.
Lori’s collected various grasses, hay and clover, and on Day 3 he’s eating that, too. A fastidious researcher, Lori says that bunnies don’t develop a scent this early in their lives, which might explain why Henry shows no interest in that direction. Lori doesn’t want it to get accustomed to dogs, not healthy for a wild bunny. At this pace, she’s wondering when the baby bunny becomes a bunny and could go out into the wild again. As you can see, he’s pretty tiny.
“Let’s call him Brutus,” I suggested.
We thinks the bunny burrow was just behind the house and may have been flooded by all the water coming down from the roof and gutters.
“I can’t believe what Aussie did,” Lori tells me. “She probably found Brutus lying in the wet grass, shivering and cold. She gently took it in her mouth, walked across the yard with it, brought it into the house and laid it down on the rug near her. I looked that bunny over, felt it all over, and it didn’t have a scratch on it.”
“I’m proud of you, Aussie,” I tell Aussie. “We think you saved Brutus’s life.”
“I’ll never live this down.”
“And look, Aussie, Leeann has asked for you to stay late tomorrow because she’s training another dog and she wants you there to model good behavior.”
“Moi? A role model?”
“You may not like this, Auss, but you’re becoming a Demo Dog. A demo diva.”
“Lower your voice,” she implores. “I’m losing my reputation.”
“I don’t understand you, Aussie. You have so much softness and gentleness. That’s what I first noticed when I went with Bernie to adopt a dog at the shelter. There were four dogs there, all fine, healthy, and noisy, and there you were in the corner, quiet and watchful. And when Bernie played with you, you were as gentle as could be.”
“Don’t remind me. I’ve been doing my best to change.”
“Why, Auss? Why do you want to be bad?”
“Bad is good. Bad is exciting. Who cares about good dogs or good people? BORING! The bad ones are always the interesting ones. When the Man was in the White House I was loud, I was obnoxious, I wanted all chihuahuas to be deported, I was head of the Proud Pooches. A whole new world opened up to me! What do I have now?”
“Brutus the baby bunny.”
“You know, Aussie, I used to think like that, too. I always fell in love with bad boys.”
“Was Bernie a bad boy?”
“The worst. Except for Raskolnikov. I loved Raskolnikov.”
“Raskolnikov the Borzoi?”
“No, Raskolnikov of Crime and Punishment, who murders an old woman and steals her money. Naturally, the young woman who loves him is a saint.”
“Exactly. She prostitutes herself to feed her family and in the end follows Raskolnikov to Siberia. If only he didn’t talk so much.”
“I ain’t no saint. Saints are BORING! Except for how they die. I love how they die!”
“Who knows? Underneath that smart-alecky, obnoxious self, there may yet rest a bodhisattva. You did save Brutus, after all.”
“Should’ve ate him.”
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