We bought a pet rabbit some time ago. I really want a dog, but I guess that’ll never happen. Oh, the dog itself isn’t a problem. It’s the kind of dog that’s the problem. You see, I’m a sucker for pugs. I think they’re tuff. Yes, tuff. It’s the kind of dog I could never say ‘no’ to. Right, right. Gotta be ‘strict and consistant’. I know the drill. Just not with a pug. ‘Cause they’re tuff.
Nadia wants a labrador. Boring. You’ll hear from anyone that they’re family friendly, obedient, easy to train. Playful, even. In a sense, that’s everything I’m not. I just want a dog that lies next to me on the couch and when we exchange glances, we know it’s cool. Just that. It’s cool. No words or barks needed. When Nadia yells at me that it needs a walk and I look in its direction, I should be able to read its eyes. When they say ‘Nah, dude, let’s chill a bit more. This couch is so damn comfy, let that woman nag’, then I’m cool. That’s the kind of dog I want. Mutual understanding. Among men. No words. A dog that gets me.
A few days after we bought the rabbit, John came over. He was visibly puzzled by our choice of pet, seeing that Nadia and me used to argue about dogs pretty much all the time. Now that Pewter – shit – ‘Peter’ is away from home for most of the semester, a intelligent life form as an extension to our family was the next logical step towards the second part of our lives as a married couple.
Anyway, John was puzzled.
“A rabbit? No dog?”
“Yes. And no.”
“That’s something else… Does it understand you, as a dog would?”
“I don’t know. I hope so.”
He knelt next to its cage and peered at the fluffy ball of hair inside. He squinted. “It looks pretty smart.”
“It does, doesn’t it? Not sure, though. I think it’s still getting used to his new home.”
“Moose,” I said with a sad little sigh. “Y’know, ’cause he’s tuff.”
John nodded and mumbled something like ‘Good name, good name’. He straightened himself and scratched his arm. “So… you’re gonna train him, right? To do tricks and stuff? Fetch things, maybe? How will you start?”
I opened up the cage to let Moose scout out his new home freely and shrugged. “Not sure. I think I’ll go with the flow. Let him discover what he’s capable of and pick it up from there. Draw water from the source, so to speak.”
Moose had found the small obstacle course I built him and curiously started sniffing every part of it. We decided to wait and observe, and placed ourselves on the couch to do just that. Cookie teared up.
“You okay, John?”
“Yeah. Why do you ask?”
“The clever little rabbit get you right in the feels?”
“A bit, I admit.” He took a hankie out of his back pocket and dried his eyes, then put it back and scratched his arm. “There’s just something about having a pet…” He shrugged. “I guess it’ll come to me in time.”
Meanwhile, Moose had completely fallen in love with his little obstacle course and was scaling everything that it had to offer, happily jumping around it, running across it, crawling underneath it. After a good five minutes of pure joy, he decided it was time to kick back, relax and jump on Cookie’s lap to lay down for a quick nap.
Cookie, visibly moved by this token of trust and affection the little rabbit was showing him, couldn’t help but smile and while gently stroking the fluffy little animal. Tears started rolling down his cheeks again. He whipped out his hankie and started drying them. Slowly at first, but after a few seconds, the niagara falls were flowing down his cheeks and there seemed to be no stopping it. He threw away the hankie, swiftly handed me the sleeping Moose – who was, to put it mildly, more than a little confused to be lifted up quite suddenly and being so rudely disposed of – and wildly started scratching his arms, chest, legs and face. He screamed uncontrollably as if possessed by a demon, scratched like a madman and ran into the kitchen. I heard Nadia screaming at the sight of him, probably startled because of his swollen, red appearance. The only eligible words I could distinguish in between the scratching were ‘…baking soda, for fuck’s sake!‘
I was still on the couch, only barely being able to make sense of what I had just witnessed. During all the ruckus, Moose had somehow managed to crawl onto my lap. Still confused, I looked at my fluffy companion. He met my bewildered glance, raised one ear in response and sniffed the air in front of him a couple of times. He then turned around, rolled himself into a comfortable position between my legs and fell asleep.
As I watched the play unfold before my eyes, where Cookie’s funny dance in order to reach the most itchy spots on his body resulted in more awkward screaming while Nadia practically showered him with baking soda, I realised that my jaw had literally dropped down and quickly closed my mouth. I contently looked down at the rabbit, who was sleeping on my lap like a newborn baby, and picked up a dropping. I turned it around and eyeballed it intensely for a few seconds, squeezed it, then casually threw the firm little piece of excrement over my shoulder and smiled.