Some bunny's taken control of household


POSTED: Thursday, March 12, 2009

Once upon a time, I was queen of my universe. Mistress of all I surveyed. My apartment was my sanctuary. I lived my life beholden to no one, and I liked it. Then one day, my co-worker convinced me that a bunny named Blackberry would be a wonderful addition to my household. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, that is when my life changed ... forever.

I did not grow up with pets, so I am awkward around animals. I am unsure when it is appropriate to pet them or pick them up—much less how to pick them up without being bitten, scratched or gouged.

Now, most people think bunnies are furry and adorable. They are. In addition, I discovered they are also continuously pooping, ever digging and always chewing. Frankly, bunnies are more like Bugs Bunny—sly, naughty and up to no good.

Even in my naivete, I knew it was important to set the tone early. I am the owner. I am in charge. One way bunnies “;mark”; their territory is by rubbing their chins on things. Apparently, there is a gland there that leaves a scent, declaring: “;My Property!”; Thus, it made sense to establish my dominance by rubbing my glandless chin on him, look deeply into his eyes and authoritatively declare, “;I am the alpha bunny!”;

This has made as much difference as a raindrop in the ocean, which is to say, none. Blackberry still has the run of the apartment, and if I do not pay close attention, he will chew electrical cords down to the copper wire or hop onto my dining room table and eat or knock down whatever's there.

Or, he will dig up my carpet and chew his way through my couch. When I use the preposition “;through”; I mean it literally. Blackberry can run in one end of my couch and out the other due to his toothy biting and incomparable scratching.

All this being said, I love the little guy. Although it's very disheartening that when he deigns to let me pet and quasi-cuddle him on the floor (he hates to be picked up and will immediately start kicking and wiggling), he will ruin the almost-tender moment by running into a corner and immediately begin grooming himself. I try to console myself that he is just very clean or has OCD, but he seems to lick only the places where I touched him. As if I had cooties or something.

This is the mystery of pet ownership. Even when the animal shows little or no affection for you (the provider of food, shelter and unrequited love), a bond still develops. Those weird quirks—like running away from me—become endearing. The chewed-up books on the bookcase are marks of affection.

I think owning a pet does something mushy to your brain. It is the only way I can explain an intelligent, independent woman who did not want to be a pet owner in the first place (me, in case it was not already obvious) continues to make loving overtures to an arrogant, disdainful, rebuffing bunny.

Hey, Blackberry, wanna snuggle?


Penny Hirakawa works for the State Department of Health. ”;The Goddess Speaks”; is a feature by and about women. Send essays of about 500 words to “;The Goddess Speaks,”; 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).