Monday, March 29, 2010

Albus & Hagrid

I had just finished shopping at Pet Pals and was loading the dog food and kitty litter into my car, and realized that I could use some empty boxes for a project. As I went back into Pet Pals to inquire about boxes, I noticed The Rabbit Haven van. Hmmm. A chance to meet Auntie Heather I thought. Heather Bechtel is the founder of The Rabbit Haven, a local non-profit rabbit rescue, adoption and education program, and she is affectionately known as Auntie Heather.

I wandered around Pet Pals until I spotted the adoption fair happening at the street side of the store. I hadn’t even seen it going on when I was shopping! As I watched people of all ages milling about – kids and their parents learning about rabbit care, two women with their purses on the floor and rabbits in their hands, a couple with their pet rabbits in carriers waiting for their grooming appointment – I suddenly burst into tears. The last thing I expected was to have an emotional outburst in Pet pals on a Saturday afternoon. I suppose there are many reasons for it, not the least of which is my mom’s recent passing. Or what about sweet Karyn who was crazy about bunnies and a volunteer at The Rabbit Haven, and passed away last fall?

After composing myself, I again began to look around. Instead of looking for Auntie Heather, I was focused on the bunnies. There must have been 20 or more, many in pairs: black ones, speckled ones, a white one with a row of black spots on its back, a fuzzy light brown one that looked like a tiny lion, and so on. I read a sign that said that rabbits tend to thrive when adopted in pairs and that some get depressed or withdrawn without a playmate.

I started up a conversation with Kimberlee, a volunteer who is also a rabbit “auntie.” She introduced me to Albus and Hagrid, two male bunnies from the infamous Moreland Woods Rescue in San Jose. Albus was pure white with pink eyes, an albino she said, and Hagrid was black with white markings. I asked if I could hold Hagrid. Kimberlee showed me how to pick Hagrid up and I did, turning him over gently in my arms like a baby as he peered up at me. I could tell that he wasn’t too sure, but he soon surrendered into a relaxing state while I rocked him back and forth. I must have stood there and rocked Hagrid for five solid minutes.

Albus and Hagrid are thought to be brothers, and they’ve been together since (and probably protected one another before) their rescue. I ask myself and sometimes God why there is cruelty in the world but I never get the answer. I just know that we, humans, are the answer to this problem. We have to take responsibility as a society for the actions of our fellows, care for the furry victims, and educate the masses. It might not seem fair, but no one ever said life was. I know for myself, I can’t live with a conscience that ignores the problem.

I didn’t leave Pet Pals on Saturday with Albus and Hagrid but I went to bed that night thinking about holding Hagrid in my arms. I didn’t introduce myself to Auntie Heather either, at least not from a business standpoint. I did send her an email though, and I made an appointment for another visit with Albus and Hagrid in April. And believe it or not, I actually remembered the boxes for my project.

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