There is a bunny in the dog park. And it’s not a small, brown, outdoorsy bunny. This one is large, black and white, and fluffy. I first became aware of it when the friendly man with the Husky was running after his dog, screaming something in Russian. When I asked him if everything was ok, he said, gasping, “There’s a bunny.” I went on Next Door and sure enough, the previous day someone had posted, “Is anyone missing a rabbit? It’s in the park.”
That was a month ago. Since then, it’s all anyone can talk about. It is a welcome distraction from Sadie the Terrier’s ear surgery or whether Chester is back on wet food. Now it’s bunny all the time.
At first, everyone wanted to save the bunny. Red Raincoat with the Poodle was particularly concerned. “How’s it going to survive out here with all the dogs and coyotes?” Visor Lady (no dog) was convinced the bunny escaped the clutches of a neglectful owner. “If that were my rabbit, I’d be out day and night looking for it.” With all the big dogs running through the brush, we were all convinced that Bunny’s days were numbered. When my own dog hunted and gobbled up a gopher, I cringed at the thought of her nice girl reputation being replaced with Bunny Killer.
After a week or so, our worry turned to awe. “Darn bunny is still alive!” said the owner of the shaggy German Shepherd. “Saw it this morning!” The owner of the mean Chihuahua I once referred to as a cunt (not to its face) pointed out the increase of hawks in the park. I had been so focused on my own dog’s thirst for blood, not to mention the coyotes, that I had forgotten all about the hawks.
It’s not a large park. You can walk its circumference in less than five minutes. I knew it was only a matter of time before I had my own spotting. And then one day, Ginger had run ahead on the path and when I turned the corner, she was intently staring at something. There, a few feet away, was a watermelon-sized, black and white bunny, chomping away on the grass, not a care in the world. This cutie had the confidence of a gangster. When I approached my dog to try and leash her, the bunny hopped away. Ginger sprinted after her. After a chase in the bushes, Ginger appeared, head hanging low. The energizer had outpaced a gopher-eating Lab. I was relieved. This park is so convenient. Being ostracized is not an option.
Last week, several people saw not one but three bunnies! That sent everyone into a tizzy. “It’s all I think about,” confessed the blond computer programmer with the Pit Bull. I told her I understood, saying, “It’s the most exciting thing to happen to this park since the new playground.” She didn’t know the playground was new, so we had to talk about that for a few minutes even though my brain was screaming, “Bunny, bunny, bunny!”
Eventually, the park community coalesced around a shared narrative that some dude had tossed his pregnant bunny to the curb, and now the tiny family is hopping around in the fresh air, mocking predators, and celebrating freedom.
But yesterday, someone from a humane organization set traps. A few of us watched solemnly, as they set up three small metal cages with lettuce and carrots inside. This morning I expressed my feelings to the Russian Man with the Husky. “It makes me sad,” I said, “These bunnies seem like they’re living their best lives. Maybe they’re choosing quality over quantity.”
He convinced me that if the bunnies survived a month with coyotes, hawks, and dogs, “they’re not stupid enough to walk into a little box.” As he sprinted after his dog, he called back over his shoulder, “Who wants to live life in a cage anyway?”