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Hope's Corner: Rabbit Tracks and Tales

Jackie Hope is a humor columnist for The Dickinson Press.

Jackie Hope BW.jpg
Dickinson Press humor columnist Jackie Hope. (Photo courtesy of Jackie Hope)

A little black runaway rabbit was under surveillance by the staff at the Stark County Courthouse earlier this summer. Nearly every day the rabbit was spotted in the yard of the “Lion House” west of the Courthouse. Sometimes the runaway would lollop across an alley into the yard of the Congregational Church parsonage. This rabbit was the subject of much conversation and concern.

Many other people knew of this bunny as well. Perhaps you saw the bunny as you were driving along Sims. Rabbit people were watching her.

How did they know this lagomorph – that is science speak for rabbit – was on the lam? Small black rabbits are definitely domestic. Where, locally, do we find domestic rabbits? In pet shops and at Runnings. And in the homes of rabbit lovers. Not alone in a yard.

And why did the rabbit watchers think this bunny was abandoned? They speculated the bun on the run was an Easter gift that was turned loose after the newness wore off.

Some people mistakenly believe a domestic rabbit can be turned loose, to join with cottontails in the wild. Wrong. According to rabbit.org, “Never release a pet rabbit outside... For hundreds of years these rabbits have been dependent upon humans to feed and house them. They lack the ability to survive in the wild.”

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The article goes on to mention that in some places it is a crime to release a domestic animal into the wild. Sort of the reverse of trying to turn a lion or tiger into a house pet.

Soon our local rescue groups began watching the little rabbit and plotting strategies to catch and rescue her. Calls were made to the city’s Animal Control department. Rabbit lovers were mobilizing.

Even my husband, who has lived with rabbits in the kitchen for most of our married life, tried to catch the bunny. Shortly after he arrived on the scene, a lady with a trap joined him. They were able to get close to the bunny, but the bunny dashed under a fence before they could scoop her up.

The next day my husband got a text from his boss, “That rabbit is in the city’s pound. I saw it on Facebook.” Well, if it’s on Facebook, you know it has to be true.

Sure enough, I went to Animal Control’s Facebook page, and there she was, labeled “10 Day Impound.” On day two of the bunny’s impounded-ness I called to see if anyone had claimed her or had asked to adopt her. I was told, “You are the only person that has asked about her.” Serendipity!

The wonderful folks at Woofta sheltered the bunny until she made bail. On day 11 we brought Maxine home. She is now a loved and looked-after member of our family. We have noticed, however, that she has begun building a nest in the corner of her cage.

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