Bunnies and Puppies and Parents, Oh My!

My younger sister had all the pets that I didn’t want.

She had a guinea pig named Molly who she dressed up in doll clothes and pushed around in a stroller. If you’ve ever seen Dumb and Dumber with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, you’ve heard what you thought was the most annoying sound in the world. Lloyd Christmas demonstrates for a hitchhiker trying to kill them on their trip out to Aspen.

I assure you that guinea pigs are even more annoying. Not at first, mind you. At first, they’re a novelty. Then, you realize that the only noise they can make is a shrill, rusty Weeeee-weeee-weeee.

Laura once left Molly dressed in her Sunday best and strapped in the stroller all night. My dad lectured her about responsibility and taking good care of animals. He’s the most responsible person I know.

Laura also had rabbits. The first rabbit, Gus, a very sweet little guy with mostly white fur, died within a few days. He brought an illness with him.

Charlie, who was brown, and Sam, who was black, came next. They brought diversity to our family.

They survived long enough that my dad located a rabbit hutch made from 2x4s and chicken wire. He put it in the backyard under the locust tree. He moved it once a month because the rabbit droppings killed the grass. We always had one or two yellow squares of dead grass in our backyard.

This was a small price to pay because Laura seemed to really enjoy the rabbits.

That is, until the incident.

I could charge the story with drama, but I’ll get to the point: a neighborhood dog jumped our fence, ripped open the cage with his teeth, and ate Charlie. Simple as that.

Laura was, of course, angry and horrified.

My parents located the owners of the dog, an older couple. They agreed to pay for a new rabbit.

Laura didn’t want a new rabbit, she wanted Charlie back. My parents were in a bind.

Our Shih-Tzu Button came to the rescue. He escaped from the fence, found the older couple’s grandson, and bit him. No joke. What are the odds? Button had never bitten anyone in his life. Button never left the yard. In fact, he wore a trail on the inside of the fence because he always wanted to watch what was going on in the outside world.

Our next door neighbors had twin little girls, and even though Button’s rabies test came back negative, my parents decided to put him to sleep. I know that boy he bit must have been antagonizing him somehow, throwing sticks or rocks, calling him a piece of Shih.

So the Church family was minus one brown bunny and one black and white puppy.

We now had one big, black rabbit who would claw the blood out of you.

My parents’ solution?

Release Sam into the wild.

Good call, Mom and Dad: teach your kids a lesson about laws of nature and how the food chain works by placing a well-fed domesticated animal at the edge of the woods on our cousins’ property in Green Hills.


“Excuse me, Mr. Doglike Creature. What are you?”

“A coyote.”

“Well, nice to meet you, Mr. Coyote. Can you please tell me when they serve dinner here?”

“Right now.”

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