Thursday, April 14, 2011

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

The Doe began pulling out her hair making a nest in the birthing box. Before long tiny pink babies snuggled deep in the furry nest. It wouldn't be long until pink noses and pink eyes peeked out of the box. We were never without Easter bunnies.

We raised rabbits for years.When they were big enough Dad took them to market. The does stayed. One of my favorite was the black and white doe. I'm not sure but it seems that we called her Dot. When Dad decided that we would give up raising rabbits, he set her free.

At first the doe didn't know what to do. She sat at the end of the back lane. Dad tried to chase her away, but she didn't want to run. She had been our pet; she was domesticated. I only saw her one more time. I walked into the back of the old barn where boards were broken and the floor was dirt. The doe sat against the side. I never saw her again.

In looking back, I wonder if  Dad thought this was the best way for me to say farewell to a pet. Perhaps he I would believe that Dot lived with all the other bunnies on the farm. Maybe it was easier for nature to take her than for him to take her away. For a child neither way is easy. I was a farm kid. I knew what would happen to Dot.

Raising rabbits was a good experience. We learned to do the care for the rabbits. Cages had to be scrapped out, food bowls needed to be filled and water fresh. We learned to love the bunnies and to say 'good-bye'.

Perhaps Peter Cottontail is really a black and white doe, one I last saw on a dirt floor in the old barn.

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