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Bunny Love 

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Early one morning, I was driving north on Los Robles Avenue in Pasadena when I saw a white bunny scamper out from under a lone parked car, face oncoming traffic and scamper back. This was a very small bunny. Its future did not look rosy. I pulled over and got out of my car. The bunny was pressed up against the curb beside the parked car. As I approached, it retreated farther beneath the car. I was afraid to reach out because I didn’t want to scare it into the street.

I sat on the curb. The bunny gazed at me steadily and sweetly. On closer inspection, it had mottled peach-and-black fur on its ears, peach on its haunches, a black dot on its nose and what looked like a thick line of mascara atop one eye. The little paws were catlike, the tail a tiny puff, the ears long and slim. Darn cute.

A man walking down the street looked at me, then saw the bunny under the car. “Trying to catch your bunny?” he asked.

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“It’s not my bunny, but it’s somebody’s pet,” I said. “If you could walk around the other side of the car and scare it this way . . .”

The man did as I asked, and the bunny ran right to me. I swept it up, and it snuggled against me. So soft! So sweet! Love at first nuzzle.

I knocked on the doors of apartment houses in front of, then north and south of where I found the bunny. But it was early in the morning, and nobody answered. So I got back into the car with the bunny peacefully curled up in my lap. It was about as big as an average guinea pig, not even a pound. In the sunlight, its ears were so transparent you could see the little red veins branching in them like rivers on a map. The bunny clearly had been much handled and well loved. It was more than tame; it was affectionate.

Driving home, I remembered hearing about the conservative rabbi who protested the big gay-pride parade in Jerusalem this year by declaring that homosexuals would “in their next reincarnation come back as rabbits and bunnies.” I couldn’t help but think about my gay friends who had died, and how much I missed them. And how unbelievably wonderful it would be if one of them were indeed in the car with me.

I brought the bunny into the house and showed it to my boyfriend, who took it, nuzzled it and kissed its little head. I went out to get the parrot’s extra cage, picked a big fat carrot from the garden, and put it in the cage along with a bowl

of water and a little box for the bunny to hide in. When I brought the cage inside, Jim gave me a stern lecture. “I really don’t see how you can take on another pet. You spend enough time doing pet management as it is.”

“I’m not keeping it. I’m going to put up a flier and find its owners.”

“Good,” said Jim.

“Yes, but admit it,” I said. “You love it too.”

“I don’t love it.”

“You kissed it,” I said. “I saw you.”

I took pictures of the bunny with my digital camera and made a flier on the computer. In the middle of this, my oldest childhood friend, Yolanda García, came over. She helped me write out some fliers in Spanish.

Found: Pet Bunny.

Encontrado: Conejito.

Meanwhile, the bunny did a thorough exploration of the cage, ate the entire carrot and most of its green tops. It drank water, peed and pooped. Jim said, “Such is life with a bunny. Pellets in, pellets out.”

Yolanda and I tacked up signs all around where I had found the bunny. We talked to a man fixing his car and to a group of people standing around in their garden. Nobody knew where the bunny lived.

About an hour later, when we were fixing lunch, the phone rang and a man started speaking to me in Spanish. I gave the phone to Yolanda, who took down his address. He said the bunny had escaped from his yard. We promised to bring the bunny home as soon as we finished eating.

We were just putting dishes in the sink when the phone rang again. The caller ID said somebody was calling from “Universal Studi.” “I saw your bunny poster,” a woman said. “It’s not my bunny. But I raise rabbits, and I thought if you needed anything to help care for it, I could lend you a cage or whatever.”

Bunnies, clearly, bring out the good in people.

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