Sunday, May 29, 2011

One person's pet, another person's pest

This weekend I spent time with old friends who at the moment are not enamored of rabbits. Their garden is presently being raided by wild rabbits who are apparently extra fond of the parsley my friends are trying to grow. I joked that they have to stop planting what rabbits love to eat. My friend responded quite seriously that she would prefer to kill them all.

I understand as someone who also gardens that having your plants devoured by animals is frustrating, to say the least. I have had more seeds plucked away by birds than I care to see, but my first thought for a resolution isn't killing. And what saddens me is my friends know about but clearly don't comprehend my love and devotion to rabbits. When I told them how my disabled rabbit Woodstock was faring and how I have to bathe him everyday, my friends, clearly thinking I was wacky to insist on keeping alive a rabbit who still eats and loves his mate, kept insisting emphatically, "put him down, put him down." Hurt and perplexed by this, I changed the subject because I did not want to turn a very pleasant day into a downer. But this conversation lingers in my mind.

I don't understand how, even if they have hostile feelings toward animals they see as pests, people can be so insensitive to another person's devotion to a PET. Woodstock is family, as are all my rabbits, but clearly my friends don't see him this way at all. He is a burden, an inconvenience I would best rid myself of--I assume that is how they see him. I will never understand people who do not love animals, I freely admit that, but I don't see how it should be so mystifying that you don't just put down those you love because of inconvenience. Taking care of elderly parents can be felt as inconvenient, but I know my friends would never put their parents down for such a callous reason--why should a beloved pet not be given the same consideration? Oh, yes, I forgot. It's the old " just a rabbit " scenario. Well, Woodstock will never be just a rabbit to me, and I feel very sorry for those who can't understand this. No one, no being should EVER be thought of as "just" anything. We are all deserving of a free and happy life devoid of pain and suffering, even those creatures some ignorant humans believe to be worthless pests.

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