I was considering writing a serious post about serious stuff, but then my real life got a little too serious and I had to abandon that plan in favor of something fun and fluffy: namely, rabbits.
I know this isn’t strictly speaking a Boston thing, but this past year, we went to the Topsfield Fair for the first time. It’s the oldest agricultural fair in the U.S. and began in 1818. It’s a fun place to eat too much fried food, go on the requisite fair rides, and see some animals, such as the hundreds of purebred rabbits in the Rabbit Barn. They were my favorite thing about the fair, better even than the fried dough, which I was somehow expecting to be funnel cake despite the different name. To say I was disappointed is an understatement; it was like the first time I ordered a milkshake here in MA and got, well, flavored milk. (FYI, what you order if you want ice cream in your milkshake around here is a frappe. In RI, for who knows what reason, it’s a cabinet, but the weirdness of that name is a discussion for another time.) Anyway, in the Rabbit Barn, we saw some of the most insanely cute bunnies ever, such as this one, sitting in his food dish impersonating a muffin.
This brings me to my point, which is that rabbits are great pets for city dwellers, mainly because when you live in a small apartment or condo, you often don’t have room for an animal that is much bigger than the shoebox in which you keep your receipts and bills (because who wants to pay for a file cabinet? Or was this just me? Ahem.) Anyway, if you want a small-ish pet that is more fun than a fish or a super-creepy pet tarantula, rabbits are an awesome answer to your tiny-pet prayers. They are often small, they are quiet (because they don’t have vocal chords), they can easily be litter-trained, and best of all, they are surprising. Most people do not expect to see a rabbit running around your living room. You may even be able to scare a small child if your rabbit hops up and sniffs him (true story! He started to cry. It was simultaneously sad and adorable.)
I know of people who have trouble with pet rabbits chewing cords to appliances, peeing in random corners of the house, and biting, but these things have never been an issue with my rabbit. The only time she ever bit through a cord was when we set up my son’s baby swing. She bit through that cord with such care, right next to the plug, that we found it almost impossible to reattach it and save the very expensive swing from the trash. Therefore, I think this was less a cord-biting incident than a statement of protest against the new small being encroaching on her territory. And she has never bitten us, only closed her teeth around our fingers with very precise pressure as if to say, “See? I could bite you, and it would hurt a lot. But I am benevolent, unlike those killer Monty Python rabbits. This time.” When we watch TV, she hangs out on the rug, stretched out like a sphinx, and watches with us. Also, if we’re drinking beer or Scotch and somehow a drop gets onto our noses, she licks it off. And when I was pregnant and always falling asleep on the couch, I would often wake up to find her sitting by my head, as if checking to see whether I was still alive and able to get up and get her more hay. She’s so thoughtful.