The dog brought a baby jackrabbit to our lawn. Miraculously unharmed, the small gray creature with eyes wide open was a gift to my 9 year old animal loving daughter. She has wanted to raise a baby rabbit for years, and this appeared to be the genie in the magic bottle that answered her deepest wish. Appearances can be deceiving and wishes can be answered in other ways.
I learned several years ago when same dog unearthed a wild jackrabbit nest that it’s never recommended and nearly impossible to raise wild rabbits on your own, not to mention that it’s illegal to possess Oregon wildlife without the proper state and federal permits. The survival rate is miniscule. I had foolishly and greenhornedly gathered up two of the babies and brought them home, only to have them cry all night, and then I wanted to cry when I researched online and discovered that I was now party to the likely demise of the sweet bunnies. I got up before dawn the next morning and returned the babies to the very spot beneath the junipers where I found them, following the instructions I had read, and believing that, as stated, the momma would find them even though she had obviously moved her nest elsewhere by this time.
Having learned this lesson, I knew JJ couldn’t keep the baby jackrabbit that our dog was so pleased to deliver. I let her hold the baby, and little sister JoJo gave it some love too, as I reminded them of the literature that clearly counseled the return of the jackrabbit to its nest. The problem was, we had no way of knowing where in the midst of the hundred acre wood the nest could be.
These are the beautiful moments of our lives. There is something precious and priceless about loving a wild thing that must be let go, and making that decision on your own.
The children decided upon a location for the return, an area of junipers where the dog had been recently spotted. JJ and JoJo prepared a safehouse for the newly orphaned bunny who would hopefully soon have a reunion with a mother who would be calling her baby for a midnight feeding. A careful hole lined with soft grasses, some twigs meticulously set across the top of the child-made nest, and some tender goodbyes and goodlucks were the scene.
Goodbye, wild bunny who brought a thrill of delight and a living nature lesson to my children.