Oreo's escape

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“NO. We are not prepared to own and care for a (insert animal name here).”
“But dad, I will feed it and take care of it all by myself! I promise!”
This conversation has been replayed over and over at our house. Each animal that I would bring home my parents would just shake their head and say I had to take it back until we were prepared to care for it. No matter what it was, my parents expected me to do research on the proper care and responsibly of owning an animal, along with how to be safe around them because of how unpredictable and dangerous some animals can be. We have had many animals circulate through our hobby farm since we moved to the country, but no matter how long it calls our house home, each animal is able to find a place in our family and in my heart. We have had horses, dogs, cats, goats, cows, chickens, rabbits, fish, turtles, and caterpillars that have each gotten a name. Some names were odd, and some were normal. The one that I am going to share with you is an average name for a Dutch rabbit. There may be many others in the world exactly alike with the same name, but I will never forget the story of my Oreo.
Oreo was my first rabbit. Since then I have also had Sandy, Candy, Mo, and Rosie. I enjoyed having rabbits most of the time, except for the scratches I seemed to get quite often when they would become uncomfortable and push free of my hold with their muscular hind legs and sharp claws. The other downfall was the unwavering, eager eye of our large Labrador Retriever. When preparing a home for Oreo, I found a rabbit cage, water bottle, shelf, and food container. We placed her cage in an empty box stall so she could run on the ground when we were with her. Nana, our Lab, was able to find the gap beneath the large door and always sat with her nose shoved in the gap. If Oreo was out, we usually kept Nana locked up, because when she was out all we could hear was the persistent snorting of her large brown nose, awaiting a taste of the beckoning prey just out of her grasp.
As the days went by we tried to show Nana the difference between a pet rabbit and a wild rabbit. She got to the point where her nose was no longer audible outside the stall although its presence was never denied. One day while Nana was out tromping in the set-a-side land around our house, I carried Oreo out of the stall to show her around the rest of the barn. We were doing fine until I felt her tense and then her hind legs lurch forward. Before I could catch her, she bolted and I lost sight of her. As I took my first frantic steps forward, Nana padded into the barn unconcerned. As soon as I saw her I screamed at her with the most serious voice I had to “KENNEL UP!” Like always, she walked in her pen without hesitation. As soon as her door was locked tightly, I urgently began the search for my runaway rabbit.
It felt as if I searched forever before I located the only place she could have slid into. Between a pile of bricks that I could not move or have a good look within was the only place in the barn she could possibly have hidden. Then I tried to catch my heaving breath and think through my predicament. I wasn’t sure if Oreo was in there or if she had managed to find a hole and ran into the enormous outside world. If she was in the pile, there was no way I would be able to get her out unless I were to scare her out. I decided to first confirm her location. After much contemplation and many second thoughts, I decided to use my resources.
Nana had the best rabbit tracking device available and I was desperate to find my rabbit. Firmly grabbing hold of Nana’s collar, I slowly let her out of the pen. A few seconds after her nose caught a whiff of the aroma of a nervous rabbit, I was no match for the incredible strength behind an adrenaline filled dog. As my hand slipped free of her collar, Nana burst forward and she began pacing before the pile, nose glued to the floor, searching for the path to her prey. Tears began to blur my vision as I followed Nana to the pile and grasped for her collar, screaming at her to stop between sobs, my heart pounding in my ears like a freight train. I had every ounce of my strength yanking on her collar as she found the best entrance point and began to dig and shove her nose between the bricks. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a streak of black and white as my hand was ripped from her collar and Nana bolted at the rabbit.
The thing I remember most about the next thing that happened was the sound. My scream could have been heard from miles around and as my heart went into my throat and I could no longer make any understandable noise. When I heard the final squeal of my pet as its life was taken by my best friend, I completely lost sanity and gained the strength of two of me. Without being able to see anything clearly I pried my dog’s blood-stained jaws from the defenseless creature that I had taken under my wing and promised to protect. Nana paced back in forth in her pen when I finally forced her back inside her cage. The moment I looked back at the limp body of my first rabbit, I sat down, put my head in my hands, and let every emotion I had release.
Before this experience I had never witnessed death first hand. Now that many years have past, I am able to look back at how foolish I was. At the time, it felt like the world would end without that rabbit, but now I see that it was only a rabbit and it was a beneficial moment in my life that had quite an effect on how I look at things today. The world we live in is as unpredictable and dangerous as a tame wild animal. Over time we may begin to feel that we understand something and grow a trust and security in our understanding of it. In an instant something uncontrollable can happen that challenges everything you though you knew as truth. If we take everything we have for granted it will be harder to move on once it is gone. The uncertainty in life is what keeps things interesting and helps us grow as human beings. The thing I remember most about after this event is how lost I felt. I can only imagine how much harder it would have been to move on without the love and support of the people around me. Now, if I ever see someone that needs an extra encouragement boost, I am always willing to lend a hand. We all need some support for when the unpredictable happens.





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