the rabbit’s little feet slowly slide backwards on the wood floor as she peers up at the fireplace. she’s exploring every crevice of the living room for the millionth time, but the living room is eternally interesting to this black, cup-sized ball of fur with brown eyes.
she’s in the middle of a snow tube now, and catches my eye for an instant before disappearing behind the sofa in an immaculately smooth leap. perchance a male child appears, and she is hiding in her cage in an instant. the only thing visible in the shadows of the hutch in those moments is her adorably ever-twitching white nose. anyone who has cupped her in his hands, furry little feet sticking into the air, knows the irresistibility of that nose.
her name is boots.
rocky is black and white and nestled into the brown and green of a camouflage-print beanbag. he shares dominion of the living room with the rabbit, although his equity falls a bit short of hers. whenever she leaps too fast in the air in one of her spectacular “ninja” moves, he backs away in alarm. for boots was raised with an elkhound before she arrived in our living room, and seems to consider Rocky nothing more than a timid, oversized rabbit. which greatly offends the puppy in question, who will bark brazenly at other dogs that could tear him to pieces in a moment if a fence didn’t exist between them. but now, nestled into the beanbag, he is just about the cutest rocky – or rocketman – or rockifer – or rockefeller – or rock – that you could come across.
boots jumps onto the couch that I am sitting on. she sniffs rocky, who is now laying mournfully besides me (his face is incapable of smiling; his happiness is expressed by excessive tail wagging and taking big gulps of dog food). now she’s next to him, sitting quietly. I realize she’s staring straight into my eyes, so I reach over and stroke the fur between her ears.
black and white – and miniature black – beside me. the company of animals is mysterious, mournful, simple. it implies a dependency and a mutual trust. it reminds you that there are other creatures who breathe – at different paces – but live nonetheless. they require love – and a soft voice – and a gentle hand – in return for their undying – and tragically soon-dying – little selves.
why we give it, i don’t know. but I do know that i’d rather share the couch with the silent camaraderie of a rabbit and a dog than sit alone.