Compassion trumps nature in bunny tale
By Michelle Rudman September 17, 2012 7:38PM
Updated: October 19, 2012 6:03AM
This summer, an arch enemy nested her babies in my yard. Sure, newborn bunnies are adorably innocent. I’m no fool though. Eventually those beasts eat our expensive flowers, gorge on our vegetable garden and leave nasty presents all over the yard. Despite chicken wire and hot sauce, the buggers manage to gnaw everything down to the ground.
In June, I checked for signs of a nest in our tree ring as rabbits nest there each summer. My kids discovered six cute, little bunnies the first week of July and named them.
On Day 2 of their discovery, one of the babies was dead. We HAD to have a funeral and a proper burial for “Squiggles.” On Day 3, another dead bunny. Mommy had not been back either. “Fresh Beat” received a lovely burial as well.
We had a dilemma, intervene or not. I researched online, called wildlife groups and solicited for suggestions on Facebook. During my first phone call, I was told to let the hawks eat them; that’s nature’s way and how it’s supposed to be.
I was then asked if I could handle that answer. I’m all for the circle of life, but my kids were not ready to watch a hawk fill his belly with their new furry friends.
Call No. 2 resulted in the same information (presented in a nicer way). I asked if we could feed the orphaned babies milk with a syringe. The expert said sure, but reminded me that no matter my effort or lack thereof, the bunnies would die without their mom. Their eyes were still closed, so they were too young to survive on their own.
My kids were faced with a tough bunny care decision: intervene and possibly prolong suffering (if ill) or let them die naturally. I persuaded them to let one more night pass. With two precisely crisscrossed leafy branches to provide shelter, we hoped for the best. The next day, the branches were not moved.
My kids understood the food chain, but their hearts spoke to them. We tried to feed the babies while they nested, but they were not interested while we watched. No, we didn’t play the game by Mother Nature’s rules. However, I was proud to see my kids demonstrate something far grander than many adults display — compassion. They learned something that can’t be taught from a book and for that we thank Mother Nature.
Note: The four remaining bunnies left the nest soon after being fed and have been seen hopping through our yard.
Michelle Rudman may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.