My Grandpa and My First Bunny…and the lessons Learned

I have had a bunny for most of my life.

My first bunny was a gift from my grandfather. My grandfather was a large, handsome man. He carried himself like John Wayne and I have never had another male role model that could compare. His name was Ed Schroeder but his friends called him Eddie. Grandma and I called him Pud.

He was my first hero and I’m positive that it was the love that my grandfather and grandmother had for eachother that taught me how to be a kind and loving person. My grandmother called him Pud, she said it was because he was “as sweet as puddin'”. From that day on, I called him Pud too.

One day, when I was about 10 years old, Pud came over in his old work truck and asked me if I wanted to take a ride in his truck. I said yes right away! What a treat to ride in Pud’s truck with him! I felt so grown up. Usually, when I went out with him, grandma was with us and we went out in their nice 4 door car. It was usually only my brother that got to ride in Pud’s truck. Today, we were going out, just the 2 of us, in the TRUCK! I didn’t care where we were I going, wherever it was, I definitely wanted to be there! Lol

We drove roads I recognized and then some beautiful back roads that I did not recognize with wonderful green rolling hills. Finally, he said that we were going to the Schneider Farm. I didn’t recognize the name but I didn’t care. We arrived and Farmer Schneider and his son, a boy probably a couple years older than me came out to greet us. The boy was wearing brown work clothes and boots, just what I expected, since they were farmers. Grandpa Pud said that they had bunnies for sale and that if I wanted one, I could go pick one out! The boy took me into the barn to look at the bunnies, while Pud and Farmer Schneider went into the house to talk. When I saw the bunnies, I only had eyes for one of them. She was pure white with pink eyes and beautiful pink ears. She was so small and soft. I took her home and named her Thumper. I never went out with Pud in his truck again but I cherish that memory. To this day, I can not drive by that farm without thinking of Farmer Schneider and his son and i always wonder who the boy grew up to be.

Thumper, as most bunnies at that time, was kept in a hutch on the edge of the woods. I cringe now when I think of it. It fills me with shame and sadness. All I can say is, it’s the way it was done then and we didn’t know any better. I know it doesn’t excuse it but it is the truth. We just did not know any better. Bringing her into the house was never an option, she was a rabbit and rabbits lived out of doors. I learned a lot from Thumper. Lessons I’ve never forgotten.

Dont get me wrong, the hutch was sturdy and had a wooden back and sides, a wooden roof and a lock on the door but it had a chicken wire floor (and front) and as far as I remember, she had no box to hide in, toys to play with or anything like that. I loved her very much and went every day, rain or shine to feed her, talk to her and pet her. She grew very, very large and the bigger she got, the more secretly afraid of her I was. You see, she had never bit me but every time i put my arm in the cage she would thump or jump and because she was so heavy, my arm would fly up and be stabbed by the raw chicken wire. So, even though Thumper had never bit me, I was definitely becoming more and more afraid of her cage and her thumping. I didn’t know that rabbits communicate with us by thumping and sometimes oinking and grunting.

Because of this, I became more and more afraid. Consciousness, I knew there was nothing to be afraid of but more and more I began to think that maybe someone else could give her better care.

Enter Mrs. Rose and her husband, Scott:

Mrs. Rose was so beautiful. Tall and slim with long brown hair and oh so sweet. She gave me my first ever bikini, it was a burnt orange, french triangle bikini and I loved it so much! I was good friends with her daughters and was at their house alot. Mrs. Rose had lots of dwarf bunnies and she took very good care of them (or at least, it seemed like she did). Her husband was the opposite of her. He was short, fat and ugly but I didn’t hold any of that against him. He was closer in age to Mrs. Rose’s older daughter than he was to Mrs. Rose and he was a mean, sometimes cruel stepfather but I didn’t particularly hold that against him either. I didn’t like him but I didn’t entirely dislike him either. I had an abusive stepfather of my own, that was just life. At the time, I looked at as, life gives you mean stepfather’s to make you stronger.

But I’ve gotten off track, Mrs. Rose took a lot of interest in Thumper. Infact, she had gotten her dwarf Rabbits BECAUSE  she liked Thumper so much. As I mentioned,  she seemed to take very good care of her bunnies and I was feeling more and more like maybe someone else could be a better caregiver to Thumper.  Eventually, Mrs. Rose asked if she could have Thumper. She had grown to love her and after all, she was inspired by Thumper to get all of her dwarf bunnies. She promised to love Thumper,  care for her and keep her until she had lived out her natural life.

I thought seriously about it and decided that Mrs. Rose was probably more capable than me of giving Thumper the life she deserved…

They didn’t have Thumper long.

Just a few weeks after getting her from me, Mrs. Rose and Scott showed up at our house, unannounced, on a Sunday after church. They stood there together, and Scott, with a gleam in his eye and a smile on his face, told me that Thumper had bitten Mrs. Rose and so he had killed her and eaten her for dinner. He said she was very tasty and he really enjoyed eating her. He said he had tried to save her white fur pelt for me but it fell apart. My mother was outraged and asked them to leave. I was numb. I couldn’t understand it. Thumper had never, in all the years I had her, bitten me. They didn’t call me and ask me if I wanted her back, they just ate her for dinner.

I learned a lot of lessons from this.

  1. Scott was a lot crueler than anyone knew
  2. No one else can love your pet as much as you
  3. Rabbits live very long lives, so if your thinking of getting a rabbit, you need to know that it’s a commitment of 10-16 years

Being a Bunny’s Momma can be challenging but it is also very rewarding. Rabbits are not for everyone because they require a specialized veterinarian, special food and do not travel well. Yes, you can take them in your car and fly with them but it is not recommended. Most hotels do not allow rabbits because rabbits are considered Exotic Pets. Many hotels that happily accept dogs and cats, will not accept rabbits, so if you do take a chance on taking them to a hotel that does not approve them, it could end very badly for you and your bunny.

If you are thinking of owning a rabbit, please do your research to find the right breed for you. And please make a commitment to having them for their entire lives. I learned my lesson with Thumper. It was a hard lesson but I learned it. Since then, I’ve have Benjamin Bunny, a beautiful grey and white lop ear. I got him from a friend who had could no longer keep him. She was moving to an apartment that didn’t allow pets. He was exceedingly sweet and got along wonderfully with my yorkie. After Benjamin Bunny, I had Peter Rabbit. Peter turned out to be a girl but by the time we knew, she already answered to Peter so I didn’t want to confuse her by changing her name. Now, I have Princess Buttercup. She is quite a character! She’s a dwarf and very feisty. There are days when you take one look at her and know she woke up on the wrong side of the bed! Lol Often, she just sits and stares at me and my friend Jeni and my son, say it’s because she plotting my demise. Lol

I don’t care what anyone says, I think she lovely and sweet! Lol

Buttercup and I sharing breakfast. Most days we share an Apple while I drink my first cup of tea.

Published by sharietomlinson

I’m Sharie. Owner of Butterfly Bunny Studio and The Urban Duck. Mixed Media Watercolor Artist, Bunny & Disney Lover, Avid Gardener, Proud Mother to Josh, Bunny Momma to Princess Buttercup Bunny and Wifey to Jason. I am located in Columbia, Md but I’m a Harford County girl at heart! You can find me on Etsy at Butterflybunnystudio.store and on Instagram at @notjoshsmom Email me at butterflybunnyarts@gmail.com

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