Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pippin, a bunny with a zenlike demeanor is...

...a new fellow that lives out at Heartland Rabbit Rescue. Pippin is an elder and has shown himself to be a mild-mannered guy with an deep calmness in his demeanor.
Pippin, looking somewhat pensive.
His fur is a beautiful golden color with some white markings on this left shoulder. In the next picture you can see him lit up by the early morning sun.
Pippin in morning sunshine.
The Pip is a fairly small bunny, 3 or 4 pounds, and is about 8 years old. His story, regretfully, is not a happy one for those 8 years. Heartland was contacted by someone who described himself as a grandfather who was trying to find a home for a bunny. Apparently Pippin was "owned" by a little girl (the granddaughter) and now she wasn't interested in him anymore and didn't want to take the trouble and time to care for him and wanted him to be gone.

Pippin was reported to have lived his whole life in a small hutch with a wire floor located in a backyard. As a result (we think) his right rear paw is not fully functional and he holds it out to the side somewhat stiffly when he hops or walks. Wire is not a natural or acceptable flooring for a bunny, a human, a chicken or...any living being that I can think of. When you consider anything but temporary and brief use of "wire flooring", associate that lengthy usage with perpetual low-grade torture and systematic abuse.

One of the perks of encountering rescued animals is getting to know them. (One of the pains of encountering rescue animals is hearing their stories.) When Pippin first came he was sort of shy but after a few days of having regular outside time along with lots of attention he began to move into being the easy going, laid-back sort of bunny that may be his core self.

We try to get him as much outside time as possible and recently he has taken to always finding a patch of dirt and stretching himself out and staying stretched out on the dirt for most of his outside time.
Pippin napping in small indentation in the dirt.
 Here is a photo taken this morning (8/28/2011) showing Pippin enjoying his dirt bed.
Pippin in the 'red dirt'.
 I was reminded of a video I saw recently that was apparently of a lion who had spent years confined in a cage (info about the video is not very detailed) and his obvious joy at feeling dirt under his paws again.  It is a fairly brief clip.

 Watching Pippin, watching the lion is a horrifying reminder of the casual and not so casual cruelty we inflict on our fellow living beings. This planet belongs to them too. They have come into being by the same processes and dynamics that brought human animals into being.

They have just as much right to this planet as we do, yet we confine them, manipulate their breeding and reproduction, deprive them of their birthright...this planet...the earth, the sky, the wind, the rain, the plants, the rocks...all of it is theirs too. They are children of Earth just as we are yet we behave as if they are simply here for our pleasure, our whim, our use.

When I think of this, when I see the joy of that lion, when I see Pippin laying in contentment on his planet I am almost paralyzed with horror and shame at how my fellow humans act. Could we be this way, act this way toward others without there being some terribly important element missing in our make up? Could we act this way if we weren't terribly damaged somehow? I have to not dwell on this too much lest my head explode. It is all too much to comprehend, to take in, to wrap my mind and feelings around. Even if I think of it a little it makes it hard for me to look at other people, hard to talk to them...especially if they aren't living as a vegan. It is very difficult.

We've structured our culture, most cultures, to where dishing out cruelty and suffering is the default position. If you go with the flow, if you act "normal"...then you are inflicting deprivation, cruelty, suffering, pain and death on billions and billions of living beings.

Just think of it, to be normal is to be be kind or to be "different" or "weird" or "radical". To refuse to use, exploit or harm other living beings makes you "strange".

There is a major derangement impacting this planet and all the living beings on it, and I do not think it is centered anywhere but in our own species.

Pippin is very polite when he is carried from his inside enclosure or anywhere, he rides along looking interestedly at the sights (which look peculiar I imagine, to a bunny used to being at ground level all the time) and calmly puts up with the giant clumsy humans. He has slowly come to accept petting and stroking and always gives polite and enthusiastic teeth purring when he gets a cheek massage. Pippin accepts, endures and maybe even forgives.

I have a much more difficult time with accepting and Pippin the zenmaster still has much to teach me.


Christina said...

Pippin..."sigh" he is my little precious one. No wire floors for any creature, no tiny little bowls for beta fish, no circus please.

Watching the lion was just wonderful. I dont understand they shouldnt be in captivity to begin with (unless they are injured or rescued and cant go back to the wild) but to house them like some do? It is heartbreaking.

You know I am a big LSU fan but I have always hated them using a real tiger as a mascot. I will say that our current Mike came from a sanctuary where he was the product of "accidental breeding" (no excuse for that either) He has a 15,000 square foot enclosure and lives like the king he is but still.......

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Christina.

Pippin is a major treat, he would make a terrific bunny long as he had some dirt to rest in.

Heartbreaking indeed. Yep, unnecessarily imprisoning any sentient being is simply unacceptable.

Bea Elliott said...

What a dashing guy Pippin is! His previous "owner" did not deserve a second of any joy he may have given her. 8 years old and willingly giving up a friend... She will know in time how precious these friendships are -

The reflections on humans? That's the looping tape that goes no in my head all the time too. I just can't (after all these years) grasp what we do... WHAT WE DO!!! And it's all so routine and normal. Invisible.

Watching the lion though... And reading what you describe of Pippin reminds me of when the Bard Sisters - Three of them - Precious, Tino and Ruby were brought home for the first time... These three hens had been living in a cage about the size of an orange crate - I don't know that they ever were out of it... But in seconds they instinctively knew exactly what to do with dirt. Dust bathe! They were at it for over an hour... Lion, Pippin and they all denied the simple pleasure of earth.

Meanwhile, laughably... We humans go to such extremes to sanitize every pour of our bodies and inch of our homes... We are repulsed by the very thing that is the world to these beings.

Better stop here - My head (and heart) is beginning to hurt too. :/

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting Bea. What we do, indeed. Sigh.

Pippin, the lion and the Bard Sisters all give us the opportunity to reawaken our appreciation of Mother Earth...if we will only watch, listen and understand.

It does hurt...

Anonymous said...

This story really speaks to me. I am fostering two bunnies. They were abandoned in a park, and the number of people who suggested I leave them there becasue living with bunnies is "work" really got to me. These bunnies, and the fact that someone would abandon them (likely becasue they were just coming into sexual maturity), taught me that rescuing individual animals and having some animals living in our homes is an important way that we must combat the rampant animal abuse in the world.

Seeing Pippin' and hearing his story and seeing that lion experience the dirt and the grass reminds me of this again. Thank you.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Vegina. The folks that suggested just leaving the bunnies maybe didn't know that was a death sentence for the bunnies.

Being in a position of responsibility and care for any being not able to be fully responsible and live independently for themselves is "work"...whether that being is a bunny, a cat, a dog, a parakeet, a human child or a human unable to fully care for themselves no matter their age. "Domesticating" makes them be unable to fulfill all of their daily living tasks. By definition some of the tasks of living must be accomplished by the "caretaker" that would normally be assumed by the "caretakee". Part of the tragedy and horror of "domesticating" any of our fellow animals is that we rob them of the ability, in greater or lesser degrees, to live independently of us human animals. Once we have done that we are compelled by any standard of decent behavior to fulfill that role of caring.

Your point about combating animal abuse is well taken and a large source of that abuse is a result of the "domesticating" of other animals and our failure to live up to the tasks we created for ourselves via that horribly wrong "domesticating".

Pippin and the lion serve to remind us that the dirt and grass belong to all beings...not just human beings.

Andrea said...

Oh Pippin, how terrible those 8 years must have been! I hope you'll have many years enjoying the wonderful red dirt at Heartland under your paws. Maybe I will meet you someday; it would be an honor.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Andrea. Pippin would be honored too. :-)

Unknown said...

I could almost feel the lion's joy and wonderment! Thanks for sharing that and for sharing Pippin. Although I never met him, I can see what a special guy he was. Godspeed dear Pippin.

veganelder said...

Thank you Amy.