The Wounded Baby Bunny

Reprinted with permission.
Yesterday, while I was at the kitchen sink, I could see Jack nosing at something in the cut grass in the barn pasture. I called him to the house, and then an hour later he was at it again, so I went to see what he was maybe eating that he shouldn’t, and there was the baby rabbit, or I’ll say it the other way, the baby bunny.

A fat, slightly bloody – not from a puncture or bite, though – very cold baby. Jerking in my hands, small convulsions from shock. From my experience of baby bunnies messed with by dogs, dying.

Put the little guy, seed ticks and all, next to my body for warmth on the way to the house, checked out the wound which was skin peeled finely away from an inner thigh, antibiotic salved that, although that’s not always recommended, dragged out the heating pad, made a bed in a box, wrapped the little one in a soft cloth and that was that.

Checked every hour – one must just leave them alone – and it wasn’t dead. This morning it still isn’t dead. That means a trip to TSC (for those of you not in the know: Tractor Supply Company) for kitten milk substitute or whatever it’s called. Sigh.

I am trying to keep alive a being who eats my garden. There is no point to this. None. My old farm neighbors and dearest friends would be laughing at me, the nice way they always did, a kind of full of love laughter at my ignorant choices. Othal and Essie worked too hard to save anything that diminished their hard work. Essie would understand, though, and would ask how the little critter was doing, even though. Even though. Because she knew how some things call to you and make you care for them.

Then you let them go. You have to let them go back to being what they are born to be, the fawns left behind whose mamas are taken, the birds that fall out of nests or hit windows, the thrown away terrified pups and kittens, the injured, the too young to manage, the unwanted, the broken. They need one more chance.

So you do that, you become invested in their survival. You love them in a way you don’t love anything else, and then you put them away from you and back to their world, and you hope the coyotes and the owls and the hawks, the dogs and the cars on the road don’t get them again.

I cannot save a child other than my monthly dollars to St. Jude. There is no child here, only this tiny exhausted and I don’t want it rabbit. I’ll go out to work in the garden in a few minutes and talk to my cabbages, try to explain what I’ve done. That’s how I will roll today, apologizing to my cabbages.

Will someone please make sense of what doesn’t make sense? I know you have done this too. I just know you have.


  • Renee Armand

    Singer, songwriter, and poet Renee Armand, born in Los Angeles, was discovered by Tony Bennett in her twenties and now lives on a 19th-century working farm outside Nashville. She spent years touring the world with John Denver, has released four albums, and sang the Oscar-winning song "The Morning After."

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