I’m always curious about the intellect and reasoning powers of animals and am sometimes amazed at what I see. Sometimes the actions are subtle and you have to watch closely and other times a response will be purely blatant. Our son, Doug, was given a small, white, rabbit for Easter one year. This rabbit lived in a shelter and pen on our patio. We let him run around the house and yard and he was quite at home no matter where he was. He was easily house-broken so that was no problem. He had grown into a full-sized rabbit at the time I am recalling for you now.
Pat and the kids were out and I was home alone with the rabbit. I brought him in the house and petted him and then turned him loose. I turned on the TV and settled into my favorite spot on the floor, leaning back against the coffee table. I was doing some preliminary thinking about a home project and needed information about parts and tools. I had a Popular Mechanics and a Mechanics Illustrated and was going through the classified ads in the back of them. I had a notebook and a box of No. 10 envelopes and a pen. Whenever I found an ad that looked promising I would write a request for a catalog and slip it into an envelope.
As I said, I was sitting on the floor and had opened the lid on the box of envelopes and placed the box within reach. There were probably 25 or 30 envelopes left in the box. The rabbit has been wandering around the house, looking for someone to play with and had no luck so he got bored. Wanting to be petted or messed with, he nudged my hand with his nose. Well, I’m trying to keep up with a TV program and get some catalogs ordered so I just scratch his ears and push him away. He tries a few more times to get some attention with no luck. His little mind gets busy and I’m not sure whether he decides to punish me or get my attention. He reaches into that envelope box with those big buck teeth and lifts out a No. 10 envelope and places it on the carpet next to my leg. He sits back and looks at me to see what I’m going to do. I’ve been watching him out of the corner of my eye because I figure that if I make eye contact I’ll have to acknowledge him. Not getting any response from me he goes into the box again, gets another envelope and places it on top of the first one. Again, he sits back on his haunches and watches for a reaction from me. Two can play at this game so I just keep ignoring him.
Does he quit? No, he’s relentless! He keeps pulling the envelopes out one at a time without stopping except to see what my reaction might be. The pile of envelopes is getting higher and I finally can’t keep from laughing. He wins! I pick him up and hug him and the catalog requests are over for the night. I just sat there on the floor and held him and petted him while I watched TV.
August 15, 2014