Through Abigail’s Eyes: “The Magic Garden”

abigail the magic garden


“Abigail, it’s dinner time!” called the man. “Dinner?” she wondered, “I thought I already had dinner,” as she looked over at the pile of hay, the bowl of pellets, and water. The man came in carrying a large orange tray, covered with green things. “I don’t know what you like, so I brought you a little bit of everything,” he explained, “These are all things that are safe for bunnies to eat. There’s cilantro, parsley, dandelion leaves, carrot tops, romaine lettuce, and some basil. And for dessert, there’s a little piece of fresh apple. See what you like.”

Abigail hopped over to investigate. She wasn’t sure what to do. Until now, all she ever ate was hay and pellets. She had never even seen greens before. She sniffed them carefully. They smelled good. She took a little bite. They tasted good, too! Abigail went around the smorgasbord, sampling little bites of each plant. Right away, she discovered that cilantro was her favorite, followed by parsley. She wasn’t sure about the dandelion leaves or the basil, so she decided to come back to those later. But when she took a bite of the apple, she thought, “This is good! I like apples!”

From then on, twice a day, every day, the man brought her the orange tray filled with fresh greens to supplement her hay. Abigail wondered where this endless supply of fresh greens came from. Was there a field full of fresh greens? She looked out the window, but didn’t see anything. One day, the man came through the door with an arm full of greens and announced, “Abigail, I’ve been to the magic garden!” She followed him over to the room where the orange tray came from, and watched as he carefully washed all the greens, cut their stems, and arranged them in a bowl of water like a bouquet of fresh flowers. The aroma was enticing. “Someday,” she thought, “I have to visit this magic garden.”

Every so often, he’d bring her something new to try. “Abigail, try this,” he’d say. He brought her different types of lettuce, kale, beet tops, mustard greens, and bok choy. Some she liked, some she didn’t. But she appreciated being given the choice. Abigail noticed that her chestnut coat grew soft and shiny. Food was interesting and exciting now. She liked poking around here and there throughout the day, picking out the bits she wanted right then. She thought it must be how her wild cousins ate. For the first time, Abigail had favorite foods, and she felt very worldly.

Through Abigail’s Eyes: “Survival of the Skittish”

abigail survival of the skittish


Abigail relaxed in her loaf position, legs tucked under her, surveying her new territory. “I need a good ‘bolt-to’ spot,” she thought, “A place where I can run and hide in case there is danger.” Just then, the man entered the room and Abigail instinctively sat up, ready to bolt. “It’s just me, Abigail. There’s nothing to be afraid of,” he assured her. But she couldn’t help it. Even though she was beginning to trust the man, she didn’t know who else might suddenly appear. 

To pretty much anything that moves, a rabbit looks like a good snack. Their only defense is to run and hide. After hundreds of years and countless generations, the rabbits who survived were the ones who were always on guard and ran and hid from their predators. So, the rabbits that are around today are programmed to be cautious. Abigail liked to call it “survival of the skittish”. 

She took a walk-about around the living room, searching for a good hiding place. First, she checked behind the couch. “Nope. Too open,” she thought. Then, she hopped into the dining room and looked behind the bar. “Nope. Only one entrance,” she observed. But as she came back into the living room, she noticed a little gap between the bookcase and the wall, just barely as wide as her head. “Hmmm, I wonder what’s back there?” she pondered. 

She stuck her nose into the crack and sniffed. Not sensing anything threatening, she made herself skinny and squeezed her furry little body into the crevice. It was tight, but she could manage. As she rounded the corner, she could see light at the other end of the tunnel. She pushed on through, and popped her head out the other side. The exit was in the corner of the room, hidden from sight. “This is perfect.” she thought, “Two entrances, completely hidden, and just big enough for a bunny.”

There were a couple of “roots” growing in the way of the entrances, but she could fix that. She set about chewing on the roots to get them out of the way, when the man came over to investigate. “What are you doing, sweetheart?” he asked. “Just clearing the entrance,” thought Abigail, as she paused and looked up at him with her big brown eyes. She continued chewing and tugging at the root. It was very stubborn. “Um, sweetie, you probably shouldn’t chew on those cords,” said the man. Abigail stopped. “Why not?” she wondered.

The man disappeared for a few minutes and came back with some tools. With one tug (he made it look so easy) he lifted the root off the ground and hung it on a nail, so it was no longer in the way. “That works,” thought Abigail. Now she didn’t need to chew the root herself. It didn’t really taste very good anyway.

It was time for a test run. Abigail bolted around the living room to build up speed and then made a beeline for the sliver of an entrance. Without even slowing down, she disappeared into the crevice. The man stood there, dumbfounded. He couldn’t believe she’d fit through the opening, let alone at full speed. She stuck her head out the other side and looked at him. “What do you think?” she asked. “I’m impressed!” said the man. From then on, the man was careful never to block the entrances to her bolt-to spot.

Now, when Abigail played out in the open, she felt more secure, knowing that she had a safe place to hide. 

Through Abigail’s Eyes: “Finally Free”

abigail finally free


The morning sun gently woke Abigail. She opened her eyes and saw the inside of her familiar cage. “Did I dream all that business about being moved?” she wondered. But when she peered out through the bars, everything looked different. Beside her was a big window that she could look out, and in front of her was soft carpet as far as she could see.

“Good morning!” said a cheerful voice. It was the man she had met yesterday. This was definitely not a dream. “Did you sleep OK?” he asked. The man opened the lid to her cage and slowly reached in to pet her. He seemed trustworthy so far. She didn’t back away this time, and granted him permission to touch her head. “Welcome to your new home,” he said, “Would you like to explore?” 

He slid open the door to her cage, and backed away. Abigail looked at the open door and was frozen with fear. She was all alone, about to face a new world. Rabbits are curious creatures, and curiosity soon overcame her fear. She hopped out onto the carpet. It felt good on her feet. It gave her good traction in case she needed to run, which made her feel more secure. She scanned the room for danger, but all was still. So, she bravely ventured out into the open. There were so many new sights to behold and smells to investigate!

“This is your new home,” explained the man, “It’s all yours!” Did she hear him right? The entire place was hers? “You never have to go back in the cage if you don’t want to,” he said. Yes, she had heard right! The man left her alone to set up her new space. It was so big! She was used to living in 8 square feet. This was a hundred times bigger! It was like walking out onto a football field.

Abigail explored the living room, and chose a spot by the bottom of a tall window for her home base. Behind her, she had an unobstructed view of the outside world where she could watch squirrels playing in the trees. In front of her, she could keep an eye on everything going on in her territory. The spot was far enough out of the way that she could run for cover if something unfamiliar showed up. It was perfect. She marked that spot with a few little poops to let everyone know that this was now her spot.

Then she chose her bathroom. “No more pooping where I eat and sleep!” she thought. She chose a spot as far away as she could from her napping place, but still close enough that she could make a beeline back to home base if needed. She left a pile of poops and a splash of pee to let the man understand this was her bathroom. He obliged, and put down a piece of cardboard and a towel. She understood, and from then on, faithfully used that as her bathroom. No words were spoken, but they were communicating! This man was listening to her!

Late that night, an excited Abigail ran laps around the dining room table and dashed through the living room. As she ran past her old cage, she thought, “No more. I’m never going back in there!” 

Her wish had come true. At last, she was free!

Through Abigail’s Eyes: “Wish With All Your Heart”

abigail wish with you heart


It was a bright and sunny morning, the kind bunnies love. Abigail, a tiny little chestnut brown Netherland Dwarf rabbit, sat in her cage, munching on hay. She peered through the bars of her cage, and could see sunlight filtering through a window. “I wonder if my family will let me out today,” she thought. Abigail loved it when she was let out to play. She would run as fast as she could, and then jump in the air for joy. Lately the family had been very busy, so there wasn’t much out-of-the-cage time.

Abigail wished she could play at night. That’s when she was wide awake. At night, though, the family was asleep and she was locked in her cage. One night, she looked up through the window at the starry sky and wished with all her heart that she could be free to run, play, explore, and rest wherever she liked.

The warm sun made her sleepy, and she started to doze off. Suddenly she was jarred awake by a big commotion. The family burst into the room. “Are they letting me out?” she wondered excitedly. But instead of opening the door, they picked up the entire cage and carried her outside. This had never happened before. Abigail was frightened. Rabbits like to be firmly planted on the ground, not up in the air. “What is happening?” she worried.

Outside, a man peered at her through the bars. She had never met him before. He spoke softly to her, “Well, hello there! Aren’t you cute?” She eyed him with caution. What did he want? The family opened the lid to her cage. She felt very vulnerable. The man reached his hand in to touch her. “Whoa, I don’t know you that well!” she thought. She backed away.  

Rabbits have four levels of defense; run, hide, lunge, and bite. Abigail looked around. There was nowhere to run in her tiny cage. She looked for somewhere to hide. The only place was under the green plastic igloo that she often perched upon for a better view. Abigail dove under the igloo. “Please don’t hurt me,” she begged.

The family lifted the igloo off of her, and just like that, she was again utterly vulnerable. The stranger reached in again to touch her. Time for level three of defense! She lunged at him, but stopped short of biting him. That was reserved as a last resort. “Back off!” she grunted. It worked. The man backed away.

She heard the family apologize and say, “She’s normally not so mean.” Abigail thought, “I’m not mean, I’m scared!” The stranger seemed to understand, and smiled at her and said softly, “Don’t be scared, little one. I won’t hurt you.” Again, she eyed him with caution. The man and the family talked, and then they placed a smaller box with a handle on it near the door to her cage. She hesitated, but it was somewhere to hide, so she hopped inside. The door closed behind her. She was trapped. She thought to herself, “I’m a tough bunny,” and put on a brave face, trying her best to not look weak even though she was terrified. “What’s going to happen to me?” she wondered. 

Although she didn’t understand, the wish she had made long ago was about to come true.