CHAPTER 88 – Team Rabbit
“OK, Abigail. I’m off to visit Mocha. I’ll be back around dinner time,” said Dad. Abigail watched Dad head out the door. He took a cooler filled with tasty treats like cilantro, carrot tops, dandelion leaves, romaine lettuce, and some willow leaves — all stuff from her “stash”. She didn’t mind. She always had plenty and was happy to share with rabbits in need.
Every Thursday, Dad drove 40 minutes to meet up with Abigail’s Aunt Chelsea and Chelsea’s Dad, Russ, to bring treats and clean out “Mocha’s Palace” as they called it. They dubbed it “Treat Thursday”.
It all began shortly after Dad adopted Abigail. With Dad’s new interest in rabbits, Russ mentioned that he met a man named Alvin, who had a pet rabbit named Mocha. Alvin lived at an assisted living center where Russ volunteered. Truth be told, Russ hadn’t paid much attention to the rabbit until Abigail showed them how individual, loving, and interesting these animals really are.
Curious about Mocha, Chelsea and Dad accompanied Russ to visit Alvin so they could meet Mocha. Alvin, a lifelong animal lover, had taken in the orange mini-lop about five years earlier when the facility owner’s daughter no longer wanted to care for him. Though he was a disabled vet, Alvin did his best to care for Mocha. But his physical disabilities made it a challenge for him to clean Mocha’s living quarters, shop for fresh food, and give him pets.
Though Mocha’s living conditions weren’t ideal, it was clear that Alvin loved Mocha dearly, and Mocha brought much joy to Alvin’s life. It was out of the question to find a better home for Mocha. So instead, the three of them made a commitment to do everything they could to make Mocha’s life better, given the circumstances.
First, they bought him a bigger place to live, which they dubbed “the palace”. It was much bigger and nicer than what he had. Then, every Thursday afternoon, they met to clean Mocha’s living area, bring fresh greens and treats, and give him lots of love. In addition, Dad ordered some high quality hay from Small Pet Select to improve Mocha’s diet. They even took Mocha to the vet for a checkup and had him fixed so he wouldn’t be so frustrated.
Sometimes, Dad would pet Mocha and whisper, “I wish I could give you a better home, but your daddy needs you now. Someday, when you are done being such a good friend to your dad, I’ll take you home to live with me and my rabbits. I promise.” Mocha seemed to understand and tooth-chattered at Dad.
Chelsea nicknamed the four of them “Team Rabbit”. She came to look forward to the weekly rabbit visits. It was a way for her to have a bond with an animal, since she couldn’t have pets of her own.
One day, Dad came back from a visit and announced excitedly to Abigail, “Abigail, you’ll never guess what happened! There are two Mochas now!” Dad explained, “A new bunny appeared out of nowhere—like from heaven. A neighbor found a mini-lop that looked like Mocha wandering on the street. He thought that Mocha had escaped, so he brought him to Alvin. Turns out, Mocha was in his palace!”
Alvin took in the bunny on a trial basis to see if he’d get along with Mocha. Alvin named the second rabbit Hobo, since he was wandering the streets like a hobo. As it turned out, the two rabbits bonded immediately. They seemed to know they needed each other. Mocha needed a rabbit friend, and Hobo needed a place to live.
Ironically, Team Rabbit’s purpose was to make life better for the rabbits, but as it turned out, the rabbits made the humans’ lives better by bringing the four of them closer together as friends.
Little did Dad know, though, his word would be put to the test.
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