Please feed your rabbit.
“It’s sooooo boring! It is so boring to feed Emily.”
I know it is boring but when we have pets we need to take care of them. It is important to make sure our pets always have clean water available and plenty of food. It is boring but it is something we have to do.
“But I don’t want to do it. I am too tired to do it.”
And on and on and on it goes. For a long time, I took care of the bunny. Emily is a Holland Lop that we adopted from a shelter. Our neighbor and friend had a bunny that we would sometimes watch if she needed to go away. We fell in love with this rabbit and my daughter really wanted her own bunny.
What little girl doesn’t want a bunny? I always did. I can understand the desire. So we adopted one a couple weeks before my girl was set to have heart surgery. I was a ball of emotions then and she could have asked me for just about anything and I would have said yes.
Lately, every day has been a bit of a struggle to get her to take care of the bunny. We had helped a lot in the beginning because she was younger. She didn’t need to remember to feed an animal, that wasn’t something I expected of her. But now she is a little older and she knows it has to get done. Recently she seems completely uninterested in caring for her bunny. I will remind her, which is something I expect to have to do every day, and she will immediately start crying about how boring it is and how tired she is.
This morning I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked her some questions.
“Why do you like having Emily?”
“Do you think it’s fair that Emily can’t come out of her cage because you don’t watch her?”
“Do you think it’s fair that Emily can’t get her own food and water and has to wait for you to feed and water her?”
“Do you like to be hungry and thirsty? When you are hungry and thirsty can you get yourself something to eat or drink? Can Emily?”
There were a lot of tears. I suggested that perhaps Emily needs to go to a new home where she can be free of her cage and never have to be thirsty or hungry. Maybe Emily needs to go to someone who doesn’t think it is too boring to take care of her. We talked about responsibility and how it is important to do boring things sometimes. I said how boring it was for me to fold laundry but if I didn’t fold laundry we would always have to dig through a big pile to find a pair of underwear or a dish towel.
She really does love her bunny. She was beside herself when we were talking about rehoming her. I cried with her. I told her how sorry I was that we had to talk about making such a hard decision but that it was important that a pet we love is happy. I explained how many other things I have to do and that I am not willing to add her pet to my never ending list.
I don’t want to make her sad and I certainly don’t want to break her heart but I have to hold her to this. I have to stick to my boundaries. It isn’t like the bunny is our only pet. It isn’t like I don’t have three kids to take care of. The decision will ultimately be mine, but I will listen to her and empathize with her. I hope that we won’t have to find a new home for Em but my daughter will need to show that she really wants to keep her. She will have to work for it.
Even if it is boring.