Fraternal order

When we decided to adopt a second rabbit as a companion for our pet, events transpired in such as way that we eventually ended up bringing home not one, but two incredibly adorable Holland lops to join Cecil, who had recently been spayed upon our learning that she was female despite a year of assuming otherwise (having been told erroneously by the breeder that the little guy was a guy). There was a lot of reason fueling the decision to expand our brood by 200%, including the fact that bonding rabbits can be a lengthy and challenging process, and we wanted the brothers to have each others’ company in the event that Cecil didn’t take to them readily. Add to that the photos of those baby bunnies that Fabienne, the woman who’d bred them, sent, showcasing the adoring fraternity between the two. The pictures featured them always together, curled around each other to the point that it was hard to tell whose floppy ear or furry paw was whose, and we knew they shouldn’t be separated. However, if we didn’t adopt them both, how could we guarantee that someone else wouldn’t take one but not the other? Well, we couldn’t allow the possibility of that Sophie’s Choice development, so it forced our hand to ensure their lifetime of togetherness.

Cecil accepted her adoptive brothers and seemed to enjoy the company of other mammals more similar to her in speciation, but it soon became clear that they were a workout for her, constantly following her around and intruding upon the alone time she sought in restful places. It turns out that what we’d perceived as the lonely lifestyle she’d lived before no longer existed in any way, shape, or form, and she sometimes took to hiding from the boys, or trying to, in hopes of temporarily recapturing the blissful state of solitude. She really was very fond of them, often cleaning those hard-to-reach spots on their heads and staying put when they would get comfortable and proceed to take a nap on top of her, but clearly she wanted a break from all of the attention from time to time.

One day, she was fully sprawled out in repose on the kitchen mat, eyes half closed and looking positively exhausted, when my middle-child daughter, whose existence is sandwiched between male siblings, walked into the room and took notice.

“Geez, Cecil,” she said. “Those brothers really tire you out.” She walked over to the fruit bowl, selected a plum with the hand not holding a book, and took a bite while considering the pet spread as lengthwise as possible on the floor. Then she nodded knowingly and walked back to her reading chair, calling over her shoulder, “Yup. I get it, Cecil. I get it.”


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