The Bunny in the Basement

Shortly before my middle child graduated from high school, he came home with a cage and plopped it on top of his dresser. My son had rescued a Netherland dwarf bunny, one of the smallest of the rabbit breeds. His science teacher got canned and abandoned it in the classroom after it had been poked and prodded for a year. For twelve more years, we were stewards of God’s little beast.

The righteous take care of their beasts (Proverbs 12:10), so we did. A closed-in area in the basement became Zero’s turf. It included an obstacle course with enticing treats and chew toys, a large tv box covered with a flannel sheet for roosting, and an open cage where he slept, drank, and soiled. Nearby sat a tray filled with hay, a bowl of pellets, and a smorgasbord of fresh vegetables and fruits.

But this two-pound herculean ball of brown fluff repeatedly broke through our walls of Jericho to rule over the entire basement-and to taunt death. He became a sentry, a stalker, and a spider slayer. The basement came alive with Zero’s energy. He’d race back and forth, leap onto high shelves, toss things in the air, circle visitors, and chew on anything.

“Check out what the beast did!” I showed my husband, Michael, a pair of his ravaged jeans.

“Those are my new HRC 2 flame-resistant jeans! I just put them in the laundry basket,” he moaned. Then he said, “Some loose dogs rubbed up against me while I petted them. Zero must have smelled their scents.” Our tiny terminator “killed” the ferocious dog predators. Actually, his destruction of heavy-duty blue jeans in warp speed is the stuff of legends, so I saved Zero’s masterpiece.

Not long after this incident, my daughter, Christa, discovered another of Zero’s masterpieces-her Levi’s. She fumed, “Look what that little sh*t did to my jeans! He hates me. He even growls at me!”

“He’s a fun-sized herbivore,” I told her. “He doesn’t eat flesh. And growl? Seriously, does he bark, too?”

I put an old pair of jeans on the tv box where Zeronardo da Bunny roosted to appease his need to create art with denim. He showed no interest in them. When Christa did laundry and heard him scampering nearby, she’d brace herself fearing he’d go airborne from one of his perches and latch onto her jugular.

So, I encouraged Christa to try to befriend the little grass-eating fluffball. She knelt down and, leaning backwards, gingerly offered him a stick to chew. He grumbled long and low. He snorted. Then a muffled, guttural growl vibrated from his throat as he catapulted through the air. She screamed and jackknifed sideways causing him to glance off her leg.

Jumping up, Christa shouted, “He attacked me! …scream, scream! I told you he hated me!” Then she ranted on about bunny stew.

Besides almost becoming an entrée, Zero’s stealthy moves provided more ways he could off himself. Concerned, Michael said, “When I’m doing anything around my workbench, I have to shuffle my feet. He’s always disappearing and reappearing wherever I step.”

If Zero didn’t greet me at the bottom of the stairs, I’d find him stuck on some ridiculously high shelf. “If you jump, you’ll break every bone in your eggshell body,” I’d warn our adrenalin junkie before lowering him to the floor. Sometimes I brought Zero upstairs or outside and set his cage next to me, but he preferred basking in patches of sunlight on the basement floor unconcerned about predators.

When my oldest son and his friends played video games in a room in the basement, Zero would scratch at the door to gain entrance. He’d stare at their thumbs going crazy fast all over the controllers, then stare at the television screen, and then chew on the game controller cords. Zero often did bunny binkies (jumps and twists to show happiness) for them.

Then there were the spiders.

Unlike his gamer buddies, Zero played with real monsters. Spiders were a curiosity to him, so he’d nudge them. When they scurried away, he’d pounce on them like a homicidal maniac. Arachnid corpses with curled legs were sprawled out face down, but not squashed, helter-skelter on the basement floor.

When part of Zero’s forehead swelled up into a freakish lump, I took our two-headed attack rabbit to the vet. He told me, “It looks like he messed with a spider, possibly a wolf spider, and got bit.”

The vet had a difficult time restraining Zero as he squirmed all over the exam table. “How old is your bunny?” he asked when he finally trapped him in his hands.

When I told him 13-years-old, he said, “You’re kidding! He behaves like a much younger rabbit.” And he promptly examined his teeth. They were worn down to nubs!

“Wow, bunnies rarely live this long. They’re very fragile,” he said. Ha! I found that amusing. Maybe chewing on electrical cords gave Zero superpowers.

For the last few weeks of Zero’s life, he stayed in his designated domain. My pep talks and coddling were to no avail. He feebly hopped into a far corner, rolled onto his side, and passed. Overcome with sadness, we buried him by our beloved collie, Wind ( Two Very Different Dogs ), in the backyard.

The basement became eerie again with spiders roaming freely. When I walked, only air circled my feet. There were no playful sounds of chew toys being thrown into the air, no scurrying of little paws on the floor, and no fresh-cut grass smells from Timothy hay-just creepy silence.

Zero and his rabbit family symbolize fertility, procreation, and humility for many Christians. They’re small and humble herbivores that are prey for a whole horde of salivating carnivores. But because God protects their existence by having them rapidly reproduce new life, they’re also beacons of hope.

Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, bunnies beget and multiply throughout the lands. Here is what my fake research found about Zero’s lineage:

  • Peter lived for 259 years. He begat Thor, Pixie, Twitch, Bugs, Daisy, and Moose.
  • Thor lived for 175 years. He begat Brutus, Nibbles, Thumper, Ziggy, and Dolly.
  • Nibbles lived for 133 years. He begat Big Foot, Muffin. Hercules, and Patch.
  • Muffin lived for 98 years. He begat Sassy, Goober, Snuffy, Fluffy, and Buffy.
  • Fluffy lived for 27 years. He begat Fuzzy, Chomper, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Zero.
  • Zero lived for 13 years. He begat love, companionship, and trust.

Zero, a bunny that breathed life into our basement, had been one of God’s beloved creatures entrusted to us. This Netherland Dwarf showed us that even small, seemingly insignificant, creatures are unique. Being stewards of God’s little kamikaze beast, a mischievous, quirky, madcap bunny, proved to be an honor.

For every animal of the forest is mine, beasts by the thousands on my mountains. I know every bird in the heights; whatever moves in the wild is mine.

Psalm 50:10-11, NAB

Take good care of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds;

Proverbs 27:23, NAB

Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.

Matthew 10:29, NAB

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Published by Nancy Homlitas

I'm a grandmother, mother, and wife well-seasoned with decades of humdrum yuck smothered with pure joy. The narratives and photographs I plan to share are meant to brighten moods and spawn smiles. There's nothing more hilarious than a true experience, especially in hindsight! And there's nothing more uplifting than a pleasing picture, particularly if it enhances a story. As a feel good bonus, blog posts will have a relevant bible verse included.

34 thoughts on “The Bunny in the Basement

  1. What a great story, Nancy! I loved learning about Zero and his capers. I truly enjoy how funny your writing is and how each of your posts gives readers insight in your family and your faith.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Ann. I’m pleased Zero gave you a chuckle or two. It’s such a pleasure to share God’s Word and joyful moments-even when those moments may not have been so joyful at the time!


  2. What a character! I got attached to Zero simply by reading your memories. I’ve never raised rabbits, but much of his behavior is new to a novice like me.

    Any significance to the name?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Rabbits were novice to our family, too, but we had more than a decade to learn about the habits of our Netherland dwarf! My son said that another student in one of his science teacher’s classrooms named Zero. He doesn’t know the reason behind the name. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My mom found two baby bunnies abandoned in her garden one time. She asked me what she should name them. My husband answered, “Left and Right.” She was horrified at our humor. We live on the edge of a little mountain where squirrels and rabbits rarely come. A few years ago, we had a bunny living in our garden – I loved it. I named him Tennessee Whiskers. He added to much character to our home. We didn’t see him last summer, but I hope he comes back. I loved your story of Zero. Usually, friends’ bunnies just live in cages. I love how yours lived an exciting life. I didn’t know bunnies growled, either.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate your kind words, Maryleigh. I hope you get your wish and Tennessee Whiskers visits your garden again. Most gardeners put up barriers so critters like rabbits can’t eat their crops. You must have a soft heart for God’s precious animals as we did for Zero. Thanks for commenting!


    2. In my childhood my family brought home two hamsters, one of each sex, each labeled in handwriting on its own little carton. One of us suggested naming them. “Looks like someone already has,” another of us said, reading the boxes. “This one is ‘Tamale,’ and this one’s ‘Male'”… Well, those names stuck ~ they were Male and Tamale for the rest of their days.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You are so creative! I love how you mix the Bible with your story! I’m following you! Bunnies are my top favorite pets bc of their unique personalities, like Zero! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m pleased my style of writing appeals to you, and thanks for deciding to follow my blog. I appreciate your interest and will try my best to give you a chuckle or two while sharing God’s Word. Zero did have a unique personality-that’s for sure! Bunnies are awesomely adorable, so it’s understandable that they’re your favorite pet. Thanks for visiting my blog!


  5. I had to read this over again bc of your humor and how much I relate my past bunnies to Zero! I’m sharing with my husband and friends to start their day out with a bang. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! Did you have Netherland dwarf bunnies, too? They’re so stinking cute, but they’re not real keen about cuddles-at least Zero wasn’t! Thank you for sharing Zero’s story with your family and friends. If you like animal stories, you may enjoy my blog Two Very Different Dogs. Fortunately, I didn’t have either when I had Zero. Thank you again for taking the time to comment.


  6. You made me fall in love with Zero! How adorable and full of personality he was! We inherited a bunny in Germany from a military family moving back to the states. Snuggles also loved chewing on electric cords and going out to the playground with us to hang out with all the children, She was more like a little dog than a bunny. I love your humor, Nancy. Thanks for cheering us up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Patty. So did Snuggles like to snuggle? Zero didn’t! He liked being petted, but he didn’t like being handled, in part, because he was poked for his first year of life in a school setting. Snuggles sounds like she was a fun addition to your family. I appreciate your comment and kind words, and I thoroughly enjoy your blog!


    1. Zero certainly did have quite an endearing personality. When I’m in our basement, I imagine him stretched out in the patches of sunlight shining on the floor. Thank you for visiting my blog and sharing your thoughts, Nancy.

      Liked by 1 person

            1. Well, it was Gay (one syllable!), but I now use my maiden name, Hogue, as a middle name since using it professionally. I wonder if you’re a possible partial doppleganger? 🙂


              1. Perhaps so! One of my daughters-in-law definitely is–her name is also Nancy Ann! Our son almost didn’t date her because of that!! We’ve had great fun over the years with out matching names.

                Liked by 1 person

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