Grooming Little Joe – Part 2
Mai sent me the first part of her volunteering story, Grooming Little Joe, a couple weeks ago. Here is the much-awaited conclusion:
So there I was. I had severely dampened my self-confidence by creating the debacle with the Shop-Vac, and I was trying to massage Little Joe, who was a faster bunny than anyone might think, given that he only had three legs. I had to be down at his level to support his hindquarters but he hopped in circles around me so fast that I twisted the soft, imitation-sheepskin rug into a vortex of confusion, and all the other bunnies were hopping and hiding or scrambling. Grace, another of Little Joe’s pen-mates, huddled in the corner, and that’s when I knew I had to stop. Grace is one of the rare gems of bunnyhood, the Koh-I-Noor of the many bunny jewels at SaveABunny. She’s a New Zealand White, blind, but she radiates a gentle healing energy that is so perceptible that Marcy puts the bunnies who are new or sick into a pen with her. One of the first bunnies I ever held, she made me her grateful servent forever by bestowing on me my first bunny kiss – she licked my neck as I held her. I knew without asking that Marcy had put Grace in the x-pen with Little Joe and Scooter to help soothe them through the difficulties and discomforts of their leg problems.
When Grace got scared, I stopped and petted everyone. I unwound myself from the pretzel into which I’d made myself and just let Grace’s calm transcend the chaos in a soft, misty tide that slowly broke over our tableau.
Since I had been “helping” Little Joe run laps around the communal area, I decided that I would join Grace’s calm aura with my own and do a little massaging. So I petted Little Joe until he calmed down, sat very still, and rubbed his flank and the sides of his body, loosening the muscles. I wasn’t sure that I was doing any good, but Marcy came in as we were leaving, and she said that he looked more comfortable. I couldn’t tell a difference, but since Marcy is the original Bunny Whisperer, I trusted her judgment.
By this time, a little bunny trifecta had formed: Grace, Scooter and Little Joe huddled all together, allowing me to pet all of them at the same time. And this is where the healing started – for all of us. Little Joe had his tight muscles massaged and got support so that he could hop somewhat normally for a little while. I massaged Scooter’s kickstand leg and the muscles around it so that he could rest a little from the tension that must accumulate when he moves. And Grace herself, the Bringer of Tranquility, relaxed into the symbiotic relationship, the give and take of healing energy accepted and transformed into gratitude for her. This silent interaction did not stop at the lagomorphic boundary; the bunnies shared themselves generously with the still-ashamed (because of the Shop-Vac Disaster) human.
When everyone had settled down and relaxed for a while, I stepped quietly out of their area to let them rest in that primal circle of touch, vision, and scent. Although I wanted to put my head right next to them and fall asleep inhaling their warm-blanket bunny fragrance, there were other bunnies to groom, other little furry beings to massage, comb, hug, and kiss. Mark and I spent the rest of our allocated three hours grooming the rest of the bunnies in that one room, taking our minds out of ourselves for one blessed afternoon and surrendering our world-worn spirits to the vagaries of bunniness: the calm bunnies, the nervous bunnies, the wiggly bunnies, the bitey bunnies, and the curious bunnies. We left reluctantly, as we always do, with our spirits soothed and our clothes covered with bunny hair. It had been a good day altogether, and I had learned one important lesson: to let sleeping Shop-Vacs lie.