Sometimes an animal comes into your life and works their furry way into your heart.
Harvey was not one of those animals.
Abandoned in a ditch, 300 yards away from the Cat and Rabbit Rescue centre, I think Harvey had one dispute too many with his previous owners. Why else would you chuck a cardboard box out the window, instead of driving 30 seconds further and delivering your unwanted animal to sanctuary. I expect Harvey threatened to chew off the toes of their youngest child and they’d just had enough of his attitude, and slung him sideways.
He was found happily growling at passers by through a hole he’d chewed in his box. In fact, he was probably only moments from freedom ,and certain death by road or myxomatosis, when the great hand of Monique snatched him up and delivered him, thence forth, to us.
Harvey was a Houdini amongst rabbits. In the 9 years we had him, he ran away no less than 15 times. I spent many an hour crashing through stinging nettles searching for that growling, scratching, biting ball of fluff.
I began to wonder if his escapology was due to loneliness – so we tried a little experiment. Usually I am against animal testing, but in this instance, a guinea pig seemed the obvious solution for a lonely rabbit.
It was a very bad idea.
We recruited the toughest, meanest guinea in the garden, and introduced them. All went well, they seemed quite happy, until the moment we turned our backs…
POUNCE! BIFF! SMACK!
Harvey didn’t really take to Bugsy and Bugsy didn’t really take to being smacked about.
So Harvey tried his own experiment in friendship. We came down one morning to an open hutch, white fur drifting across the grass and the pungent, sour smell of fox. Well that friendship was never going to work. I feared the worst.
‘I’m sorry children’, said I, ‘I think we may have lost Harvey for good this time.’
‘ We haven’t Mummy, look he’s over there, under that caravan,’ said Small Boy.
I looked under the caravan and back at the mass of tumbling fur floating free of its owner and back again at what looked, to me, like a scrumpled Asda bag.
‘I’m so sorry, but that’s just a white plastic bag. Why don’t you go with Daddy and I’ll tidy up here.’
I saw the children in and returned to the garden with a heavy heart and a dustpan and brush. There, sitting in the middle of the grass, absolutely unharmed, was Harvey. Perhaps the white fur belonged to the underbelly of the foolish fox, Harvey looked as right as rain.
He wasn’t lonely, he was just belligerent.
He had Small Boy and Daughter, he had the dogs and the cat and he even had a chicken who adored him, and mooned after him like a love sick teen.
After 10 years, I thought he’d live for ever.
Nobody lives forever.
RIP Harvey Evans, Bunny of Infinite Bravery.