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The Story of Alice the Rabbit: A Moment with Bill Reflection

Updated on April 15, 2015

A Lesson from the Distant Past

“Bill, shut your mouth and open your damned eyes and ears. You just might learn something.”

So sayeth my loving father.

Oh, he loved me all right. He was blunt for sure. He was a no-nonsense fireplug of a man who knew without a doubt that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. It made no difference to him that there were obstacles along that straight line. This was a guy who did not detour. And the shortest distance from ignorance to enlightenment, for my father, was blunt language.

Thus, he told me to shut up, listen and observe. He also told me that what I knew about life at the ripe old age of twelve wouldn’t fill a thimble, but if I was willing to learn I just might be halfway intelligent by the time I died.

So here I am today, fifty-four years after my dad taught me that lesson in his own loving manner, and I’m still practicing it. My mouth is shut, my eyes and ears are open, and damned if I’m not still learning.

Let me tell you a story.

Days after Alice joined us
Days after Alice joined us | Source

A Rabbit Named Alice

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

Plato

That was her name at the animal shelter so please, don’t shoot the messenger. I doubt we would have named her Alice. Based on her actions early on while living with us, we probably would have called her “Witch” or some other appropriate name.

Alice was a year old when my wife, Bev, picked her up one fine summer’s day at the Olympia Animal Rescue Center. She’s now been with us about eight months. She is a Satin Angora rabbit, just the softest, fluffiest rabbit you could ever hope to hold. There was only one problem: Alice did not want to be held.

Now this poses a problem with Angora’s because they need to have their wool harvested from time to time or it will become matted and gross. Trimming Alice was a very unpleasant adventure, for her and most certainly for us.

Did you know that rabbits growl? Well Alice did, every single time we reached into her cage to pick her up for her trimmings. Growl first, then lunge at us, and if that didn’t get our attention she would nip our fingers. I’ve got a small scar to prove it.

We were told by Animal Rescue that Alice had previously been owned by a disabled woman who really had no time or way to properly care for Alice. Basically Alice spent the first year of her life in a rabbit cage with little or no human interaction. She was rarely held. Hell, she was rarely talked to. Day after day she just sat in her cage in a room. So by the time we got Alice, she was, to put it mildly, anti-social and a bit aggressive towards her new owners.

Cages are a thing of the past for Alice
Cages are a thing of the past for Alice | Source

That Left Us with Two Choices

Even an animal, if you show genuine affection, gradually trust develops... If you always showing bad face and beating, how can you develop friendship?

Dalai Lama

We could either cut bait and give Alice away, or we could do what we had signed on to do, which was take care of Alice with all the love we give to our dogs, cat, quail and chickens.

That choice was a simple one to make. We happen to love animals and we’ve never met an animal we were willing to give up on.

We took it slow with her. We interacted with her daily. We spoke to her by name. We put our hands next to her cage, and after about a week she would voluntarily come over and sniff our hands. A few weeks later we would open the door to her cage and give her a treat, all the while speaking softly to her.

Slowly the transformation happened. One day when I was reaching into her cage to give her a treat she came over and sniffed my hand. I asked her if I could touch her and then, miracle of miracles, she let me stroke her fur without growling, lunging or biting.

We took that encouraging sign and built upon it. We built her a rabbit run in the back yard where she could run and eat grass. We sat next to that run and talked to her. Eventually she would see us coming and come over and greet us. We built on that.

Today Alice has her outdoor hutch attached to the house and she can come and go through a doggie door. When the weather is bad she goes into our bedroom and hangs out with us. We sit on the floor and Alice climbs up on our laps and we pet her, talk to her, and tell her everything is okay.

She still has her moments when she has no desire for us to pet her. She lets us know by lunging or just turning away from us, and that is fine. But compared to those first few weeks, she rarely has those moments any longer. Color this story a success as Alice is now a functioning member of our family.

Observe and Learn

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.

Maya Angelou

So I got to thinking about Alice and the lessons learned. Are you listening, Dad?

This is what I have learned.

For her first year, Alice had little or no interaction with humans. She lived in a 2’x3’ wire cage. Humans terrified her. They were big, they were rough in their treatment of her, and they treated her like she was nothing more than a fiber-producing machine.

Her reaction to that treatment or lack thereof: she struck out in fear and anger. She growled. She lunged. She bit. Survival-mode kicked in, and Alice relied on her defense mechanisms to keep her safe.

Slowly, Alice has responded to love. She has learned to trust. She has been given a safe environment where caring people interact with her daily, and in turn she has taken the first tentative steps towards mutual trust and love. It is a wonder to behold. She has allowed herself to be vulnerable and in return she has received compassion.

Alice after eight months of love and compassion
Alice after eight months of love and compassion | Source

What do you think? Could you learn something from Alice?

See results

Lesson Learned

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

Lao Tzu

If you think this story is just about rabbits you obviously need to open your ears and hear the message.

Is it not the same with human beings?

Treat me with disrespect….make me fear…and I will lunge and bite.

Treat me with love and respect and I will give the same to you tenfold.

My dad would be proud if he were alive today. I don’t talk much. I spend most of my time listening and observing. There is much to be learned if I’m willing to learn.

Some of my greatest teachers are animals.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Absolutely love the take away here, Bill and agree it is most definitely nurture that can make all the difference with all god's creatures. Thanks for the reminder here and wishing you a wonderful Wednesday now! ;)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Lovely, just my kind of Hub Billy. Shucks, now I know why I bite and scratch so much! Its all because I don't get enough loooove.

      I have this lovely image of Alice sharing your bedroom and knowing that it won't be long before you and Bev make her a Rabbit Pod from her very own coat of fur.

      Being an observer myself I understand the workings of the human and animal world and truth be told, we are not really that different. You hit the nail on the head there.

      Have a lovely day Billy, this bit of writing really made my day.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Janine. I was hoping some of you would enjoy a little simile/analogy/metaphor this morning. :) I appreciate it, my friend, and Happy Wednesday to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, I didn't know you were a biter and scratcher. LOL Your secret is out, my friend.

      Thank you! We all need recognition, love, compassion, empathy, the feeling that we are noticed and we have value. Without those things, we are deserted animals. :)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I had the Angoras and Mini-lops years ago...so much fun. I kept a female dwarf in with my female Angora and she made her bed right on the Angora's back facing opposite direction. It was a sight.

      Animals really may be the very best and quickest way to learn patience and love. The surely keep us humble; just the act of caring for them.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Your hub made my day. Bill, I love stories of success with animals. The person usually ends up with the most loving pet of all, and I know that you must feel proud and enjoy Alice. That was my late sister’s name, so tell Alice that I love her name. Your photos of her are so adorable, and it is obvious that she now thinks she has a wonderful home.

      We had a similar problem with our cat, Cici. She had been surrendered to a local veterinarian by a man because she and his dog didn’t get along. The vet had her for a month, so she was six months old when we adopted her. She didn’t trust anybody because she had been so traumatized by that dog. It has taken three years, but now the motto in the house is “Cici Rules!”

      My dad wasn’t quite as abrupt, but he had his ways, too. His favorite way of chiding us was to say “you’re talkin’ when you should be listening.” Absolutely lovely hub. Voted up and beautiful.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, Alice is beautiful. I'm so glad she's learned to trust and allow herself to be loved. Poor thing. I feel sorry for her previous life, but all is well now. She has a loving home with you and Bev and even has her own entrance! How cool is that?

      Yes, we can learn much from animals. I was watching a Pileated Woodpecker carefully and methodically carve out a hole in a tree across the street. I assume she built a home for herself and perhaps a place to keep her eggs safe. In watching her, I was reminded of steps I need to take in my own life. In fact, it will be the topic of my next blog post.

      I really enjoyed this article, Bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, I love your story of the rabbit sleeping on the rabbit. That is just great. Thanks for being here and for sharing that very cool tale.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, MizB, for sharing about your cat. All we need is love...even animals. I love stories like yours and mine. We can learn so much if we just open up our hearts.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Sha. We learn lessons from woodpeckers. The answers to life's questions are right in front of us if we are willing to learn. I look forward to your next blog post. Thank you!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      It is amazing what patience, love and understanding can do. You were meant to find Alice and yes, I believe your Dad would be very proud of you. Voted up, beautiful, useful, interesting and awesome.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I think this might be the finest hub of yours that I have ever read. I learned something about keeping a rabbit as a pet, I learned something about you, and I learned something about love. This is a story and a moral I will never forget. H+ Voted up+++ and shared on fb.

      P.S. Do you have other pets-like a dog or cat? Do they play nice with the rabbit?

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I know exactly where you are coming from Bill. Animals react and adapt to how we treat them and so do people. We can learn a lot from our furred and feathered friends. Now the weather is cooling off here we often find three cats and two poodles sharing our bed. The new chickens come running whenever I venture outside in the hope of a treat and the wild red wings and king parrots feed from a feeder right outside our bedroom window. We must be doing something right. We used to have a rabbit called Rambo (quite an experience) but don't tell anyone..they are illegal in our state. A great lesson in your hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pop! I can picture my dad smiling down on me right now. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thank you Catherine. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Yes, we have two dogs and a cat. The cat is a constant companion to the rabbit. The one dog is too old to care...the other dog will play occasionally with Alice. There is no hostility among them.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, how interesting that rabbits are illegal there. I've never heard of that anywhere else. Why if I might ask?

      Our chickens are quite demanding for a treat. LOL I do love having animals.

      Thank you, John. I hope your Wednesday was a good one.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I love this story. It's all about love and kindness, such as we should offer each other. If only more people would offer the kind of compassion you showed Alice, no doubt this would be a better place to live. Your story makes me want to try harder to be a better person, especially to my stubborn neighbor (you know the story [smile]). I am inspired to treat her with the same compassion that you treated Alice. Maybe hearts will soften because of it. We shall see!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Rabbits are an introduced species to Australia and declared pest in Queensland. They reached plague proportions at one stage and then with the onset of drought they ate all the food in the cattle and sheep grazing land and decimated the environment. The Government introduced a disease called mixomotosis to eradicate them and built rabbit proof fences on the borders of Queensland and other states so more rabbits couldn't enter. Despite this the numbers seem to be increasing here recently and I saw one on the side of the road a few days ago.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 2 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Thanks for sharing your story. I always say when you treat anyone or any animal nice, you go much further in life. Alice is an adorable bunny, by the way.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Marlene, if you pull that one off I definitely want to hear it. I think Alice is much easier than your neighbor will be. :) Thank you my friend and Happy Wednesday to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Fascinating, John. Thanks for getting back to me with that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Jeannie. I don't see how we can go wrong treating people, and animals, with respect.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      I too was taught by my father to listen. No matter who or what it is, we can learn from their actions. It may just be what not to do, but we can learn.

      As far as animals, I have probably learned more from them than people.

      Another great read, Bill.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

      Bill I am hoping that when I start teaching that love will help those kids. Hopefully just having a person who cares and advocates for their needs will help my lessons slowly seep into their young brains. On s different note, my brother had a rabbit and their claws are the farthest thing away from cite a fluffy! Jamie

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is the sweetest story. I love how you and Bev give love and respect to animals. I had a terrible thing happen last weekend. My son and his wife Janie were visiting. We looked outside and saw a mama, daddy, and baby deer. They were just passing through. Janie grabbed her camra to take their picture when a shot rang out, she quickly ran inside to keep from getting shot. someone killed the beautiful buck. I must admit, I cried. I thought of Bamby. I saw that movie when I was around 10 and never forgot how I felt when a hunter killed her mother. People who would kill a dad in front of his baby is beyond cruel. I think what hurt me the most was my son's remark. When I said why would anyone do that, he said, " for the meat. " He felt no remorse.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I'll be first to admit I'm not much of an animal person... but, I appreciated and enjoyed the story, very much, every word. Thanks for sharing!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You and me both, Larry. Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jamie, you got that right. I'm always aware of Alice's claws. As for teaching, love worked for me for twenty years. I'm sure you'll be fine.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I'm sorry you had that experience. There are very clear divisions between hunters and non-hunters. I will never understand the joy of hunting, but I've given up trying to convince others of my viewpoint.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! It's good to know even a person who doesn't "adore" animals can appreciate this story.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      What a wonderful story about Alice. I am working on a cat that has been tossed around from one home to another and this is his forever home. Patience is something you also need lots of. You are also right about the oving in humans too. Love works only when you give it away.

      Thanks for the memories of when I had rabbits. I also got bit once too. They do not let go, that is for sure and I almost lost my thumb. I am glad that yours has healed as well.

      Thanks for the upifting story. I love animals!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      I can't get over how entertained I was with your hub slash reflection slash story, I am an animal lover so this hub sits well with me

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Debra. I have learned to wear gloves at times with Alice. She still have her days when she is a bit moody. :) Don't we all?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well I'm glad to hear it, Frank. Music to my ears, buddy. Thank you!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      What a beautiful bunny Alice is! Your title made me think this was going to be some sort of Alice in Wonderland reversal!!

      It's true how animals respond to love. Rabbits are wonderful but they can kick hard, can't they? And so can humans.

      Love and kindness are both necessary if we are to have any meaningful relationships, with either animals or humans. The vulnerability of some is astounding and it's our duty to care and protect.

      Ann

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      So, this is a Holland Fable. Very well done as always. Who wouldn't love Alice...but would everyone have the patience to work with her? Rabbits often start out shy but quickly warm up to humans and other animals, like dogs. Do I know from whence I speak? Yes, I've had rabbits. Though they lived in a cage, they were taken out daily to run around and play with their humans. Our dog loved them and followed them around unless they were following him.

      So, on to the fable, kindness is repaid by kindness. It's all about love and trust. Great hub and message.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      When I was in the first grade, my parents had a bunnies in the rabbit hutch. We lived out in the country and were able to have other small farm animals. Being an animal lover, and living far away from other children, the animals were my friends.

      I remember being quite ill and asked if I could have my favorite bunny come inside and sit on the bed with me. It was the most beautiful white bunny and it kept me happily occupied. Then, later that year, our bunnies began to disappear. One by one, they disappeared, usually during the day when my brother and I were in school. I loved my beautiful white bunny and would run to the bunny hutch every afternoon to make sure she was there. One afternoon, she was gone. It was quite strange, as once the rabbits were all gone, my mother adamantly refused to get any more. We got chickens after all the bunnies were gone. I never liked playing with the chickens.

      DJ.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good Evening Bill. Well, I am crying, which is always testimony to a wonderful story that is very well-told. I once adopted a feral kitten, thinking I knew what wild meant. It took a long, long time and so much patience on my part (probably his too) and then we had 12 wonderful years together. Blessings to you and Bev. Theresa

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. What a great hub. I have always been a firm believer that we can learn much from our four legged friends if only we watch, listen and observe. My mother-in-law likes to tell me that all it takes is showing love to an animal and it will return it tenfold for a lifetime. Have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good evening Ann!

      I haven't been kicked yet by Alice but I'm sure my time is coming. LOL She is actually much better with me than with Bev for whatever reason.

      Care and protect....indeed, my friend.

      Have a stupendous Thursday!

      Bill

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Hi Bill, Aw what a beautiful story, and loving ending. I am so glad Alice learned to trust you both, and yes it's a great learning tool for how we treat and are treated by other people too, nell

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! A Holland Fable! I like that....if I had more time I'd do an ebook of modern fables....but alas, my novel is calling me.

      Have a great remainder of the week.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, i'm guessing those rabbits ended up as dinner. :) Funny, but I have no trouble eating chickens although I raise them....but I have no desire to raise rabbits for meat. Way too cute. :)

      Thanks my friend.

      Bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Theresa, if I have you crying then my job is done. :) We actually have a formerly feral cat too...a real sweetheart now, but nine months ago, not so much. LOL

      blessings to you always

      bill

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Alice sure looks cute. I would love to have a cuddly bunny like her, but she probably wouldn't like living with my three dogs.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Oh Bill, this one made me cry. I love animals, and anytime they are frightened or unloved they react in the only way that they know.

      Thank you and Bev for loving Alice and giving her the patience and attention needed to let her know that she was in a loving/forgiving/accepting place. Humans need the same--to be loved, forgiven, accepted.

      Thank you for sharing another amazing hub. No, it's not just about rabbits. It's about "us".

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a lovely story with a lovely message, Bill. I'm so glad that you and Bev adopted Alice and that the rabbit-human relationship is progressing well, even if the process is taking time!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Beautiful story. Love and affection are great weapons. They give strength and courage and out-power your enemy and humble down him.

      Your father and you have spread this lesson and message through this story.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      This is truly a remarkable and beautiful story. Your Dad knew a thing or two and like most parents of that era would pass on thoughts and advice in a quiet, uncomplicated way. Alice is one happy rabbit thanks to you and Bev - I am an unashamed animal lover. I observe the connection, we all need love and care and acceptance. Top message - may you have many happy years with Alice. And just curious, how does your dog accept Alice?

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Lovely story, Bill. I had a similar experience with my daughter's boyfriend's cat Diesel. When we first met we didn't exactly hit it off. She wasn't aggressive but she didn't seem to take to my petting her. I avoided her when I visited my daughter and fussed over the other two cats. Circumstances forced my daughter to move back home with us and she brought the cats, Diesel included.

      Diesel lived with us until her death last week. She was 21 when she passed and in the year she lived with us we bonded. When she was chilly or simply wanted company she would sit in my lap and purr contentedly even though there were other laps available. When I treated myself to the occasional afternoon nap, she would join me. When she wasn't sleeping, I'd play with her with a piece a string. I never met a cat yet who could resist the allure of string. She was a special lady and miss her terribly.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      What a wonderful hub Bil! I enjoyed reading this story and I am glad you gave love to Alice and she had learned what love, trust and affection are through you and your wife. Now I miss my dog Angus who loves to cuddle with me and sit on my lap. He is in the Philippines now while I am here for a few months in Germany.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Lessons: Love is the way. Love is patient. Results take work which, as Gibran says, is love incarnate.

      I sure respond well to kindness and badly to unkindness.

      Now I'm pondering the application of the lesson of Alice to the American prison system with its for-profit prisons, its excessive uses of solitary confinement, its uses of prisoners as virtual slaves, its focus on spiteful depowering instead of empowering rehabilitation.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. I do believe your mother-in-law is on to something. :) Have a great Thursday, buddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nell. Alice is sitting next to me and she says to tell you to have a superb Thursday. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know, Rebecca. She does quite fine with our two dogs. Thank you for being here and enjoy your Thursday.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda. Sorry about the tears but I love that you love animals. That says a great deal about you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, it does take time for sure. We have setbacks with Alice, but she is light years further along than she was eight months ago. Thank you and have a wonderful day.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much Venkatachari M. Out-power the enemy....I love that line.

      Blessings to you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Maj! I only trust animal-lovers, so you and I would get along quite nicely. As for the dogs, they do very well with Alice. Curiosity but no aggression at all.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing that, Phoenix. Cats are remarkable animals. There is no rushing a cat. They will like you when they are ready to like you and not a moment sooner. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thelma, there is something so soothing and peaceful about a pet like your dog. They have a way of making us forget our troubles, don't they? Thank you for sharing that with us.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, there is so much wrong with the prison system...that's the topic for about ten hubs. Love my friend. You said it all. Thank you.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 2 years ago from Central Virginia

      Kindred, reading has become a challenge but I could not resist your story about Alice. And for starters, I think her name is perfect. I don't have any experience naming rabbits though.

      Your story is beautiful and the lessons powerful. Alice is a lucky girl and so are the readers of your story...if they will listen.

      Loved it and ...love you too!

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

      I love this bunny story. It's a little sad, sweet, and has a lesson. I like the metaphore aspect.

      It's like we're often thinking about the same things; I was considering writing something on my pets, too.

      I have a co-worker who has a bunny. Sometimes, she'll say she's mad at her bunny, and I ask, "How can anyone be angry at a bunny?" :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, great minds think alike. I think there is a great deal of the younger me in you...the 60s me, the hellraiser, the protester....I would have enjoyed knowing you back then. :) Mad at a bunny? Impossible!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kindred, it was so nice of you to make the effort to read this. Thank you so much. I miss you. I understand, but I miss you.

      hugs and love coming your way

      bill

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Bill, I love this story! Hooray for Bev, Alice, and you. Together you are a miracle. Voted way up and sharing. I took in a cat who had been badly mistreated by some trailer park kids. He became feral out of distrust and had a gaping bloody wound on his neck by the time I got to him to trap him and intervene. I expected the vet to simply put him down. However, she neutered and vaccinated him and gave me instructions that involved bathing and medicating him !? daily. Through trust we made it happen. I named him Elmer (he was white and was "glued" back together). He became a trusted family pet and was with us 10 years. He died only a few weeks ago of natural causes. I hope we had the chance to make up partially for others' transgressions.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, you're right of course, there are many lessons we can learn from animals. You and Bev are amazing. Great photo of Bev and Alice.

      I'm convenienced that our Jack Russel Rodney, was reared by wolves before he chose to come home with us. :) Seriously, he came real close to being put to sleep, we were his last chance. He'd already taken a chunk from the vet's hand, maimed the kennel maid and generally gave fair warning to anyone who got to close. Yesterday, my husband shouted from the bathroom.

      " This is amazing! Come and have a look at this, you've got to see this." Reluctantly, I left my PC and went to see what all the fuss was about. Rodney was sat in the bath smiling while Alan use an electric trimmer on him, I could not believe it, the dog was loving it. You've got to understand, the dog groomer sent him home, politely requesting that we never return. We make do with snipping off odd bits of wayward fur, but he had to be distracted first. We'll never really know what actually happened in the past, but like your Alice, Rodney is now a very special dog. Great hub, I've missed your animal hubs. I hope all is well with you, my best always. Voted up across the board and sharing

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      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      These are powerful lessons for each of us about love and kindness. Your dad was definitely a man of directness. So was mine. Perhaps it was his military training, but he did not mince words. Strangely enough, he had a tender heart when it came to animals and taught us to treat all animals with kindness.

      When I was twelve, we adopted a large dog who cowered and showed fear (along with teeth) at first. It took time, but he became quite loving and affectionate. When Dad had to go overseas for a year and a half, our boy really suffered. You should have seen the reunion when Dad returned. It was amazing, as was your story of your lovely Alice.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, I absolutely love hearing stories like that one. Thank you for sharing it and bless you for the love in your heart. You are a kindred spirit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, what a wonderful story about your terrier. I realize there are some animals that must be put down, but there are always who just need patience and love. We can't give up on them too soon, and bless you for hanging in there with Rodney!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peg, I was smiling all through your story. Isn't it amazing what a little love can accomplish....thank you for sharing that. You made my day.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Awesome! I salute you, sir!

      Your father and my father would probably have gotten along well. Mine used to similarly school me/answer my questions as to what he was doing/tinkering with, with "Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut, and you will learn."

      You are so correct; animals can teach us much, and all the more if we humans remember that we, too, are animals! We share the same four top-level biological classifications with many of our furry friends.

      What people do to, or for, other animals, they usually transfer to humans, and that goes for both kindness and harm.

      Bravo for not giving up on Alice; for keeping your commitment to her. Rescuing animals is a worthy activity. All of our cats are rescues of one sort or another, and even though it is getting tough to care for them all since our financial situation collapsed, we made that promise to them, and it will be kept. I don't care if I have to end up living in a tent: the cats stay!

      Voted up++++ shared and pinned. (I actually double-pinned it to my boards on Pets and Pet Health, and to People Getting it Right) ;)

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      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      What a wonderful story about Alice. My dog Baby, has trained me well. She has taught me patience and understanding, among many other things. My dad always said never trust any man that your dog doesn't like. I believe that dogs are a very good judge of man.

      Oh, yes, we humans can learn a lot from animals.

      Voted UP, shared, and Pinned to my pet board.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Your dad was a very wise man!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      (Although blunt, your Dad was right…actually, he reminds me a little of my father, RIP.) “Treat me with love and respect and I will give the same to you tenfold.” There is no greater lesson, Bill, and you have shown us how this is possible. And we can learn so much from our animal friends. Alice is fortunate to have “found” you and Bev. :-)

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Great valuable story, a lot to learn from Alice. Your dad would be very proud of you and am sure he is smiling from above.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, thank you for all that pinning. I appreciate it. It takes a pet lover to understand another pet lover. I love that you said you would live in a tent rather than give up the rescued cats. A person after my own heart. :)

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I think your dad was right on with that saying. Animals know....they can sense kindness and love....I'll always go with their first instinct over mine. :) Thank you my friend and Happy Weekend to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lawrence. Brusque but wise for sure.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Genna, but I actually think Bev and I are the lucky ones. For five dollars we get lessons every day from Alice. That's a great deal if you ask me. :)

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope you are correct, Vellur. I've tried to be a man he could be proud of. Thank you!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Aw, what a beautiful hub here, Bill. This may be my favorite here of late. Your dad sounded a lot like mine too. Alice is a beauty and I am so happy to know she is experiencing the unconditional love from you and Bev.

      Growing up I had a rabbit named Thumper. He was a sweetie. Here, when we moved to the country, well small town, we sometimes would see a family of Jack Rabbits running out back. Their ears are so long. One little one was so cute and came right up to our back porch one day and stayed. When our Jack Russell, at the time, saw it, of course she wanted to chase it, but that little rabbit was too fast for even her.

      Your mouth is shut? Tee hee kidding and many (((HUGS))) coming your way.

      Peace

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      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      This morning (Sunday my sleep in day) our 'wild child' Rosie reminded me of this hub. She lived in the wild as a kitten and still only tolerates humans at best

      This morning I was woken by Rosie (after my alarm) going nose to nose and meowing. Not loud but just enough to say 'ate you awake yet? '

      By the way I agree with Mary above. If we'd followed what our dog (Barney's predecessor) had indicated Wed have avoided a lot of stress!

      Listen to your animals folks. God gave them to you to protect and teach you!

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      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Thank you for being a rabbit person! At our shelter (where I'm a shelter foundation trustee), we get rabbits all the time. People just don't understand 'em! Kudos for hanging in there during the initial tough times. It's the same whether it's a rabbit, dog, cat or whatever. Voted up, beautiful, awesome and sharing!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      You're so right Bro. Not just about Rabbits. Life lessons for sure! Your Father seemed to know this, as does Bev and the great philosophers you mentioned. I'm tired from NY. Much love.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      You reminded me, Billy, with this lovely fable/story of a rabbit that once adopted me. On the way to work one morning, after I put my car in reverse and backed up a few feet, I saw a black and white baby bunny that had been sleeping under the car. She/he let me rescue her (which is what she turned out to be) and subsequently became a valued member of the family.

      Your most powerful message was your final line: "some of my (our) greatest teachers are animals."

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Sunday, Faith, and thanks for telling us about Thumper. They are fast little devils, aren't they? When Alice doesn't want to be caught she can't be caught. End of story. LOL

      Have a grand day my friend, and thank you!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, I have a love/hate relationship with cats. Our kitten Josie runs the household and it really is impossible for me to get mad at her...but God she can be annoying. :) Thanks for dropping by on this beautiful Sunday.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well bless you, Heidi, for working at the shelter and caring so much. Rabbits are always being dumped off. They are so cute but then people decide they are too much work. Not for us...bring them here and we'll love them. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, thank you my friend. Tired from NY???? Much love, and get some rest, you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you drbj! I love animals...Bev loves animals...we operate a safe haven for all thing winged and four-footed. :)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Yes, Bro.

      My usual April spiritual retreat. Truly inspirational!

      Bev and Alice looks really 'cool' together. A pleasant Sunday to you both.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Beautiful presentation, Bill. There are human Alices everywhere, and your rabbit helps us see what they need and how to treat them. Also there's still an Alice in some of us who must learn to accept love.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Enjoy your retreat, Manatita, and thank you again.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Dora. Human Alices everywhere. That's exactly the point I wanted to make. Thank you!

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 2 years ago

      This is a lovely fable. It would make a great kid's book for little ones too. I'm glad Alice found her wonderland and her own happily ever after at your house. Voted up!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Besarien. I think we are the lucky ones. It's good to see you again. I hope all is well with you.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      We had our lovely Diesel cremated after her death and she's back home now. Funny, when she left us, you could really feel the loss around the house. Now that she's back, the house feels right again. Is it possible her spirit has come home too?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I wouldn't bet against it, Phoenix. I've decided there are a great many things I know nothing about...they are mysteries that continue without my knowledge but not without my participation. :) Have a wonderful Wednesday.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Billy Buc: Voted up and awesome...My eyes filled with tears when I saw the pic of Bev and Alice. I have such an incurable love for animals...I absolutely am heartbroken over the way animals are treated, I wish I could save every single one of them. I can't read or watch any program about animal abuse...it brings out my dark side, big time.

      Your story is a beautiful one.

      During the 70's I picked up a rabbit at a pet store. I named her Rachael. She was a loveable thing, and one night I went to her box and picked her up. I was lovingly petting her, and somehow she slipped out of my arms and flipped over into the box, and immediately broke her neck and died, right in front of me.

      I have never recovered from that. I took her out back the next morning and sobbed while burying her.

      Have you every heard of the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah? If not, google it...One of my goals is to visit this wonderful place when they rescue and take care of animals. You will love their site.

      Thank you for this wonderful story of the results of love and patience toward these poor animals.

      You and Bev are such an inspiration with your love and care for your pets and critters. We need more Bev's and Bill's in this world.

      God bless, Sparklea

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, again, thank you. You really do fill my heart with joy. I have never heard of that Utah organization but you can bet I'll be looking at it today. Wouldn't it be wonderful to operate such a place? If I did I would hire you in a heartbeat. :) Have a wonderful weekend my caring friend.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Bill Best Friends is a WONDERFUL organization...a gal from our area was collecting donations a few years ago to visit as part of an internship. Dave and I met her and donated. People can go there on vacatioin and stay overnight...they have rooms available for visitors. I hope Dave will take me there when he retired.

      A LOVELY teen, graduating the same year... She went there as a volunteer, loved it so much that after she graduated, she moved to Utah and is working there full time. They have called me on the phone in the past to thank me for donating. Dave donates to our animal care council in our area. So many animals, can't stand to see them in cages. But the animal care council lets cats run loose and they receive excellent care. My friend Jackie has adopted a few. Any animal living with you and Bev are truly fortunate.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, if we had the acreage we want, there would be no room for humans to walk around. LOL We love animals and like you can't stand the idea of cages. I spent two weeks building a rabbit hutch and now it sits empty because I can't stand the idea of Alice in it. LOL

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      LOL, these animals run us! It is like going to the grocery store, seeing a mom with a stroller, and the kid is out walking and pushing the EMPTY stroller. I see that all the time :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very, very true, Lea! LOL

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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      As you interact with more animals, your greatest lessons ARE from animals. This was a basic story on how animals survive and react in the wild. Beautifully done, with an awesome and up to prove it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Deb. I'm beginning to think that mankind really isn't the master race. I continually learn about human emotions from animals. :)

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