Animal Retirement

By Katiedid Langrock

March 17, 2018 5 min read

When we had to put down our beloved rabbit at the end of last year, we wondered what to tell the children. Should we say he ran away to a bunny farm in the mountains where they learn to bunny yodel and knot sweaters from their own fur? Should we say he is eating carrots in the sky? Or should we say he went on a boozy bunny binge bender after misunderstanding the expression as "hare of the dog"?

Of all the options we considered, the one that was by far most appealing was telling the kids about the farm. We could just picture this piece of paradise. A little rabbit retirement home. Endless fields of (timothy) hay, glistening in the sunlight, worthy of being turned into a Sting song. A place of no judgment for the aged. Who knows whether that red-eyed rabbit has glaucoma or is just an albino? There would be activities, of course. The hippity hoppity hokeypokey was no doubt a favorite. Easter would be a celebration like none these rabbits had ever seen.

Of course the rabbit had run away for the opportunity to retire in such a magical place.

Ultimately, we abandoned the idea of spinning yarn (or Angora) and decided to do the adult thing and tell the kids the truth. We knew we would never be able to keep up with the lie and would ultimately betray our own story. Besides, who would believe a story about something as crazy as bunnies escaping to their own paradise anyway?

Obviously, something like this could never happen. Well, not near me, anyway.

My husband and I were just in the Caribbean celebrating our 10th anniversary. While we were there, we were amazed by both the beauty and the unexpected ways hurricane damage manifested. After being bashed by three hurricanes last year, the island had undergone some serious changes. One big change at the resort where we were staying was the cheese.

After eating pizza that tasted a tad earthy, we asked a local worker what we were eating. She said they had to change the place they got their local cheese from after a hurricane. The people were still trying to cope with the post-storm devastation. But only the people were unhappy with the storm.

Apparently, as the resort workers met up with the local cheesemaker after the hurricane, he was distraught. He had lost his best two cheesemaking cows in the storm. The rains had flooded the river that goes past the farm, the same river that includes the beautiful waterfall next to the resort. The cows had gotten swept up in the floods and been lost to the water.

The resort workers shook their heads at the story and said, "We know."

"You know?" the cheesemaker said. "How could you know?"

The resort workers had seen the cows. They had seen them floating down the river and had seen them go over the waterfall next to the resort and continue down the river.

The cheesemaker looked sad. Now he had proof of his cows' fate. They had perished exactly as he had expected.

"And then I saw them on the beach," one resort worker said.

The cheesemaker winced at the image of their drowned corpses.

"They looked happy," the resort worker continued.

The cheesemaker looked up confused. Huh?

The cows had survived the white-water rapid ride down from the farm, over the waterfall and out to the ocean. Now they were frolicking free in the ocean waves, eating from the nearby vegetation and drinking from the river that had brought them there.

The cheesemaker was so happy to hear his cows were alive. He decided that they had earned their freedom. They had escaped the tough farm life existence and now were living in the coconut-filled paradise most of us only dream about. Who knows? Maybe they will learn to surf or do the backstroke. After giving away milk for years, they are indulging in the milk of coconuts. Pina moo-ladas for everyone.

It was the best possible end for the high-tide heifers — even if it meant we were left with the secondary cheese cows and our pizza tasted kinda funky.

I guess we could have gotten away with that rabbit retirement home farm story after all.

Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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