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Paper-trained Rabbit

February 17, 2013

This is another excerpt from my first book, From Sharecropper’s Son to Tracking Missiles.” This is a story about our paper-trained pet rabbit. My second book, “Memory Harvest of a Sharecropper’s Son,” is now available in Amazon Kindle format and in printed format.

While living in Maryland, my son’s elementary school class bought a gray, baby Dutch rabbit for Easter. They named it Samantha. The children all chipped in to buy the rabbit and a metal hutch. At the end of the school year, someone had to take the rabbit. After checking with everyone, our family took the rabbit and hutch. After the rabbit came to live with us, we found out he was not a Samantha so we changed his name to Sam.

Sam was the easiest pet we ever paper-trained. In fact, Sam trained himself. Sam came home with us when he was about three months old. We cleaned up after him for the first few days. I noticed that most of the time Sam went in one corner of the kitchen, between the sink and the refrigerator. I put a newspaper in that corner. Sam continued to go on the newspaper, but the newspaper was too close to the sink and refrigerator. After three days, I moved the newspaper to an out-of-the-way corner next to the wastebasket. Sam moved with the newspaper. Of course, a few pills still dropped elsewhere, as is normal with any rabbit. He never wet anywhere except on the newspaper and most of the pills were on the newspaper.

We lived in an apartment. A rabbit doesn’t bark, so no one complained. Sam thought he was one of the kids. He had run free most of the time in the classroom, so we allowed him to run free in the apartment. In the evening, I would lie on the carpet and the kids would crawl all over me. Sam would follow the kids and hop on my back also. Sam would sit in the middle of my back and thump.

When we went to bed or left the apartment, we put Sam in the hutch. When the kids went to bed, we shut the door to their bedrooms to keep Sam out. Sam would stand at the kid’s doors and beg, whine a squeaky little sound. He wanted to be with the kids.

We visited Washington, DC a few times and saw some of the sights. We did not like the area and Dad was having heart problems back in Texas. I told RCA that I would find another job while on vacation during the summer of 1968 and move back to Texas.

About that same time, we received a call from Larry and Charlene. Charlene’s Dad, Elmer, had died. I talked to them on the phone and they decided that we should not try to send Billie home for the funeral, because I would not have the money to then take the vacation and hopefully find a job in Texas. Larry and Charlene had moved to Farmers Branch, a suburb of Dallas.

We drove from Maryland to Texas on vacation and to search for a job in the Dallas area. We put Sam’s hutch in the floorboard of the car. We stopped for the evening at a motel in Forrest City, Arkansas. I asked about having Sam in the room and told the manager that he was paper trained. She said there was no problem with having a pet in the room, but she could not believe a paper-trained rabbit. She had to see it to believe it.

We had taken the last available room, which was next door to the office. The motel manager walked into our room with us. I put a newspaper on the floor in the bathroom area and released Sam. Sam hopped all over the room. He checked the entire perimeter of the room and entered the bathroom area. When he saw the newspaper, he immediately wet on the paper and dropped some pills.

The motel woman shook her head in disbelief and laughed. She said that if she had not seen it she would not have believed it. She was going to tell all of her friends about seeing a paper-trained rabbit.

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