Before our CA vacation I had to figure out what we were going to do with the animals. Luckily we worked it out with family members to stay with the Doodles. Mike and I couldn't bring ourselves (or our wallets) to put them in a kennel for two weeks -- they are way too big and are used to open spaces. It wouldn't be fair to have them locked up in a 10x10 pen. See what a thoughtful owner I am?
With Buttercup, I wanted to find a wonderful home and family that would take care of her and love her as much as we do. Permanently. Okay, now I'm evil (when I say permanently, I don't mean in an Italian mob, Jimmy Hoffa/Goodfella's, cement shoes kind of way -- don't believe Mike, no matter how much he tries to tell you otherwise).
Our good friends Carolyn and Gordon knew someone who has a little girl that LOVES animals, and wanted a bunny. They have a chicken coop, with chickens, that is totally enclosed and predator safe -- a big enclosure, and a little 9 year old girl who understands the responsibility of having animals. I thought if we found good owners who can take Buttercup while we are on vacation, coming home wouldn't be so hard.
I gave Buttercup to Carolyn the day before we left and Sophie had a meltdown. I explained to her that we will get Buttercup when we come home (yes, I lied right to her face -- but surprisingly, had no trouble sleeping that night...). I hoped that the time in CA would help her forget about Buttercup on some level. But no. PoPo liked to ask Sophie all about her bunny, constantly. I didn't have a chance to get PoPo on the side and tell him "Ix-nay on the unny-bay" (or some form of pig-Latin/code for STOP TALKING ABOUT THE BUNNY).
I wanted to be honest with Sophie about the whole thing, and tried to avoid the subject at all costs (okay, truthiness, is not my best subject). I remember my parents getting rid of a few dogs when I was younger and was absolutely crushed when they told me the truth (I was well into my twenties, probably during some sort of 'bonding/drinkfest' we used to have, bad news is always easy to deliver when your friend Jack Daniels is around) -- that some kid didn't take off with my dog (Mac) while my dad and I went shopping for a new bike for me, or that Duke didn't hop the fence one night -- I mean, I spent like , two months looking for that mutt. Riding around on my bike everyday after school calling his name, asking kids, putting up fliers, calling the local vet and shelters. Oh trust me, both dogs were out-of-control. When I was about 4 or 5, my mom used to put me in the back yard with Mac and I would scream and cry "No!", because I was petrified of him -- he used to take me down by my pig-tails like I was his prey on an African Discovery Channel special on survival of the fittest, as I tried to make a break for my swing set. I still have nightmares about that...
I knew at some point that I would have to come clean. Luckily, after we came home Sophie really didn't ask too much about Buttercup. Until one day, one of our friends from Houston came down, Avery. She's super cute and smart (stupid private schools!), and just flat out asked me "Mrs. Romano? Did Buttercup die?".
Crap. Now I'm on the spot. I knew I was living on borrowed time, but not now -- I'm right in the middle of doing wash. I hadn't prepared my "speech" yet. I had to think quick on my feet. I was standing in the hall and had a clear shot of both kids rooms which happened to be filled with kids. When Johnny heard the question he froze in his tracks. Think, Julie, think. Damn it, think!
"Komodo Dragon.", was the first thing that came to mind and I walked off. Whew. That was easier than I thought.
Johnny and Sophie's eyes grew huge with shock and concern, Avery was just plain confused. Of course the kids followed me for more information and I did in fact, tell them the truth. That Buttercup wasn't happy sitting in her cage at our house, no one played with her and it wasn't fair to her that she couldn't run and play like her cousin's Peter Rabbit, Flopsie and Mopsie. She's in a better place now (I promise it's not heaven...), she's happier and has all the bunny stuff she will ever need (I know this sounds very suspicious, but no, she's not in heaven), she can run and play and dig like a real bunny (really, it's not heaven, it's a farm. wait. that does sound bad doesn't it?). I know it's a farm because Carolyn told me so, not my parents.
Anyway, we are all on good terms now. And I truly hope that Buttercup is enjoying her new home with lots of space to run and be a bunny. And that, my friends, is the truth.