I take Gandalf out to the green. He's a big boy, and bright white in the sun, so he tends to catch people's eyes.
A woman who's driving by actually stops the car and gets out to say hello. She's very nice and loves Gandalf, who is a huge cuddler and happy to get petted by tons of random strangers.
She doesn't know much about rabbits, so naturally I start up my spiel. As I'm talking, I hear someone come up behind us.
It's an older man who evidently works with the woman, as they greet each other. "Watch yourself," He says to her with a smile. "When my daughter was little, we went to the Humane Society. I told her that no way was anything with a heart and lungs coming out of there with us...but we ended up with a rabbit. Cost us $100, since we didn't have a cage or anything."
The woman is listening with interest. I'm staring at Gandalf, nodding slightly. Almost everyone who comes into the Room has a story like this, about a rabbit they had 'way back when'. Almost every story ends badly for the rabbit, and is usually concluded with some statement about them being boring, nasty pets.
I wait for this story to turn bad.
"Well, the daughter goes off to university," The man continues conversationally. "And of course leaves the rabbit to us. And we have a dog, you know...used to chase that rabbit around the room."
This story, like all the others, is quickly going downhill - a kid leaving the rabbit behind, a dog looking for a snack.
"I used to tell that rabbit, 'You should just smack that dog on the nose if he bothers you'." Laughs the man. "They were practically the same size. She was a lovely rabbit though - her name was Lilac, she used to sit beside me. They make great pets. Lived a good long time, too."
"Really?" The woman asks.
"Yup. I really liked that rabbit." The man smiles at us, then says goodbye and heads home.
Well. What do they say about making assumptions?
The woman leaves after a little bit as well, with a final glance back at Gandalf.
I stay out for another 20 minutes, just hanging out with the big guy. He decides that my jacket is now his, and has a great time sitting on it like the king of the world.
"What, you want this jacket back or something?"
Rabbits are great pets and great company. But until recently, no one really knew how to take proper care of them. Most of the stories people tell me don't end very well. There are always a few stories, however, that end happily.
Wouldn't it be great if that woman came back for Gandalf and took him home? Now that would be a great story.