We finally took the time to bring our new pet rabbit, Columbo, outside. We'd taken Stephen out several times and he seemed to like sitting around in the portable wire cage, eating grass and dandelions and myrtle and scaring off all the squirrels from the yard. But we hadn't had the chance to take Columbo out yet and wondered what he would make of the outside world. That we finally re-found the harness encouraged us to take him out.
First step: would he put up with the harness around his chest? Some rabbits won't tolerate even this, and in that case we'd have to move the wire cage out. But, no, he was perfectly compliant as we snapped the harness around and that's made me belatedly remember that his shelter's folks said he was often taken on display for events. He either has the sort of temperament that doesn't mind harnesses or he's been trained to accept them. Second step: would he tolerate having a leash attached? And yes, turns out he does. Many rabbits, Stephen among them, don't know what to make of that, especially if they try hopping out of range and get tugged back by a mysterious force. Columbo had no trouble with this. It helps that he tends to lope, carefully, in an unfamiliar location, rather than try to run; it's easy to keep up with him.
Ah, but what does he think of the outside? And that seemed to be ... he could take or leave it. He did some prowling around, but was uninterested in eating anything. The grass before him? No. Dandelion or plantain leaves? Thanks, he's aware of their work. The rose bushes? He might poke around them, but otherwise leave them alone. He did want to get underneath some shrubs beside the house, and he wanted to explore down to the neighbors' yard, just as Stephen had. But he wasn't interested in tasting any of the world around. Nor in binkying or doing anything too expressive.
Still, this in hindsight ought not have surprised us. He's a more reserved rabbit, and more quietly investigative than Stephen was. He also seems more suspicious; at least, he's prone to distrusting things on first impression. I had quipped that he dislikes doing anything for the first time, much like me. That would extend to even the wonders of eating fresh, growing plants too. We've since had the chance to give him more time outside, on a live lawn, and he warmed up considerably to the experience. So while the day out might have technically been a disappointment, it was one that set him up for better days afterwards.
Trivia: Insurance premiums for newsreel cameramen on hazardous assignments, around 1938, were something like $15 per day and up to $6,000 per year for ten thousand dollars coverage. Cameramen also had a group-insurance plan, paid by their companies, for about $4,000 coverage per person. Source: The American Newsreel, 1911 - 1967, Raymond Fielding.
Currently Reading: The Story Of Story Book Land, Tina Skinner.