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I once owned a rabbit. She was a hand-me-down gift from my inlaws who could no longer keep her, and I had just moved into my own apartment while I was in college. They figured I might want some company. So I named her Anna for 'prayer' because she was the friend that I needed at that time in my life. We became very close, as close as a person can become to a rabbit, but that relationship took much time to earn.
Anna was a norwegian dwarf rabbit which is a breed that is peticularly skiddish. All rabbits are very fearful. You have to earn their trust. Rabbits are prey animals and so every instinct draws them to take cover. I learned that I could not be loud with my pots in the kitchen when I was cooking and that sudden movements through the house would put her on edge. Gently gently, our relationship grew. She came to let me hold her, which was quite an accomplishment. She let me rub her nose and even closed her eyes when I caressed her cheeks. Her love was so precious to me because I knew that it was not given freely; it was given at the price of her instinctual guard that she let down for us. She came to know her name and was able to hop around my living room feeling safe in her surrounding. She made me remember what it took to make a friend,what it meant to become familiar, and how precious it was for one person to open themselves up to another. Anna reminded me what it meant to be afraid and vulnerable. I saw myself and the people around me in her meekness and in her hesitant heart when our relationship began. I also saw the beauty of our relationship in a more brilliant way than I had ever looked or appreciated in the friendships I interacted with everyday. It is something taken for granted, the trust that is needed and the sacrafice that is given every time you open up to another being, and I am so grateful to have seen that in Anna.