DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a senior in college. This summer, I adopted a rabbit. I left this rabbit at home, with my parent's permission, and planned to take it in the second I had my own place after college. I still live on the college campus as a resident assistant, and animals are prohibited in the rooms.
Two days ago, my mother called to me to tell me they had surrendered my rabbit to a shelter a week ago because I wasn't home to take care of it. I feel like I let down this animal, and I am furious at my parents. The rabbit has been re-homed (I called the shelter), but I feel so betrayed by my parents. They didn't see that this rabbit was important to me. -- Runaway Rabbit, Chicago
DEAR RUNAWAY RABBIT: I hate to tell you this, but you cannot blame this situation on your parents. You are the one who adopted a pet before you were ready to care for it. It was irresponsible of you to leave a live animal with your parents, forcing them to be responsible for it until you had the wherewithal to take it back. It would have been nice for your parents to call to give you the heads up that they were going to take the rabbit to the shelter, but I'm sure they didn't because you would have begged them to keep it.
Caring for pets is a serious responsibility that you cannot force on someone else, even your own parents. What's great is that the rabbit is alive and being cared for by someone who has the time, space and attention to do so properly.
You should apologize to your parents for putting them in this compromised situation, forgive yourself for trying to do more than you could at the time you adopted the rabbit, and chart your course more carefully from here on out. Before you get another pet, evaluate your life to be clear as to whether you can care for it properly.