Some of the 48 families living in the government housing at #3 had dogs, cats, a few guinea pigs and white mice. There were no rabbits there and my buddies and I got to talking about it. We didn't have a dime between us and yet we wanted to get some rabbits. We cooked up an idea to head down to Assiniboine Park which was a big city park belonging to the city of Winnipeg. We had been to the park many times and we all knew it fairly well. It was a huge park with about 400 acres of property. There were many sights and sounds in that park and a large Zoo. We knew exactly where the rabbits were caged and devised a plan to cut the wire and grab some rabbits to take back to #3. There were four of us kids and we would each grab one and bring it back to keep in a rabbit cage we would build. We got to work and fashioned the cages and then came the night for us to ride our bikes to the park, take along a sack each for the rabbits we would grab and then ride home. The weather was cloudy and no moon was visible and we set out to get it done. We weren't looking at it as stealing, it was just something to do. But of course that is exactly what we were doing. We rode into the Zoo area and found the caged rabbits. Each of us had wire cutters we had scrounged up and went to work. I had just cut a big enough hole to pull the rabbit out when one of the guys said, "There is a policemen coming." There was a policeman who rode around on a bike in the summer and kept an eye on things. We all had bolted for our bikes but I took an extra minute to pull a rabbit out, put it in the sack, tied a quick knot and grabbed my bike which had a carrier on the front. Off we all went with no talking and riding for all we were worth. Apparently the officer hadn't spotted us and we got away clean. We never stopped until we got back home and two of the guys had generators on their bikes and had enough light for the rest of us to see and follow. When we got back and took inventory I had been the only one to grab a rabbit. I put him in the cage I had built and after we all petted the rabbit and talked about what we were going to do with it, it was decided to leave it with me for the time being. We fixed up a bowl for drinking water and put some lettuce and carrots we had snitched from home in the cage.
The next morning I got up early to check on it and discovered it laying down and not moving too much. It seemed the rabbit was Ok but not too active. We soon found out why. It was a female and had about eight babies. We were excited and each kid was claiming one. The female was pure white and large. Well, first things first. One of the guys folks had a book on rabbits and he had brought it with him. We found out that the larger breeds had six to 12 and carried them for two months. It looks like our rabbit adventure had multiplied. The little ones were fed milk from the mother and they were born blind, naked and helpless. It took about a week to open their eyes and we had made sure the mother had plenty of vegetable things. In three weeks they were caring for themselves and there was lot of nose twitching going on. All the babies were white and their appetites were growing. Meanwhile the other guys were losing interest in the rabbits and they were scared to take them home. I had told my mother we had found it and were taking care of it. "See that you do" she said, "and then find a home for them." Some were for turning them loose. They were rabbits and they could survive in the woods. One wanted to give them away and another thought we could give them back to the Zoo. "Yeh, great!" we all said in unison. I can just see the zoo keepers wanting to know where we got them and thinking about someone stealing a rabbit a few months back. We all thought about it and it was decided to go back at night to the Zoo and put them back in a cage. They all looked at me and said, "Since you stole it you should put them all back." I protested but no one else stepped forward to volunteer.
Well, we worked it out. We would take two of the cages and leave them right with the other rabbits at the compound. We rode our bikes and the two of us who had baskets shared the hauling. I took the young ones and my friend took the Mother and we started for the park. It was a bright night with a full moon and we could see well and headed right for the compound. We quickly put the cages on top of the big cages and were starting to take off. Just then we heard, "Stay right where you are." We didn't wait to see who it was; we just kept riding . When we looked back there was no one chasing us but we kept up the speed and after about fifteen minutes sailed through the entrance to the park amd stopped on the other side to take a breather. I looked at my friends and they were breathing hard and one said, "That was close." We all agreed and started for home. All the rest of the way home we talked back and forth and got to laughing at how that guy that yelled scared the heck out of us. One kid gave us fits of laughter when he said: "That's not all he scared out of us." Well, the rabbit was back where it came from with an added bonus of eight more. We had escaped being in big trouble and went home breathing a sigh of relief. I have to admit that when I lay in my bed that night I was thankful that it ended the way it did. A couple of days later my Mom said to me, "What did you do with the rabbits." "Oh, we gave them away" I said. "They have a good home now." She replied, "Oh I know they have good home for it was a friend of mine who yelled at you that night in the park. He works at the park as a watchman and he recognized you kids." She then laughed hysterically and said, "If I ever catch you doing something like that again I'll kick your butt from here to the grocery store." She then turned and walked back into the house, all the time laughing repeatedly. I didn't know what to say so I sat down to digest all that had just happened. I never saw my mother that forgiving but somehow it had tickled her fancy and she let it go.