A couple of years ago, I was jogging along a path on the Rowlett Creek Preserve. These paths are mostly meant for off-road bicyclists, but if you're careful to watch out, you can also walk or run on the trails. I was jogging along one time when I saw a rabbit by the path. I expected it to take off and run away, but it didn't. I went by it, with it sitting literally inches from the path. So I walked back to it and bent down and scooped it up. Only after I picked it up, held it to my chest and started petting it did I think about how crazy that was. It could have scratched me and bitten me. This wasn't somebody's pet, it was a plain brown bunny like you see out in the wild. I didn't notice any injuries, it wasn't listless like it was sick or dying. But I assumed it had to be, or why else would it let me hold it? I carried that thing, petting it for about 15-20 minutes as I walked along the trail. Even a sick or dying animal will struggle and fight some, I thought, but this one didn't. As I neared the parking lot, I realized I couldn't take it home with me, so I turned around to take it back to where I found it. When I set the bunny down, he hopped away like there wasn't a thing in the world wrong with him.
The animals I mostly try to hold, are of course cats. Sometimes with good results, like the time my daughter and her girlfriend were struggling with a crazy kitten that wanted to escape them in fear. I took the cat from the little girl and it was suddenly calm. The girls called me the cat whisperer.
But I can recall a couple more instances when that didn't work out so well for me. One was when I went outside several years ago and discovered that kittens had been born in our boat. Kittens are cute, so I was thrilled. I reached down inside the boat and grabbed one to pull it out. It took several bloody seconds for my hands to receive the "Let GO!" message that my brain was trying to send them.
Another incident not only didn't turn out well, but I'd actually been warned beforehand. It was a beautiful sunny day, I was visiting my brother. He lived north of Houston on some heavily wooded acreage. The cat he fed was lying on the picnic table, enjoying a nap in the sun. Notice I called her the "cat he fed" not "his cat". Because even though this cat would come up to the house to eat every night, it was a little on the wild side. I sat down at the table and petted the cat and she was purring like mad. My brother walked by me on his way into the house and said, "Don't pick up that cat." I said OK then continued to pet the cat. Even got my hairbrush out of the car and brushed it. The cat was enjoying this very much. She would purr, rub up against me, and just want more. I finally couldn't stand it any more, I had to pick her up. I really wasn't trying to be defiant. I wasn't going to try to prove to my brother it could be done. It was different than that. It was just an uncontrollable urge. I had to hold that cat. So I picked her up, and once again proved that none of my body parts listen to my brain when it really matters. Several seconds later as I ran into my brother again on my way into the house, he looked at me and immediately said, "You picked up the cat, didn't you?" I'm not sure what gave me away, the stunned look on my face, or the bloody gashes on my chest, arm, and shoulder.
p.s. My little quail friend never showed back up. I'm going to go on believing that he found his way home and lived happily ever after.