RICHARD ORD: People are getting tattoos for their pets

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Here’s the good news … I moved up the pecking order in the Ord household.

The bad news? We’ve lost our pet rabbit.

An online critic recently had a go at my column for not being newsworthy enough.

We take the views of our readers seriously. The company handbook states we must listen to and respond politely to all reader observations and comments.

This is followed by the sentence “You MUST NOT hit the reader.” It’s underlined. In red. “Or throw things at them,” it continues.

The online critic, called Spud Ganroond, wrote that my column was not news.

“I would have pasted the definition of news,” Mr Ganroond bawled (okay, so he typed it, but I bet he was bawling as he did so. These online trolls are all the same), “but I’ve come over all sleepy from reading such a benign and pointless piece.”

You wanted news, Spud, well you’ve got it. Our rabbit’s gone. Mystery Surrounds Disappearance of Pet Rabbit, is that good enough for you, Mr Ganroond? Spud-u-like?

Theories abound as to what happened to Rockta (yes, that’s his name). My wife believes he “may have been taken by a bird.”

I checked. There was rumoured to be only one golden eagle left in the UK. Unless it’s gone on holiday to Whitley Bay, I think we can safely say Rockta wasn’t plucked from the garden by a giant bird.

A fox is a possibility. But I suspect a fox would have killed Rockta on the spot, plus, the gate to the back garden was closed. Foxes are cunning, but not open-a-garden-gate cunning, surely.

Our eldest boy is convinced Rockta’s been stolen. “I’ve heard that people have been wandering into gardens and stealing them to order.”

A theory, though highly unlikely. Rockta ain’t a rare bunny. He’s as plain as plain can be. If there’s a black market in stolen rabbits, I’ve yet to hear about it.

Me, I’m peddling the story that Rockta has escaped to a better life. I’ve told our kids (particularly Isaac, 12, who has taken the loss to heart) that Rockta had a thirst for adventure and has gone to seek his fortune.

It’s partly to ease our Isaac’s loss, and partly to assuage my guilt. I was the one who left him out of his hutch overnight.

As well as scouring the streets for Rockta, and knocking on neighbours’ doors, I have also registered him as a missing pet on AnimalSearchUK.co.uk, a website dedicated to tracing runaway animals.

The site has a tick box of distinguishing features to help locate your pet. It includes scars, a leg count and tattoos. If my hunt for Rockta has revealed one new piece of information, it’s that people get their pets tattooed.

Who knows, perhaps one day Rockta will return, sporting tattoos from all the exotic places he’s visited.

In the meantime, I can enjoy my time at the number four spot on the Ord family popularity stakes, now Rockta has gone. I may still be running behind the wife and kids but, hey, free carrots!