Friday, April 25, 2014

How to Let Rabbits Take Over Your Home, Part 1: The First Bunneh

In late March 2013, my husband and I decided we needed a change in our lives. We were a family of three: me, him, and our 8-year old Maltese, Wicket. What about being a family of four? We weren't ready to take on another canine kid; Wicket struggles with anxiety, and we weren't sure if he would even enjoy having a puppy brother or sister. But Wicket grew up with rabbits - 2 Dutches, Happy and Cody. We were sure for the first few years of his life he thought he was a rabbit, or maybe he thought the rabbits were dogs? He didn't have a normal puppy socialization, but he knew that rabbits didn't mind him grooming them or relaxing with him.

Squid and her Maltese brother, Wicket.

We browsed the Red Door adoptable buns, and two stood out: Porsche, a pretty Dutch girl, and Alfalfa, a handsome little chinchilla mix boy. When we visited the shelter for the first time, Liz took us around and introduced us to all of the rabbits looking for furever homes. It was a little overwhelming to see all of the rabbits that people had given up on, but they all looked content to be safely housed and cared for at Red Door. Porsche was out being fostered, but we got to spend time with Alfalfa. 

Squid alert! Squid alert! It's Easter 2014!

Liz also suggested a Rex rabbit, Bumblebee, who had been taken in earlier in the month after being abandoned in a trailer park in Des Plaines. She was found overweight with nails that should have been trimmed yesterday. And Bumblebee certainly did seem like a busy little bee; she hopped around us in the pen, checking us out, periscoping to see her surroundings better, and she poked us with her nose a lot. It only took a couple days to decide that she would be our fourth family member.

Squid on her couch that she shares with us

Squid Anemone Bumblebee, or Squiddy Momo as she is most frequently called, came home with us shy and reserved - very different than her shelter personality. We assume she may not have been socialized much/at all at her previous home. In a year she has really come a long way from the shy rabbit we first brought home. Most of the time she is gentle and sweet, she binkies often and runs the Bunny 500 with the best of them. She always eats her cilantro or parsley before the rest of her salad, and she is VERY curious about the closed doors (ie., non-rabbit proofed rooms). She's also very mischievous; she loves to throw remotes and other things off the couch, she digs on our blankets and rearranges them to her liking, and she nips the soft part of your side when she wants to get through a tight space. And most recently she peed repeatedly in the same spot to get us to move her pen back to where she wanted it. We also sometimes think she is plotting our demise.

Squid has a crush on Dexter's Michael C. Hall and thinks he's a super cool murderer.

Squiddy was so predictable and good and easy that when Red Door asked if we could foster a rabbit in the summer of 2013 we thought nothing of it! This was only the beginning of our rabbit journey...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Greeley proves that if you Respect the Rabbit, good things will happen

At Red Door, we believe rabbits should be part of the family, kept indoors and provided with proper care and lots of love.  But all too often, bunnies are purchased impulsively by parents as an Easter gift. Soon, the novelty wears off, the kids get bored, and bunny gets neglected. In early 2013 we rescued a gray lop from a family who no longer loved him. 

After being vetted and neutered, "Greeley", was posted to our adoption site, and the applications flooded in. Who wouldn't want this sweet, handsome boy? One family stood out as the best potential home. With a thorough interview and training, they soon accepted Greeley into their family. 

This is their story...

We decided to get a rabbit around Easter last year. The Easter part was just a coincidence, we had been talking about it since December.

So we got online to check out buns on the Red Door website.  My girls and I (I have three daughters, 11, 9, and 6) looked through all the different rabbits – we read their names and personality descriptions.

But we immediately became attached to a little gray bunny named Greeley.  His picture made him look like he was posing; he seemed so sure of himself. 

He had been surrendered in February, and it was March. I felt like we already knew each other and we had this plan to come together…I didn’t really pay attention to any of the other pictures after I saw him.

The adoption interview process at Red Door is thorough, and we live in Elmhurst (about a 40 minute drive) so it took us awhile to finally get there to adopt our bunny.

I remember parking and telling the girls to not have their hopes up about Greeley, he may have been adopted already. I was saying it to them, but I was really talking to me. I was nervous.

When we walked in and found out he was there it was true relief – Jeremy (our adoption counselor) brought him to us and we were done.  Greeley was going home with us!

And what a year it has been.  We originally created a room for him in the basement, but very quickly we realized we wanted him on the same floor as us.  He has a pen, but most of the time he roams the house.  He likes to hide under the couch and sit on the vents – he has his own special places.

My daughters give him extraordinary amounts of attention, and he is deeply loved every day. When my oldest was sick, he laid next to her for hours.  When the girls friends comes over, he stays still and lets everybody pet him.  When I watch TV he sits on my lap and enjoys the calm.

Of course, he is still a rabbit.  He eats our paper off the fridge, he tries to chew my husband’s work folders. And he lets you know when he needs space (with a nudge or a nip).  I always tell the girls to respect his “rabbitness”. He is not a dog or cat, he has his own way of being, and it’s our job to understand and respect him.

Greeley goes with us on trips to Galena, he loves spa days at Red Door, and he also goes by the name “Zen Bunny” because he’s the mascot of Zen Parenting Radio, a podcast that my husband and I have doing for several years.

His birthday (or adoption day) is the day before my oldest daughter, so we had a great celebration a few weeks ago.  Our extended family loves him; he fits so naturally into our environment.

We found Greeley at the right time and the right place and we could not be more grateful. 
Big thanks to Red Door for keeping him safe until we could be together.

Red Door sends hugs and kisses to the Adams' for giving Greeley a wonderful, loving home and proving that rabbits do make excellent pets if the family is well informed. Respect the Rabbit!