Friday, May 09, 2014

How to Let Rabbits Take Over Your Home, Part 3: The Resilient Rabbit

The rabbits, they have taken over my home! It started with Squid in March, then Orca the foster-turned-permanent-bunny in August. We were almost a full house with two rabbits and their pens and Squiddy's general goodness and Orca's unpredictable bladder. And my pup with anxiety. And my husband's busy life and my busy life. I did not fully understand what a "takeover" meant until Pilot came along.

In the fall of 2013, a young girl witnessed two boys/monsters actually throwing and kicking a small brown rabbit around in a school yard and told her mom (what an awesome girl!). Mom brought the rabbit to Chicago Exotics where he was treated for cuts and abrasions on his abdomen. He was transferred to Red Door and affectionately named Tumble after his ordeal with the boys. I'm not sure what it was about his story and his survival and resilience, but he seemed like a very special rabbit and one I very much looked forward to seeing when I visited the shelter. Although I very much wanted to adopt him, the practical side of my brain spoke up and told me no, he'd find a wonderful family and a wonderful home to call his own. He will be ok.

Ouch! Pilot's badly injured belly.

Pilot enjoying exercise time at Red Door

Red Door is very crowded around the holidays with boarding bunnies. At Thanksgiving, volunteers were asked to foster adoptable rabbits to make space for the vacationers. Liz, knowing that I was very fond of Tumble, sent me home with him. Friends and family joked, "Oh, by 'fostering' do you mean you're adopting him like the last one?"

Shut it.

Pilot on Thanksgiving hanging out in the bathroom.

Tumble was an excellent house guest; he was (to my surprise) a snuggler and would crawl into anyone's lap to get some nice pets on his head. He was not as in your face like Orca, and he was not shy like Squid. We joked that he was a 'medium' bunny and that he would be a good middle ground between our two rabbits who had very different personalities. His run time took place in our small bathroom, and we found him on top of our toilet a few times (thank goodness the seat was down).

It only took a week in our home to decide that we were going to adopt him. On the day we made the commitment we noticed that he was having some GI issues, and because he was still a foster rabbit at the time, we brought him back to Red Door so they could have him vet checked before his adoption. His GI issues were minor: sensitivities to certain greens and treats, so we just had to keep his diet mild with Romaine and flat leaf parsley. Phew. He was going to be ok. We also found out he was much younger than we thought - only about 8 months old. To this day it is still so unbelievable that he was so cruelly abused at such a tiny age (6 months).

All three of our rabbits have new names; we loved the names that Red Door chose for them. They were clever and fit a part of their physical description or story. But we felt like new names should come with the new chapter in their lives, the new home and the new family. And all of our rabbits have ocean themed names, so Tumble is now Pilot Renji Tumble, or more commonly just Pilot... or Pi... or P-Pi. Or Piiiiiiiiloooooooooooot when he is getting into something he's not supposed to.

The only photo of Pilot, Orca & Squid being uncivilized rabbits.
Since Orca had effectively gotten himself kicked out of the pen he shared with Squid we thought to try bonding Squid and Pilot. The first time we put them together things seemed ok; Pilot humped Squid and Squid just kind of laid there like a bunlump. The second time did not go as well. Squid decided being humped once was enough, she tried to retaliate, which made Pilot aggressive, and their date ended with my husband and I halfheartedly joking that Pilot tried to eat Squiddy (in the wild the main food source for pilot whales are squid).

We tried Pilot and Orca together, and guess what? They got along as if they were old friends! The first day they spent a few [monitored] hours together hanging out in the bathroom, munchin' on hay and making lots of poops in Orca's litterbox.

Hi friend!

We eventually moved them into a pen together, but the happiness didn't last long. In early February 2014, I heard rumblings of a scuffle going on in the kitchen - and much to my surprise (and horror) Orca and Pilot were in a full out spinning rabbit fight. Both came out of it ok with only a few missing tufts of hair, but we immediately split them up into different pens. We are still unsure what caused the rift, but to this day they are still out to get each other. About a month after their separation Pilot stealthily wiggled his way into Orca's pen on Pen Cleaning Day and got pretty beat up. After all that beautiful fur had grown back from his first injury he lost it all again so that the wounds Orca inflicted could be treated. Pilot's injuries were [thankfully] only superficial. After an overnight stay at Blue Pearl he was happy to be back home and, despite his new stitches and abrasions, was eager to binky around the house and continue his explorations.

Pilot's new 'do courtesy of Orca's teeth.

Everyone is happy now. Each rabbit has their own pen, and there are more rabbit pens than places to sit in my living room. Now that Pilot is fully healed he is the busiest rabbit in my warren. Every day when he comes out to check things off his to-do list (which is neverending, much like this story, omg) you can find him bouncing from the front to the back of the house, up on the couch trolling Wicket-the-dog-brother, on the kitchen chairs and table, inside the linen cabinets, UNDER THE FREAKING COUCH, and a myriad of other places we most likely don't know about. He's like a runner on the stock exchange floor. And he is so unbelievably fearless. But he still snuggles sometimes, so that's nice - but, oh, sorry mom, I gotta go check something out.

Bye! Thanks for reading my story!

And that is how rabbits took over my home.
Pilot says, "My mom is such a sucker, lol."

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