A list of my favourite things would have a ginormous gaping hole without this addition, which will be of no surprise to some. Anyone that has ever met me, stumbled across me or been in my random vicinity in the last 8 years or so knows of my love of bunnies and all consuming desire to have them. And finally with some incredible persistence I now have them – meet my little ladies, Tiffin and Strudel. They are lion head rabbits, sisters from the same litter and utterly fluffily adorable. In their own unique way. Very unique. Most days I am not even sure they know they are rabbits.
Persistence won the day
After a 6 year sustained campaign I finally managed to break down the brick wall that was Graham’s stubbornness and he caved to let me adopt these two fantastic furballs. It seemed timing was crucial, and these two were posted to the rescue’s Facebook page (for a second time – how did no-one snap them up?), just as England qualified for the semi-final in the World Cup 2018. He claims he just finally realised how much I wanted them and wanted to make me happy. I disagree. The timing was crucial. And the beers consumed. With a bonus of the fluffiness of the rabbit. These were much fluffier than any other I had shoved in his face before, of which there had been many.
Sitting in the sunshine on his 5th or 6th beer, feeling merry and triumphant, as the boys do, feeling like it is them who scored the winning goals, I waved their photo in his face and pleaded, begged, did crying face. “Pleaaaaase adopt us, we have no home. It so sad. We so pretty and cutes”. I waited for the usual barrage of excuses and resulting ping pong conversation where I apparently ‘have an answer for everything’:
- What will we do with them when we go on holiday? Me: Bunny hotel is down the road.
- You’ll be sad if they die. Me: You’ll die one day but I still adopted you.
- ou’ll be allergic to them. Me: I’m allergic to everything, don’t care. There’s drugs for that. I got drugs.
- What about the foxes? Me: I’ll fox proof the hutch. And sleep in there if I have to.
- Who is going to pay for them? (always an important factor for the ever frugal man) Me: Me. Promise. I do all the pennies.
It ends with the usual sigh so big it could set off a hurricane, ‘the’ look (I get these a lot), and a question. “Do you really want them?”
“HELL YES. Look at them so fluffy”
“Oh go on then”.
SAY WHAT NOW?
Time stops. My heart stops.
I check he’s serious, as he is a wind up merchant, and can often be cruel with its delivery. The answer is in the affirmative. I check again. Still yes. Cue floods of happy tears and dancing whilst furiously messaging the rescue. He can’t believe I am actually crying over this, shakes his head and goes to get another beer.
One week later and they were home with me. That was one year ago this Sunday. And Graham is as in love with them as I am. Despite his ‘cool’ demeanour.
Life one year on
- They cost me an absolute fortune.
- There is no way to read their mind and moods and I always get it wrong.
- They are a nightmare to maintain the fluff.
- They seriously do not get the concept of litter training and poop everywhere.
- They have totally wrecked our perfectly manicured lawn.
- They do not like any people, including me.
- The hate any form of contact (Strud especially hates my cuddles) or generally anything but food.
They are basically like having two moody, floofy teenage daughters. But I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.
In my ramblings around mindfulness, stress and anxiety relief the idea of pets and therapy animals had often come up, with the routine and caring for an animal often being associated with an improvement in mental health. I can see why.
Though I spent the first few months anxious about whether I was doing everything right, as there are so many more ‘rules’ than there used to be for looking after rabbits, it did indeed take some focus off my other anxieties and stress. Was I feeding them the correct things in the right amount? Are they safe? Are they happy? How the hell do I catch them? How do I groom them? Okay, so I was a bundle of anxiety, but at least this was over something I could mostly control. And I love sitting doing my work where I can see them roaming about, or even just sleeping. Or watching them frozen for an hour watching a slug cross their hutch with a fixed stare of disbelief. It is so calming. Daily, they make me smile and listen to my wittering on. They may not like their grooming sessions but I bloody love it. It is the only time I can make them have cuddles.
I currently work from home and if I did not have the buns to chatter at every couple of hours, I think it is possible I would have gone stir crazy by now, being someone that can get cabin fever if I spend a whole weekend at home.
In the last year they have also garnered quite a following on our estate, with neighbours bringing carrot tops, home grown veg and even providing their baby’s Infacol as a rescue remedy when we had a scary moment with Strudel’s gassy belly and a possible start of deadly GI Stasis. They have brought their kids to witness the fluff and regularly ask how they are doing (before ever asking about poor Graham). The buns have sent out Christmas cards, given a christening gift to the neighbours’ baby and have become something of a talking point online. It does indeed take a community to raise a rabbit.
There is also the added loveliness factor in knowing that we have rescued them and they have a much nicer home now. We don’t know much about their background but they are clearly not used to many different foods or having had toys before, the only thing that they will interact with being Amazon boxes. Of a certain size. What we call ‘medium boxes’ (about A4). I spent an absolute fortune trying to find toys they would respond to, rubbed herbs and kale on them to see if that would spark something, eventually giving up and chucking the box that they came in in there with some straw. And they went bat shit crazy. Like a toddler that opens all their Christmas presents then only plays with the wrapping paper.
You read all this stuff about what rabbits ‘love’ and will respond to. Well not my two. They defy the odds and like to break the norm. Like me. Whatever TV series or book is usually popular, I am guaranteed to hate. “Rabbits love banana”. Not mine. “Rabbits love playing with loo roll tubes”. Nope. “They hate rain”. Hmm mine will sit in it all day. And on and on it goes.
However, they have got it so sussed with their 18 naps a day, only waking to eat, roam a bit and poop. Or to escape from my constant prodding, poking, stroking and exclamations of “gimme a cuddle” or “kisseeeeeeesss”. The companionship they give each other is adorable (we will ignore the 2 months temporary separation when they had a huge fall out and I had to rebond them by bouncing them in a box on a sofa every day) and they do everything snuggled up against each other.
I think we can all learn something from rabbit life.
#Be more rabbit.
Theme: A few of my favourite things