One week ago Saturday, I covered a “bunny chores” shift at our main foster home, changing litter boxes, vacuuming, feeding and the like. This foster home houses most of our adoptable rabbits and volunteers visit daily to tend the rabbits. Captain, a Dutch mix, has been on our roster of adoptable rabbits for about six months. He was rescued from a neglected outdoor hutch, where he and multiple other rabbits were left in the extreme heat of the summer with no water and no food. When found, the rabbits were eating “wee wee pads” (is there a technical name for that product?). Some of the rabbits in the hutch did not survive the heat and neglect. Captain, along with Beaux, who was adopted a few months ago, and Lola, who is still waiting for her forever home, were brought to safety.
Captain quickly earned the reputation of being “tough” to handle amongst the volunteers. Rabbits are never aggressive—any behavior they exhibit that people interpret as aggressive is a rabbit doing all he can to survive. These prey animals are only aggressive toward Romaine lettuce, not toward human beings. Captain typically lunges and even bites sometimes; his behavior precipitates from his past neglect and trauma. While he has made progress over the past six months, he was still holding the title for feistiest bunny…
I reached into his pen slowly to take his litter box which was in need of changing. Despite employing my best techniques (I am the mother of a Lionhead rabbit who thinks he’s a lion!), Captain still perceived a threat in my approach and bit my right hand something fierce. The result of the bite looked much worse than it felt! I posted a picture of my hand on Facebook, playfully asking my fellow volunteers to guess who caused these marks. It didn’t take many guesses to reach the right answer. Then, a message appeared in my inbox that has quickly proven to be life-changing for our Captain.
Volunteer and epic bunny mom Lisa messaged me, asking if she could take Captain home to foster for a month. She expressed determination to make more progress with him. As aforementioned, his previous and current foster families have helped Captain become more comfortable with human interaction but there is definite room for growth! I checked with the directors of our group, got the approval and let Lisa know that after her shift of bunny chores on Thursday, Captain was hers to foster.
Within hours of being in Lisa’s home, Captain seemed to shift personalities. My inbox exploded with videos and pictures of Captain sitting on Lisa’s shoulder and accepting loving snuggles from Lisa’s nine year old daughter. The change of scenery, the change of energies… whatever it is, Captain is letting down his guard and letting his true bunny-self blossom. I and the rest of the team are so grateful for Lisa’s caring efforts and determination to help Captain trust and love. After only a weekend, he’s a totally different rabbit. Paws crossed that, after his month-long visit with Lisa’s family, Captain will be truly ready for the love of a forever home.