After a while, it became painfully apparent that we really weren’t going to be able to reduce our pet population in the house. For years, we have had 2 birds and 2 house bunnies as pets. Our friendly and happy boy rabbit, “Ricky” had an episode of e-cuniculi in his youth, a disease that ravages a rabbit’s nervous system. There are treatments, but it’s just a matter of time before it comes back and begins slowly paralyzing the rabbit. Ricky had been treated and survived happily for several years. Then, as he aged, we noticed he was losing his balance. He couldn’t sit up and wash his face and ears with his paws. Sometimes he would just wobble upright as if he was very dizzy and then crash over backwards, flailing a bit before getting back to his feet. Matters got worse and one evening, it appeared that he had a stroke. His hind legs and front legs were paralyzed. He became incontinent. His quality of life was at issue. And then we had to make the awful decision to have him euthanized.
Within a few days, we noticed that his lifelong girlfriend bunny “Lucy” was depressed. She spent most of her hours just lying with her head down on her paws. She hid out of site in her favorite tunnel box. She began eating less, and just didn’t respond to treats or her favorite red leaf lettuce leaves with the usual enthusiasm. Like her, we were also feeling the loss of our little family member since he passed.
All of our other animals, a parrot, a cockatiel, and 1st generation of bunnies had been purchased at local pet stores. At the urging of a friend who adopted two dogs from the shelter, we decided to hunt for another rabbit at our local shelter. One mildly warm and breezy Saturday morning we walked down a hallway past the cat room, the noisy dog area, past the bird area, and stood at the back of the building to the rabbit shelter area. About 30 sturdy wire cages on waist high shelves were full of bunnies. Black bunnies, white bunnies, tan bunnies, old and young bunnies were waiting for their forever home.
We knew from prior experience, that is very possible to get a “bad bunny”, one that is aggressive, paranoid, and prone to biting. They are prey animals after all. Rabbits have small but razor sharp teeth that will slice a finger open in an instant. We were looking for friendly, playful bunnies. It had to be a “licky” bunny. We would put our hand out to pet the bunny, if it ran away, that bunny was a “no”. However, if the bunny licked our fingers and put its head down to be petted, that bunny was a “yes”.
We ended up with a young, (~6 months old) neutered bunny with white fur and black and white ears. “Sammy” loves to sprint, jump in the air, and race around the room. He will come for a short petting session and race around again. It was a good trip.