How 1 Rabbit Changed My Life for the Better
Table of Contents
A Pet Rabbit!!
If anyone had told me I needed a pet rabbit, I would have died of laughter. Now I do like animals and have had dogs, cats, and horses for a substantial part of my life. But not for the last few years. I did have a rabbit as a boy, but that did not work out too well. So, at my age, why would I need or want a child’s pet.
A Quick Trip to Town.
At the end of June 2019, a year after I retired, I jumped in the car for a quick visit to the town. I hate paying for an hour in the car park when I am only going to be ten minutes. So, headed for the customer parking in the retail centre just up the road stopping right outside a pet shop, one of a well-known national chain.
Now they use CCTV to keep an eye on the parking and do not miss a chance to issue a fine. Immediately going into the town could cost me £70 when I got back. So, I went into the shop only to look at the Rabbits and Guinea Pigs first. Not knowing the effect one rabbit would have on me.
In the Pet Shop.
Just inside the door, there are two all-glass rabbit pens, male and female side by side. But only one rabbit I could see, and the pen nearest seemed to be empty. Thinking there is nothing much to see here today, I was about to move on. Only a blur shot around the pen and stopped at my feet. I looked down to see a gorgeous black and white Dutch Rabbit, up on its hind legs looking back at me. Now that rabbit had done what no woman had managed to do. Send me into an instant emotional meltdown.
We stood there gazing at each other for a few minutes, while an argument was raging in my head. Buy her, act your age, you are a stressed out, grumpy sixty-year-old, not six! Go on, get her, why do you want a child’s pet? Where are you going to keep her? I left the shop, went to town, and back home with this argument still raging.
Coming to a Decision.
Now I like my cups of tea and had just put the kettle on when the phone rang. It was my wife; we live apart but have stayed married and good friends. So, during our conversation, I told her about the rabbit I had watched. Her response was. “I knew there was something; you sound happier than you have been in a long time; you should get it.” I listed all the reasons I had against taking it on. But her response was always you should get it, and the call ended with me promising to think about it.
I finished preparing my tea and took it to sit in the garden. But my neighbour was in her garden, and we stood talking, yes, about the rabbit, over the fence. She had the same opinion as my wife and offered to give me a hutch she had in her garden. Now having the same feedback about how others saw, you in under an hour, must make you think. I knew I was unhappy and depressed but believed I covered it up well. I was wrong, so maybe I should get that rabbit.
Feeling like a Six-Year-Old.
An hour later, feeling like a six-year-old, I was back in the pet shop! To buy the black and white female rabbit that was about to change my life. The shop assistant was helpful, giving me advice on feeding and care, etc. and I left feeling elated.
Welcome Your New Home.
Back at home, I now had jobs to do, and as she needed twenty-four hours to settle in before being handled. I had time to collect the hutch and wash it out with disinfectant. Now, it would be at least a day before it would be dry ready for her to use. So she would have to stay in my humble entrance hall until then. I put a layer of bedding in her toilet, hay in the hay rack, and filled a small bowl with water. I let her out of the cardboard pet carrier, left her in the hall, and went to get the hutch.
It took me over an hour to collect, clean, and disinfect the hutch. It was time I checked on my unnamed hairy house guest. She was peaceful, and there was no sign she had done anything more than lay by her toilet. I checked on her every hour until I went to bed, but it was late into the evening before there were signs, she had moved. She had eaten some hay and used the toilet; I would sleep easier now.
Bonding and Naming.
The next morning, I went down to check on her, opened the door, and for the first time, she rushed over to greet me. It had not been twenty-four hours, but I got down on all fours and gently stroked her head. Not knowing at the time, I had adopted the head-down position, rabbits use to ask for a groom. I was surprised but pleased when she treated me to a full head groom. For the rest of that day, she followed me like a shadow, and Shadow is her name. But it is too lengthy for daily use, so Babe became her nickname and the one she knows.
What I did not realise until months later was. The way she greeted me that first morning and our mutual grooming, was in rabbit terms a bonding.