I had no intention of getting a new pet rabbit, but fate had other plans. I love animals and have been around dogs, cats, and horses for a substantial part of my life.
But my childhood rabbit did not work out too well. So, why would I need or want a child’s pet now?
A quick trip to town
April 2018 was the start of my life of leisure with a pension. But, I must admit my life had become dull with a lack of routine. I had no reason to get out of bed.
So, just over one year on, at the end of June 2019, I took the car for a short visit to town. Now, I hate paying for an hour in the car park when I would only be ten minutes.
And, as I had many times, I made for the customer parking in the retail centre just up the road. Parking right outside a pet shop, a well-known national chain.
However, they use CCTV to keep an eye on the parking and never miss the chance to issue a fine. So, going immediately into the town could cost me £70 when I get back.
Therefore, I entered the pet shop first to look at the Rabbits and Guinea Pigs. Without knowing the effect, one four-month-old black and white rabbit would have on me.
There are two all-glass rabbit pens inside the door, male and female, side by side. But, I could see only one new pet rabbit, and the nearest pen seemed empty.
Thinking there is nothing to see here today. I was about to move on when a blur shot around the pen and stopped at my feet.
I looked down to see a gorgeous black and white Dutch Rabbit, standing on its hind legs, looking at me. Now, that rabbit had done what no woman had.
Send me into an instant emotional meltdown. So, we stood there gazing at each other for a few minutes while an argument raged 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 returned home with this argument still raging.
Deciding to Buy the New Pet Rabbit
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 are good friends. So, I told her about the rabbit I had watched during our conversation.
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. So, 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 agreed with my wife and offered me the rabbit house in her garden.
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 nicely. I was wrong, so maybe I should get that pet rabbit.
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 helpful shop assistant advised me on feeding, care, etc., feeling elated I left with my new pet rabbit.
Back at home I now had jobs to do, and my new pet rabbit needed twenty-four hours to settle in before I handled her. Then, I had time to collect the rabbit house 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, my new pet rabbit would have to stay in my humble entrance hall until then.
I put a bedding layer in her toilet, hay in the hay rack, and filled a small bowl with water. Then, I let her out of the cardboard pet carrier, leaving her in the hall, and went to get her house.
It took me over an hour to collect, clean, and disinfect the house. Then, it was time to check on my unnamed hairy house guest. My new pet rabbit was peaceful, and 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 of movement. She had eaten some hay and used the toilet; I would sleep easier now.
In the morning, I went down to check on my new pet rabbit, 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 used to ask for a groom. So, it was a surprise but pleasing when she treated me to a full head groom.
For the rest of that day, she followed me like a shadow and enjoyed her newfound freedom in the garden. She ran around jumping and twisting, only stopping to inspect part of her new domain.
This high-speed entertainment continued for the next hour before she launched herself into the air and dropped to her side. Where she stayed perfectly still, I thought she was dead!
I walked towards her, thinking the exertion after living in a cage had been too much for her. But when I reached her and was about to bend down, she jumped up and ran off.
Okay, please go on; laugh. I am now. Now, I know that it’s a binky and the first of many things I needed to learn about my new pet.
When my new pet rabbit finally slowed down, she spent the rest of the day grazing, exploring, and resting in the shade. Then, she followed me into the lounge in the evening to lay under the television I was watching.
At bedtime, I picked her up and took her out to her house in the garden. I knew it would not be big enough for her as she grew. But it was apparent it was too small already; I could not leave her in there!
So, I had a hairy hopping house guest sleeping in my entrance hall until the new rabbit mansion arrived three days later. But she had only used her new toilet on her arrival for a poo.
She had not peed anywhere, and I assumed her tank did not need emptying.
The toilet had been behind the front door, but I did not want it there for the next three days. So, I moved it away from the door and woke the following day to find she had not used her toilet.
She had used the corner where it had been, so now I had a problem.
New Pet Rabbit Toilet Training
Time to consult the internet. The problems were that the toilet was new and did not smell like a toilet. And rabbits like to eat while answering the call of nature. But she could not reach the hay because I had relocated her litter tray.
In other words, it was all my fault! But surprisingly easy to correct. I retrieved the tissue I used to blot the urine from the carpet from the bin. After rubbing it all around the inside, I laid it flat I the bottom of the toilet.
Next, I put a thin layer of small animal litter over the tissue and hay over the top of that. Hoping that would sort out the first two problems. But I was reluctant to move the toilet back to its original position.
I had cleaned the carpet, and to me, there was no smell, but to my new pet rabbit! So, I sprayed the area with white vinegar, ensuring I had entirely removed the odour, leaving the toilet in its new position.
Problem solved: My new pet rabbit used the toilet over the next two days and should continue doing so.
The rabbit house arrived as expected late on the third day, flat-packed. But unfortunately, it was the next day before I had it fully assembled and ready for her.
At least now, my rabbit could have the freedom of my back garden during the day and her villa overnight.
The first few days have given me a glimpse of the road ahead. But, as I did, jumping in with both feet without checking the depth is dangerous.
I and my garden were not ready for a rabbit. Fortunately, I can quickly complete the required work. If I were working and living on my own, it would be impossible.
My life now, the garden and house are safe for Babe, has continued to improve. I have a routine and a reason to get out of bed every morning; Well, Babe needs her breakfast!
I have quiet company, affection, and entertainment wrapped up in my hairy, hopping housemate.