Hi! I’m Emily Krieger, and I’m the newest addition to the SaveABunny volunteer family. I’ll be writing blogs, Tweets, newsletter articles, and adoption and bunny stories for SaveABunny. So what better way to introduce myself than to write my own bunny story?
I, like so many others, got a rabbit on a whim. I’m a veterinary student, and not having any animals in my apartment just wouldn’t do! After reading up on many different species, I decided that a rabbit was the best choice for me. So I scoured Craigslist and found a rabbit in a nearby city; “Wendy” was a 2 year old intact female Netherland Dwarf from a small rabbitry. She was a breeder rabbit that the owner was selling due to lack of space.
I drove that night to pick her up with a friend, and we met the owner at a pet store so I could also buy the supplies I needed. I had done some research, but didn’t know as much as I should have before acquiring a house rabbit. So what did I buy? A 4’x2’ pet store cage, a generic brand of rabbit pellet with nuts and seeds mixed in, a litterbox, and alfalfa hay. Looking back I realize the mistakes I made, but at the time I wasn’t completely educated about proper rabbit health or care.
“Wendy,” on the other hand, was adorable. I loved the black otter coloring, teensy ears, and round little body weighing all of 2 pounds. So I paid my $50, loaded her into the car, and away we went!
The next month was a crash course in rabbit behavior and care. “Wendy” had become Hazel, and was quite the hormonal little lady! Not being spayed, Hazel sprayed urine all over the living room when she was out for playtime, circled me constantly, and honked. She seemed to care less about the litterbox, and obsessively chewed the carpet around the blockade that kept her in the living room when she was out. I made an appointment with the Exotics veterinarian immediately, and she was successfully spayed 3 weeks later. Whew! What a difference that made; Hazel began using her litterbox almost instantaneously, and stopped acting like a hormonal nut! We were also better able to bond, and she quickly became very friendly, people-oriented, and affectionate. The honking, though, has never stopped; it’s just something she does when she’s excited!
In the meantime, I had discovered a variety of reliable house rabbit websites, and I became a well-informed, educated rabbit owner. I quickly bought Hazel an x-pen to expand her living space when she couldn’t be roaming the living room. I switched her from alfalfa to orchard grass hay. I tossed the generic, unhealthy pellets and bought only Oxbow timothy pellets and treats.
Now confident in my ability as a house rabbit owner, aka “bunny slave”, I explored the option of allowing Hazel to be free range within my apartment. She was still chewing the carpet in the living room and trying to escape over the barrier I’d placed in there to keep her from the rest of the apartment; I wondered if allowing her to have more space would solve the problem. So I bunny-proofed my home, then allowed her free range throughout the apartment. And what a difference it made! She loved having so much space to run and binky in. She all but stopped ripping up the carpet, too.
So what is Hazel like now? She is a happy, energetic, extremely friendly little bun with major attitude! She sits next to me on the couch while I do my homework, often for hours at a time. She follows me around the house and licks my feet, hands, and face. When I go to bed, I call her to follow, and she hops up on the ottoman she uses for a bed, begging for her nightly papaya treats. She isn’t perfect; there’s sometimes an accident, or she’ll chew my phone cord when it falls below the bed. But she’s my constant companion, and I can’t describe the joy and comfort she brings me on a daily basis. I love her dearly, and she could never be replaced.