A few weeks I started looking for a brother to adopt for Frances. I spotted Mr. Alfred Wigglebottom on a local SPCA website and knew he was the one. He was brought to the SPCA after he was found left in a bathtub when his owners moved out……
In my search criteria (based upon learning about the complexity of rabbit ‘dating’ and bonding), I was looking for a laid back, calm, and friendly boy who would hopefully quickly bond with her without too much drama. Alfred was the perfect match!
So they are happily living in their private section of my townhouse (I converted part of my car port so they can live free range). And I am now officially at full capacity for animals and waiting for God to move all of us to our farm!!! I believe it could be just around the bend……
Early in October while walking my dog along a trail that goes by the Agri-Fair grounds, I spotted a little white and black spotted rabbit in this fenced off grassy area. Clearly someone had dumped him/her off…I kept walking but kept thinking about this poor little rabbit as the temperature was getting colder. I went back in a couple of days and spotted him/her again in the same area but then didn’t see the rabbit again for a week or so as it was raining almost every day. Then one sunny day I saw him/her again in the same area. I was with my dog so I couldn’t get too close. I called animal control and they couldn’t help and suggested I try the SPCA. I decided that I would try to catch him/her that weekend. If that failed then I’d go to plan B….
So on a mission I went out Friday at dusk armed with banana, carrot pieces, and a pet carrier. The rabbit was there!! So I crawled under the fence as it was in a locked off area. He/she ran off but within an hour I was able to hand feed him/her. But then as the rabbit got full and it was getting dark, he/she hopped away.
That night I named the rabbit – Francis, after St. Francis of course. I had recently listened to the audiobook version of Chasing Francis. The name seemed especially fitting. And I was even more determined to catch him (although I had no idea if the rabbit was a boy or girl, I went with Francis).
The next morning just before dawn, around 630 I went out again. Initially I didn’t see him so I just waited in the same area. As it got lighter, I spotted him across the road where he was probably staying under some old concrete slabs at night. He hopped over to his fenced in grassy area. He came up to me more quickly and this time I could pet him as he ate but he was still skittish. And there was no way he was going near that pet carrier. He kept eating and then once again hopped away when he got full. I went home and did some research on how to catch loose rabbits. Everything from throwing a fishing net onto them to using a live trap. A friend happened to have live traps from when she helped rescue feral cats so I went and picked one up that afternoon. It looked rather ominous but thought I’d give it a try.
That night I went out at dusk and Francis was there again! This time he came up to me even quicker and was eating out of my hand. I was had also started petting his back more as I plotted to somehow catch him. But I knew if I went to grab him and missed, he would not let me get that close again for quite sometime, and once again, he hopped away when he was full and it was almost dark.
Sunday morning I went out again (and yes, I was praying to God to rescue Francis). This time I felt more determined to catch him. I knew I would have to act fast, before he got too full and that I’d have to grab him using a towel. There was not going to be any luring him into a pet carrier or live trap anytime soon.
Knowing his morning routine I waited for him as I did yesterday and sure enough he hopped over to the grassy area where he hung out during the day. I started feeding him and petting him and got as close as I could on the ground. I grabbed the towel that I had brought with me, prayed again to catch him, took a deep breath, and pounced! I caught him!!! I wrapped him in the towel as he tried to escape and got him into the carrier. I was so incredibly relieved and thankful. I got him home and he quickly settled into his living space.
Over the next week, I wondered if I he was a boy or a girl – and also wondered if she could be pregnant. There were lots of wild rabbits in the area….When I took her to my most amazing vet, we learned that Francis was an unspayed girl probably around 6 months or so. So Francis became Frances. I got her spayed a few weeks later. I also through my rabbit research learned that domestic and wild rabbits cannot inter-breed. My next mission – to find her a brother.
Last December I rescued Felicia from a miserable existence as she had been living in a small glass cage in a pet store for the past six months. One night on my way home from work, I forgot to buy dog food (and yes, my dog is as vegan as much as she will tolerate) and had to stop at a pet store that I had avoided because they sold small animals. I just want to say that I normally avoid pet stores that sell pets due to the obvious ethical issues – they promote pet breeding (including pet mills) and will sell their pets to anyone (for who knows what unscrupulous and horrific purposes, like people who buy rabbits to feed to their snakes). As I parked and walked in, I told myself to NOT look at the animals and to stay focused on the dog food isles, but I caved and looked down to the area where they keep the animals. I saw her in the glass cage and had to go look at her and ask some questions. Apparently no one would buy her as she was quite shy. I was tempted to just get her out of there but common sense told me to wait and think this through a bit more. I also didn’t know anything about keeping rabbits or how I would keep her from my dog (Siberian Huskies and rabbits are not likely a good mix). For the next week, I would go and see her almost every day after work and would almost obsess over her – as I imagined her living in that cage. During this time, I also did some rabbit research and decided to get her. Worst case scenario – I’d rehome her if necessary but at least she would be saved. When I got her home, she was very shy but very sweet and gentle, and seemed content having all this new space (I converted my dog’s large kennel into her living area). I got her spayed and knew the next step was to get her a little brother.
I started looking for her partner and one day when I called the SPCA, they had a few new young rabbits. I dropped in and saw Gus! He was very curious, friendly, and energetic, and the fact that he looked so much Felicia – I knew he was the one!
And they quickly became two peas in a pod.