Thursday, May 17, 2007

What can you do when you have an aggressive rabbit?

When you think of rabbits you picture this cute little thing. Something you can hug, kiss, and just love on to your hearts content. That isn't exactly true.

For starters rabbits are prey animals. So there is your first strike. Then add previous owners. Did they treat the animal right? Did they give them everything they need? Were they handled correctly or even at all?

As my then fiancee and I planned our future the topic of animals came up. I wanted a dog and he wanted a rabbit. Well July 8th, 2005 I had the day off, feeling a down because my attempts at finding a dog were unsuccessful. I figured why not call the pet store. Yes, they had a few rabbits. So when my fiancee came to pick me up, I said we should look. Not like we had to get one. Of course he held one and that was it. It was a little ball of white with black fur.

The next day we are surprised with a flemish giant. We knew our friends meant well, so we would give it a chance. That first day we put the rabbits together. We named the flemish giant Samantha Jane, the little one we called Ringo. The first few minutes were ok. Suddenly Samantha started to chase Ringo. We were shocked but quickly caged her.

At that time I was only at the apartment on weekends. The following weekend I went to change her litter pan and she nipped me so hard I screamed. It left a bruise. I figured I scarred her, so I let it go.

I should add that I knew nothing about rabbits, and had no regular internet.

On one hand we had Ringo. A ball of energy who was the sweetest thing on this earth. Always exploring. On the other hand we had her, who nipped me a few times drawing blood. She nipped Ringo a few times. One time making him bleed. We started to talk about sending her back. It was hard we had Ringo who was the sweetest thing, still is. Then we had her, who truly scared me. I would not go near her or her cage. If he let her out I was in the other room with Ringo. I was scared of a rabbit!

When I found out she was from a shelter I said one way or another I would keep her. I kept thinking in a few months I would be living there. We would see then.

We were married October 1st, 2005. By that time we had them three months. As soon as I moved in I started to do research online and found some helpful groups who were more than willing to give me all sorts of tips on how to work with her.

I started by leaving her cage open with treats just out of her reach so she had to come out. Each time leaving them a little farther. I would lay down near by hoping she would come to me. I would read, letting her hear my voice. I eventually was able to pet her. Each time the petting lasted a little longer. One day while I was sitting on the floor she came over begging for treats. Thirteen pounds of bunny crawling over me for treats. She now crawls all over me for fun. She will go to sleep as I pet her. All this has gradually happened over the last year.

Thanks to Ringo and Sam, we have four other rabbits. Connor Grayson a dwarf mix, Teresa Mekare a netherland dwarf, Dallas Jinx Jones a holland lop, and Elvis Aaron a dwarf mix. Samantha tollerates the other rabbits but gets along with my dog.

I would say to anyone who is having problems just give it time. Don't give it up. It's not easy gaining the trust of an aggresive rabbit. Even if they don't come all the way around it is amazing to be a part of their life. Rememberthat sometimes it is hard to trust another person. Now step into that rabbit's paws and see how hard it is to trust someone who controls your life. Although it seems more like the rabbits control our life.