In all honesty, I'd never even dreamed of owning a bunny.
My parents were not animal lovers so their idea of owning a pet extended to anything that was cheap and not a mammal. So I had little experience of caring for any creature, let alone such fascinating and intelligent creatures as rabbits, when I took home my first...
The whole idea of owning a bunny (if one can truly own these little tikes!) came from a pure, selfish enjoyment of watching wild rabbits bound around in our new cottage garden and an intense desire to cuddle one. Sick of listening to my yelps of "Look there's another...!" my long-suffering partner stated that he was going to buy me a bunny.
Sadly, I think most of us tend to purchase rabbits on impulse - usually for children and without ever really thinking or knowing the amount of responsibility involved. I was so excited that I decided to get my hands on every bit of information I could about caring for rabbits. I was amazed to learn how much was involved in caring for them. Stupidly, I imagined that a few handfuls of carrot and a hutch was all that was required.
How wrong could a person be!
We forget that domestic rabbits have been bred for so many decades now that they are not immune to the same types of disease as wild rabbits. All domestic bunnies must be vaccinated against myxomatosis and VHD every year, at least. They also require require regular check-ups at the vet. Yes, just like cats and dogs do!!! Not to mention a variety of hay and grasses to allow them to continually grind down their growing teeth and keep their delicate digestive systems healthy. A responsible rabbit owner should know the types of veggies and plants that our poisonous to our beloveds, be able provide them with a home indoors (imagine my amazement in discovering there were such things as 'House Rabbits'!) or outdoors with at least 6ft x 5ft of space for running and binkying about...the list of ownership requirements goes on.
However, none of this deterred me in my quest to own a bunny and so, on a sunny Saturday morning my partner drove me to a local rabbit breeder to buy a rabbit...
We arrived at a lovely farm house only to be led to a large dark shed where around 20 large hutches were filled with rabbits, far too many to be housed together comfortably. It was dirty and cobwebby, and knowing what I know now, could only be a sad existence for the bunnies living there.
Still, in my excitement to own a rabbit, I never really considered the prospect. The pleasant young lady assisting me brought out a wooden box which when opened, was filled with a variety of 8 week old bunnies. All beautiful and looking for a home.
I had read that any baby rabbit that is shy when you first attempt to stroke it is likely to remain so forever. Absolute rubbish! Imagine being 8 weeks old and having a massive hand looming over you - it would scare anyone! Still, being a newbie, I took heed of this advice and tried to find a bunny that seemed interested in me. Luckily for me, one of the last rabbits brought out was a 'buttterfly' patterned mini lop. Rather than shying away from me, this little nosey-bonk peroscoped up on his little hind legs and licked my hand.
Our fate was sealed. He was my pick of the bunch...