If there's one lesson I learned from parenthood, it's that things NEVER go as planned. Teaching yourself to just expect the unexpected is key. This lesson seems to apply to all aspects of life.
There's a point (a very hilarious and ironic one) to sharing that important lesson! I just need to share a bit of our story first...
Growing up, my family had lots of animals. You name it, we most likely had it! Cats, dogs, rodents, geese, ferrets, rabbits, goats, birds big and small, and even a horse. Thanks to my childhood, I have plenty of experience with animals of all kinds, so we tend to be a bit unconventional and more open minded when it comes to owning pets.
When I was a teenager, I had a pet rabbit named Buster who lived indoors, was litter box trained, roamed freely through our house, and pretty much hated everyone but me and one of our cats. They were best friends and could always be found side by side.
Lexie had been begging for a pet rabbit since she was a young toddler. We always said no because we had a huge Great Dane, but since she passed away, we had been dog free for over a year. When she asked again, we had no reason to say no. Even my husband agreed, so at the beginning of September, my dad took Lexie and Dylan to a nearby farm to bring home a pet rabbit.
Of course, one rabbit turned into two. I even made the joke that they were multiplying like rabbits, but considering they were coming from a farm who raised them for food, we couldn't say no to two rescued babies! And they sure were adorable and sweet.
Sure enough, Arctic and Fluffy turned out to be great indoor pets! They are super sweet and friendly, and they love to play with toys. Taking care of them is simple and inexpensive. Yes, they need to be supervised because they do like to chew when they get bored, but we do allow them to hop through our home for a few hours each day. They are both house trained, and they return to their cage to go to the bathroom, then hop back out to play. They really act similar to dogs. My kids adore them!
Even though I embrace the unconventional, it's still amusing to walk into a room and see a bunny curled up under a chair or asleep on the couch! But I really am glad we got them. They bring a lot of fun (and excitement...read on) into our home!
Here's where things get funny!
I originally made the joke that they multiplied like rabbits, but the joke was on me...
When we got the bunnies, our ONLY stipulation was that they both had to be the same gender. They were checked by a professional, and my husband and I double-and triple-checked. Two girls!
Or so we thought...
Apparently, it's very common for male, ahem, parts, to not show up immediately. This causes male bunnies to look JUST like female bunnies. And sure enough, one day Lexie spotted some questionable parts on her beloved bunny. A bunny that is now named Bernie.
We immediately separated our bunnies, until we could get the male fixed, but it was too late. And last Sunday, my kids got a very visual lesson in the incredibly bloody miracle of birth. And suddenly our two bunnies became ten bunnies. BOOM. They definitely multiplied. A LOT.
Grant and I suddenly had a lot on our plate. We don't have the space to keep ten 10-12 pound pet bunnies, or the money to get all the males fixed (when their parts become visible). However, we don't want to send them back to the farm where their fate is inevitable.
After much discussion, we decided to keep one for Lily who had been asking for one of her own for the past few months. Bernie will be neutered next week, and the babies will remain with Arctic for the next 6 weeks. We will find homes for the other babies, and Lily's bunny will move into a separate cage until we know FOR SURE what gender it is, and then get neutered if it's a male. After that, it will move into the cage with its parents.
We already found definite homes for two of the bunnies, and we have potential homes for four others. And, unfortunately, one of the babies passed away. We were told it wasn't unusual to lose one or two, but I sure wasn't prepared when I only spotted 7 babies in the cage over the weekend. My heart immediately sunk, and I'm not going to lie: I almost cried when I found one of the babies buried in the bedding. Even my husband looked bummed as he buried it. The babies were thriving so I'm not sure what happened. The vet said it was probably accidentally crushed or suffocated. I know we're not keeping them, but we quickly got attached. My girls were so upset when we told them!
It was definitely a sad moment, but the remaining seven babies are thriving! My kids think it's so cool to be able to watch them grow, and I agree. This will be their only chance to watch every stage of bunny growth. They also get to play a part in raising them by getting them used to (gently) being handled, so they are friendly when they go to their new homes.
When the bunnies were first born, they were tiny, pink, and completely hairless. By day 3, they were covered in a fine layer of white fuzz (picture above). Now, at just over a week old, they have longer hair, their ears are getting bigger, and they are getting chubby. Their eyes haven't opened yet, but that moment is close! And they are REALLY cute!
I admit that my immediate reaction was "WHY is this happening?!?" but after four kids, I learned to roll with the punches. Everything always ends up working out, and this will be no different. We just have to focus on the positive, and, well, the cuteness of those baby rabbits!
It's true that nothing goes as planned. But just like every other curveball thrown our way in life, we figure it out. This time, we're having fun learning in the process! We learned an important lesson in rabbit ownership, and we won't let them multiply again!
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Justine at Full Hands, Full Heart