Hmm, rabbits are on the topic list up there on the banner, guess it's time to do something on rabbits. Wait! art is up there too, so if I put up sketches of rabbits then it's a two-fer. Last Fall Boyfriend gave permission to get another rabbit. My Big Rabbit, Bandit, had passed that April after several long medical issues, months of nursing and enormous vet bills (another story for another time, but I can understand why he might not want a repeat experience) and I had been sort of despondent ever since, having a rabbit sized hole in one's heart can do that. Our local rabbit rescue organization is The Rabbit Haven so on September 29th I went to one of their adoption shows, unsure whether I could find the right rabbit, but willing to try. I ignored the rabbit labeled "Rabbit of the Week" he was really too cute, kind of fancy really, someone else would snatch him up just because he got top billing.
My criteria were simple: healthy ( all Rabbit Haven adoptables are
fully vetted), good box habits, good human connection. I held a few rabbits, they were OK, but not "the one". I carefully examined the pens to see which rabbits didn't pee outside their boxes. Admittedly the show is a stressful situation and even the tidiest rabbit might mess up a bit, OTOH it is a good test. Only one rabbit passed the test, Tyler, but he was the too cute" Rabbit of the Week". I picked him up and we had a lap sit, he settled in pretty well and relaxed. A gaggle of little girls came and sat by me, one commented that I should bring that bunny
home. I wondered if she was planted by Rabbit Haven to say such things, but she seemed quite genuine. Tyler was pretty nice, but I just wasn't sure. I put him back and held some other rabbits, then saw someone holding him and talking about taking him home, I couldn't bare it. Boldly and aggressively I went up this interloper and attending Rabbit Haven volunteer and said that actually I was going to adopt this one, and that sealed the deal. Tyler came home. We set him up in an Xpen in the living room. We learned he will not tolerate being locked in his pen, knows exactly where he wants his box by leaving a pile of beans, he likes to run and will not be denied access to the Study, Behind the Wood Stove or Behind the Couch, only actual doors can keep him away from where he wants to go. A few months later I became more and more worried that Tyler was missing rabbit company, it seemed an unfair thing to have to live one's whole life without seeing another of the same species. Tyler's, sister Sydney, was still available for adoption, she was the last of the family to be looking for a home. Tyler and I went to meet her and Auntie Heather from Rabbit Haven at a neutral location. Sydney had gotten a bit overweight in her foster home. On several occasions she had been offered the opportunity to bond with other rabbits, but she had ignored them; she was depressed and disenchanted. Her meeting with Tyler went OK, she didn't ignore him, signs were good. She came home and after a break-in bonding period of four days they got the run of the house. This lead to a wild period for the two of them, running around, not willing to be petted, etc......I think having so much more room to roam triggers more instinctive behaviors.
In retrospect I would have given them less room and increased roaming only gradually. We are slowly regaining our homosapian/lagomorph interspecies social skills; Tyler will allow petting and picking up, Sydney has allowed some petting and will come to see me. Snuggle Bun 101 is just around the corner. Sydney's habits are not as gentile as Tyler's, her box habits are a bit untidy and she has destroyed the back of the couch and (Shhhhhh
didn't tell) some wood work has been chewed. there is still a certain amount of behavior modification that needs to take place. Tyler and Sydney are English Spots born sometime in early May, the family was found wandering about San Jose, you can see their "baby video" by clicking here, be aware it is awfully cute. Tyler and Sydney are both fun and challenging to draw, they do move around a bit and their shapes keep changing, it can be hard to get a handle on their spots. Kimon Nicolaides says in The Natural Way to Draw (and I paraphrase because I loaned out my book) that drawing and sketching have an authenticity and honesty that painting cannot capture. I tell this to my students at the High School when their first desire after finishing a quick drawing is to throw it away." Look at it in two weeks," I tell them," let's not be hasty."
Drawings from from the top: Tyler, Tyler, Sydney, Sydney, Tyler and Sydney (T on the left)