Today marks the fourth anniversary of one of my greatest adventures and accomplishments. When we briefly lived in Arkansas our dog, Oscar brought to my attention that our backyard had become home to a rabbit nest. There were three precious, adorable, and wild bunnies taking up residency on our property. I never saw the mother but I read that she was most likely around and the best thing to do for the bunnies were to let them be. So we did our best to ignore the cuteness until one day…
I could never live in tornado alley again and that would be fine by me. I hate those scary storms and one night we got hit hard. This particular storm was heavier in rain than twisters and quickly our yard was flooding. I ran out to check on the bunnies. One was stuck in the nest, her back legs were stuck in mud and she was reaching her head up in order to breath. Her screams were haunting and the other two were sitting just outside the nest looking on helplessly. I know all my internet research on the topic of raising bunnies indicated that it could not be done. I read stories of trained professionals failing at rescuing wild bunnies and if I couldn’t find a way to rehabilitate them for the wild, domesticating them would be next to impossible. At that moment I had to choose and I chose to give them a chance. Sure failure was likely but I refused to sit by and let them die when I was there and able to intervene. So I grabbed kitchen gloves, because who wants rabies and these were wild animals, and a large Tupperware bowl. I quickly grabbed the first two with no problem and then closed my eyes, prayed and hoped for the best as I yanked the other one out of the mud. She slipped out with ease but was nonresponsive by the time I got her inside. They were all freezing so I wrapped them in warm towels from the dryer and sat them in a box before heading out in the store to the nearest farm and hardware store to get supplies.
When I returned with a heating lamp, kitten replacement milk and syringes (because any bottle was too big) I was happy to find three living bunnies. There the real work began. For weeks I fed them every 3 hours and took care of them. They became 20 times more time consuming than my human baby. One bunny, Artemis didn’t make it. Her system rejected the replacement milk. I knew going in that this was a likely outcome but was thrilled when I reached the point when it was obvious that the other two bunnies were in the clear. Then the big question was, what to do with the bunnies. The vet practice I took them to said that they were too domesticated to ever return to the wild. To be honest though, after over 6 weeks of caring for them I had no intention of giving Jedi and Diamond away. They were litter box trained and responded to their names. I was blown away at how much personality and individuality these little bunnies had.
So that is the story of our Diamond and Jedi. In 4 years they have lived a lot. They’ve gone through multiple road trips and two moves, one of which was to Saudi Arabia. They have been with us through the loss of a child and the birth of another. They are proud big sisters to two rambunctious puppies and a cat who they would prefer to disown. Life for these once nearly drowned bunnies is golden.
While I am NOT a rabbit person, I am totally into my bunny girls. I do feel the need to point out that rabbits are a lot of work and require a lot of maintenance. They are sweet and adorable but please do not buy someone a bunny for Easter. Also, what the experts say are true. It is best to leave a wild bunny alone. In my case I felt I had no choice and I was willing to accept the sleepless nights and countless hours of caring for them. Even then I consider the success of my bunnies to be mostly pure luck. I would strongly caution anyone who wanted to take on such a project.
So whenever I’m feeling down about my writing or overwhelmed at all I have to do I go love on my bunnies. They are the truest testament to persistence and endurance. I know that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I was told raising the bunnies was impossible. Don’t tell my little furry girls that!