Well readers, it finally happened. Ninja (the smaller) of our buns has decided after a year, that he does in fact like me! Yesterday I got groomed, some snuggles and I was even allowed to stroke him. For those of you who have rabbits you know how independent they are, everything is on their terms and to make matters worse Ninja has had a terrible start in life.
This time last year we "rescued" Ninja and we noticed after neutering and bonding him that he had contracted pasteurella. This meant 3 weeks of antibiotics in which an injection was given to Ninja in the morning and one at night into the side of his mouth. As soon as he was able, we bonded our bunnies which I can only describe as horrendous (a post for next week) in which Berry managed to take a chunk out of his jaw. Ninja developed an abscess and back to the vet we went which meant more injections for Ninja.
Another 2 weeks went by and Ninja was finally better but had huge fear of humans and would only bond to Berry. He would hide behind her and would never come to us (no matter how tasty the treat) or allow us to pet him. This meant that the monthly grooming was an ordeal for everyone.
Slowly over time Ninja has come around with Berry's help. Berry has no fear of anything, she has even managed to take on J's collie and won!But even now if we stand up to quickly Ninja will bolt and he has amazing hearing so any sound at all he doesn't recognise he bolts back to his cage.
Over the last 9 months we have spent hours on the floor with him watching tv, letting him come closer to smell us. We have friends who have kindly looked after our buns a good few times now. They are patient and wonderful, caring people who also took the time to move slowly around him and in his eyes (and ours!) never did anything bad to him. I think the fact that Ninja got to meet other humans (that wasn't the vet) in this way helped him, because after these visits, Ninja would be a little more daring and come a little closer to us. Recently when J was ill, Ninja lay next to him on the couch and groomed his leg. He stayed there for 40 minutes, this was our first proper breakthrough with him.
I know some people think we are crazy for the amount of time and effort you put in to make an animals life better. But the rewards far outweigh any effort put in. Both of us take such joy out of cuddles or binkies that this little man does now. His fear is still there but to a lesser, more manageable extent. His life is better and as a result so is ours. We spend less time on the floor. He pops up to say "Hi" to us. He follows Berry in her binkies to the 'big white box' where the veggies are kept. This little guy went from a cowering bundle in the corner of the cage, who boxed you every time you put your hand in. To a bunny with a personality, who accepts us and now is showing love and affection towards us. For those of you still in the middle of helping a rescue, hang in there, there is light at the end of the tunnel along with a whole bunch of cuddles and slobbery kisses.