When I got Oscar, my very first rabbit, I expected to be able to hold and cuddle her (yes, her!) on a daily basis. To me, that was her primary purpose. I was horrified to discover that she not only disagreed, she’d kick and scratch her way out of my loving embrace if need be. My arms were striped with the bright red welts that sharp little rabbit toenails leave behind.

The breeder who sold her to me advised me to keep forcing her to be held multiple times a day, which I did, and eventually she relented. But I hated forcing her. Though she never complained after that, I always had in the back of my mind that it wasn’t something she would have chosen — it was a job she had to do.

For Finnegan, fear has a name. It’s The Sizzle. The first whisper of frying foods from our kitchen sends him urgently racing for cover as if a hungry owl had just flown in the window. Desperate to escape his auditory enemy, he cowers or scurries about, unable to rest until the culinary culprit is silenced.

Does your long-eared lad or lass have a nemesis like The Sizzle? Well, there might be a way to help them.

Years ago, I helped a woman adopt a rabbit after her previous one passed away. She fell in love with a beautiful silvery lop named Sheldon, and delightedly took him home. A few weeks later, she gave me a call. She was concerned because she and Sheldon weren’t “connecting”. In fact, he was avoiding her.

I asked what happened when she got close to Sheldon. She said she’d pick him up and cuddle him, but he would get away as quickly as he could. “Have you tried not picking him up?” I asked. Though I tried my best to work with this well-meaning bunny mom, in the end I failed.  She became convinced that Sheldon was somehow defective and he was returned. On the brighter side, Sheldon went on to find a happy home.

Continue reading “Does Your Rabbit Trust You?”

“Moraea! That’s *my* drink!,” I exclaimed, snatching the champagne glass away from her inquisitive little tongue.

“It tickles my whiskers. Can I have some more?” she asked, lunging into my lap.

“Nope,” I said, swiftly changing the subject. “It’s almost midnight. We need to make our New Year’s Rabbit Resolutions.”

Here’s what we cooked up.