(***Scroll to the end for the list of questions when choosing a “rehomed” rabbit.***)
Dang you, Pinterest and Instagram! I saw one too many adorable lionhead rabbit pictures and POOF! My bunny obsession was rekindled.
I’ve been bun-less since January 2018 when our old guy, Peter Rabbit (so cliche, I know!) passed on pretty suddenly. He was a rescue. His first owner was an old man who died at his mobile home and when a friend of mine discovered him, he also discovered a friendly bunny with free run of the trailer. The only thing we knew is that his name was Boo Boo and he was about 5 years old. I’ll tell you more about Peter another day.
Fast forward to early September 2019 and I was home waiting to see what path sloooow-moving Hurricane Dorian would take. A south Georgia landfall was possible. *Sigh* We had secured everything around the house and barn and then I got bored waiting on the storm. I started searching ever-sketchy Craigslist.
I found a listing for a male lionhead. The lady mentioned the rabbit was her son’s, their situation was changing, and they needed to re-home him. He was really cute. He was also 3 hours away. She was NOT quick to respond to my email messages and was quite frankly unhelpful. Either she didn’t really want to let him go or something was sketchy. Hello! It’s Craigslist. So I moved on.
I found a listing for another lionhead. This one was a doe. Unfixed and 2 years old. You know when you read something and you just feel a sense of honesty and goodness from the author? Well, that was how I felt after reading this woman’s listing.
We had a long string of emails and I asked tons of questions. She responded to each one of those AND sent pictures backing up several of her claims. (See the bottom for a list of good questions to ask when considering re-homing a rabbit.)
We made the 3 hour trip, fell in love in 1 minute, and brought home “Bun Bun.” (What’s with my rabbits having double “B” names before I change them!?! Boo Boo, Bun Bun…geesh!) Truthfully, I did more due diligence upon seeing her and she passed all my tests, so that’s when I decided to take her and her cage, extra food, hay, and bedding for a measly $40. So sweet, right? She wanted a good home for Bun Bun and the cost was the final sign that this woman truly wanted to see Bun Bun happy and healthy in the long run.
She stayed “Bun Bun” until I settled on a plan to bond her with a male. Then, she became “Scarlett” and he became “Rhett,” and that’s how Gone With The Rabbits was born.
REHOMING: QUESTIONS TO ASK THE CURRENT OWNER
-Why are you seeking a new home for your pet?
-Age? Gender? Is it spayed/neutered? Has it ever had a litter (doe) or sired a litter (buck)?
-Do you feed it hay? If so, what type? Do you give it pelleted feed? If so, which one?
-What other pets, if any, does the rabbit interact with?
-Litterbox trained? If so, describe what kind of system you use?
-Cage-kept? Room kept? Roams half the house? Free range 24/7? Kept outside? Ever been outside?
-Do children play with this rabbit? Easy to pick up or hops away? Squirmy when held, calm, or it depends?
-Ever bite or scratch anyone?
-It’s ears…can you take a picture of the inside of its ears, please? (If you see brown or black specks or anything other than clean as a whistle, start digging into whether they’ve had an issue with fleas or mites.
-Have you ever cut the rabbit’s nails? If so, is this a one-person or two-person job?
-How much are you asking for him/her? (In my research, people who genuinely want a good home for their pet are NOT going to ask you for a lot of money. If they don’t offer the rabbit’s supplies, you may want to make an offer if you think it’s good stuff.)
IF COMFORTABLE WITH THE ANSWERS YOU’VE RECEIVED, HERE IS WHAT TO ASK & DO AT THE MEET-UP:
-What fresh vegetables and fruit has the rabbit tried? Any adverse reactions (runny poos, stopped eating for a time) to any of these foods?
-Check its teeth! Look for slightly overlapping top teeth. Long or discolored teeth are a warning sign. Tooth problems can be expensive to resolve. Sometimes a rabbit with a poor bite has to be fed a special diet *after* a vet looks at it (cha-ching!).
-Turn the rabbit onto its back with its head tucked in the crease of your elbow. Does the rabbit resist this? If so, you will have a difficult (but not always impossible) time getting it to be okay with this in the future. Rabbits who allow this are usually much more receptive to grooming and nail clippings. While you’re down there, check to make sure it is the sex you’ve been told it is!
-Check its whole body for lumps and patches of missing fur. Part its fur and look for bugs (or evidence of bugs, like brownish-red flea “dirt”) and skin problems.
-Check its nails. If the nails are on the long side, its going to take you weeks to months to trim them back little-by-little and eventually shorten the quicks (the part that contains blood). You want your rabbit to have nails that can be regularly trimmed to a comfortable length.
This list is not to sway you from giving a loving home to a rabbit in rough shape. They deserve love, too! I do want you to know what you’re getting into, however. Rabbits are “exotic” pets and their care usually costs more.
Any questions I forgot to list? Feel free to leave it in the comments section!