We Need Help!
by Katherine, aged 15
This year i adopted a rabbit. She was from a nearby city and belonged to a lady who loved her but didn't have much time to spend with her. Although she had a cage, food, water and was fully litter trained, she didn't have any hay or toys.
I was delighted when the past owner sent a friend round with the rabbit. I thought she was a beautiful rabbit and only 1 year old. The friend told us to rename her so i called my new rabbit, Zoe. She was white and black lop eared and quite big. I wanted to scoop Zoe up in my arms the second i saw her and take her upstairs so i could lay on my bed with her and pet her while she sat nice and sweet like i saw in a movie with a brown rabbit but i wasn't allowed to do that, so i just settled her instead and she did, she settled in very fast and even had her own down stairs bunny proof bedroom all to herself (it use to be a spare room).
The next day i spoiled her rotton, i had saved all my money to buy her hay, toys and tunnels, a brush and even a small pink rabbit lead. Zoe was very comfortable in her new home. Everything was going good. I fitted it to the right size so i could get 1 finger down the side and then i tried Zoe out on her new lead it took a team effort with me and my dad catching Zoe and her struggling to get out of it but we got her in and i let her take me on walk so she could get use to it, she looked irresistible!
A week or so later i decided i wanted to hold Zoe so after cleaning her out like i do daily and changing her water and tipping out old food i got my hands around her belly and lifted her out the cage, she didn't bite or scratch, Zoe is extremely friendly she doesn't hurt people it's one of her little habits, being kind. I tucked up her legs and supported her back like i use to do with my guinea-pigs who sadly died when i was 12 at the ages of 9. Zoe was so cute i kissed the top of her head and put her back in her cage because they don't like being carried around i knew this from rabbit books i bought and i even took an online course because although i was confident i could look after Zoe i wanted to make sure i was making no mistakes.
A few weeks later:
Zoe was out running around and i noticed she had seriously sloppy poo and paper stuck to her tail so went and told mum. Mum came back with a bowl of warm water and cotton wool, she said it was the only way to get it off by giving it a bathe. We spent at least half an hour catching Zoe before she backed into the corner of the room and started making a grunting noise.
"Leave her a bit, she's stressed." my mum told me, so i stroked her and backed off. She ran around her cage a few times but not actually going in and then she half lay down.
"Is it worth trying to catch her again?" i asked.
"Maybe. It isn't bothering her but when you look at her it just spoils her..." i made a grab for Zoe and she shot off under the table.
"I give up." i decided after an hour. "Unless..." i just spotted an idea.
"You know when my auntie's cat was ill and the vet gave her that stuff but the only way to give it to her was to through a towel over her to catch her and then pick her up..."
"We could try but if it doesn't just let her go back in her cage and she can try get it off herself."
So i grabbed the towel from Zoe's armchair (she liked to jump up and watch her TV or sometimes she lay spread out across the floor and watched it whilst i brushed her) i tossed the towel over her and she made no movement so i grabbed for her, i held her like a baby and pulled the towel from her face so she could see.
"Hurry!" i told my mum "she won't let me hold her like this forever and i don't want to move even the slightest bit." So my mum scrubbed and got all the icky stuff off eventually and whilst it was on hand i dried her with the towel.
"Done." i sighed "thank God for that" so i set Zoe back down on the floor, she didn't seem the slightest bit bothered.
The next thing i started worrying about was Zoe's claws, they were getting kind of long now. "We don't know when she last had them done." i told my dad.
"She's fine, you would know if she wasn't because for one thing she wouldn't be running around and jumping off the bin!" That was true. Maybe i was overly fussing about her.
That weekend i slept round my friend's house. She also had a rabbit. It was a boy and lop eared but different colours than Zoe and although they were the same age he was smaller. We spent half the afternoon chancing him around the garden and then at night my friend picked him up like a baby and carried him indoors, we decided to take him upstairs. We lay with him on the bed while he sniffed around us and then he lay beside my friend and fell asleep, this was the best friend sort of relationship i wanted with Zoe.
In the morning when i went home i was dead excited to see Zoe i was desperate to take her upstairs!
"Don't be silly." my mum said.
"What's so great about taking her upstairs, you've got loads of wires hanging around" i don't know what was special about it, it just was and i wanted it. I wanted a best friend relationship with Zoe.
I went into her cage and lifted up the top, she started making that grunting noise again so i stroked her and backed off like i had before. I didn't know why she was doing that, maybe because it was the first time i left her? Was she upset about that?
"She was fine last night." my mum told me. "You should have seen her! Never seen such a crazy rabbit!" So maybe i should have stayed home with her if she was upset about my leaving.
Then for the next couple of weeks Zoe had on and off toilet problems. "I'm fed up with this." my mum moaned.
I checked the rabbit books and apparently it was her diet but she only had rabbit food, hay and the occasional carrot so i took her off the carrots and added more hay, didn't change anything.
"I don't know what's wrong with her!" mum moaned again.
"We're doing everything right..." i knew i was right, i cleaned her every day, fresh everything, a run, a play, i sprayed her litter... what else could it be?
That night i decided i wanted a cuddle from Zoe but when i went to pick her up she kicked away and when she got out her cage she hid under the table but whenever my mum went into her at night she was fine and hyper, just me.
I was starting to get desperate for Zoe to like me, so the next day i tried picking her up again but she scarpered into her litter and when i went to her again she scarpered back.
"She's not a guinea-pig." my mum told me "Like one, but not one. She doesn't like you keep picking her up!"
So for a while i backed off, i sat in the corner of her room, legs out straight and back against the wall, the day Zoe jumped up on my lap would be when i knew we were friends, but she didn't want to come near me so i did something and felt so cruel afterward i thought i was the world's worst rabbit owner, i through the towel over her to pick her up. She won't go on her lead at all anymore maybe i needed to get her on it more regular but now she bites the lead and tries to toss it away, she also tosses any toys i place in front of her and if by chance i do get the harness around her neck i absolutely cannot get it round her stomach. She makes too much of a fuss and then she sits head down sulking and i feel so bad. I take it off and she runs back inside. Maybe she never had anything to do with teens in her past home and prefers my mum. But all i really want is to be friends like my friend is with her rabbit.
If anyone can help me then Zoe is still having toilet problems, still doesn't like her lead and is still acting weird with me. I can't stop thinking how much she changed since we first adopted her and now she won't even jump up in her chair. So PLEASE HELP US. If anyone can then please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
THANK YOU SOO MUCH IT WOULD MEAN A LOT TO SEE ZOE HAPPY AGAIN, WHERE DID I GO WRONG?
Love Kattt & Zoeee xxxxx