Friday, October 15, 2010

How I Met Walter

I did not set out hoping for a pet rabbit.  Originally I wanted a dog.  My boyfriend, who would be housing the dog, was completely against this idea.  In an attempt to find a compromise, I suggested the only other pet I could think of that I would enjoy: a bunny.  Paul relented and agreed.

After doing some light internet searching, I was bombarded with advice to adopt a rabbit from a shelter rather than purchase one from a breeder.  I had the best intentions of doing this.  I spent weeks scouring websites of local shelters, but never came across a rabbit that I fell for.  As the weeks passed, I began incorporating local breeders into my search.

I wasn’t sure what I was looking for.  I knew I wanted a Holland Lop, and I knew I wanted a male rabbit that I would name Walter (I give credit to Paul for the name suggestion). Then, while on Wikipedia, reading information about owning a house rabbit, I came across this picture:

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia (via Orlandkurtenbach)

“That’s the rabbit I want!” I said to Paul.  “You can’t have the Wikipedia bunny,” he replied.  I tried using my pouty face, but that didn’t make the Wikipedia rabbit appear.  So, with my dreams crushed, I continued my search.  I found lots of rabbits that looked friendly and sweet, and even some that made me stop and consider ownership.  I learned that I liked orange and white rabbits – mostly because my family has an orange and white dog.  I liked rabbits whose ears stuck out kind of funny, not just straight down towards the ground; I wanted a rabbit with some character.

And then I came across the website for KNT Trails.  I saw an announcement about a litter that had been born just a few weeks earlier, and clicked the link to view pictures of the bunnies.  And then I saw him: my real-life Wikipedia rabbit.

My very first introduction to Walter's cuteness.

I showed the picture to Paul and, in my sweetest voice, asked if we could go visit the bunny.  Paul obliged.

We drove out to Owings, MD sometime in March and Terry, the owner of the rabbitry, had arranged for all the bunnies to be set in a playpen outside where they were free to hop around in the grass. As we walked up to the corral of bunnies, I saw a familiar orange and gray face nibbling at the grass.  “That’s him!” I said to Paul.  “He’s definitely a Walter.”

Walter was so little! He was about the size of my palm.  He gave me a few licks with his scratchy tongue (I should have cherished those licks, because as he's gotten older, they've become few and far between).  At that point, I was hooked.  Paul, who wanted no part of the bunny corral, gave me a skeptical look.  “Pleeeeeeease?” I asked.  Paul shrugged and said okay.  I set Walter, officially named so, back on the ground and told him I’d see him in about a month.  When I came back a month later, he had grown so much!  After a quick squirm, he settled into his travel carrier and left the countryside for the big city.

How did you choose your perfect pet rabbit?  Did you adopt or purchase from a breeder?  What advice do you have for people looking to find their new house rabbit?

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