Chester our family pet was brought to us through, in reflection, divine intervention.
When we were looking for a pet, it never crossed our minds to get a bunny. We started out small with goldfish and beta fish, but the kids wanted a pet that they could play with instead of one they could only look at. Of course they wanted a dog. At the time, I was headed back to work since my youngest was off to kindergarten and I knew a dog would entail a lot of work and mom would have to do it.
So I asked my kids 3 questions and I told them if they said yes to all 3 then we could get a dog. First I asked “Will you take the dog out in the middle of the night if it has to go to the bathroom?” No. Next I asked “Will you take the dog out in the middle of winter when it is 5 degrees, heavily snowing and icy?” No. Finally I asked “Will you take the dog out in the pouring rain or thunder?” A resounding no! So I asked them “Well, who is going to do all of this work?” “You and dad” they said. I shook my head, quietly laughed and said no, dad and I have to work.
Shortly after that my son asked if we could get a turtle. Of course in my mind I was thinking of a cute little 4 inch turtle, so I said sure! Off to the pet store we went only to find out it is illegal in New York to sell those little turtles. They have to be 12 inches in diameter. The salesperson went on to tell us a turtle would need a 54 inch tank, half with water and half dry. She said they tend to smell and they really can’t be played with. My son’s face was a bit deflated until he saw a bunny (which is why I say divine intervention) and asked about getting one. I said “Well, we will have to look into that before buying one because I don’t know anything about bunnies”. We did end up leaving the pet store with a purchase in hand though… 2 books and 5 magazines all about rabbits and thus began our foray into the world of lagomorphs!
Chester Comes Home
A few weeks later after multiple trips to 3 different pet stores (back then there was no local sanctuary and no bunnies at the animal shelter) we fell in love with little Chester. He was 4 months old and just a beautiful bunny. Baring no expense, we brought him home with an array of items including a beautiful octagonal hutch. Now let me preface this by saying this bun was not an outdoor bun. He was a pampered indoor bun!
Chester was free roamed while we were home meaning he could go anywhere he wanted. He lived in his hutch while we were sleeping or gone from the house. This was only to keep him safe. Chester was very smart. He learned quickly that his food was in the refrigerator and his favorite treat, pretzels, were in a crinkly sounding bag. Anytime anyone opened the door of the fridge or touched the pretzel bag he would come running. As he got older he stopped doing that, but he still get his treats regularly.
Chester was a typical bunny. He loved playing with cardboard boxes, paper towel tubes and chewing wood. All wood. Even the furniture. He also loved to forage, so to speak. We always placed a small piece of carrot in the bottom of his dinner bowl. He would throw all the lettuce out just to get to the carrot! Naturally he was a good boy and cleaned up his mess!
Chester also loved to help out around the house. Especially at Christmas when he would help open gifts!
Most bunnies are not very cooperative, but Chester was. He would allow his human sister Hannah to dress him up! For Halloween he was a bee, a witch (with Barbies witch hat) and a baseball player with a used Mets ice cream cup as his hat. At Christmas he was Santa!
Bunnies do not need to go the vet regularly like other pets might although he did go every 3 months for a mani/pedi. Chester was sick a few times with stasis (blockage in the belly usually of hair from shedding) and had to see the doctor. He made it through just fine each time although I was a nervous wreck! I did learn to see the signs early enough to get treatment before it became dire. One time Chester broke his paw and had to have a cast on. That was quite the sight!
Chester lived his best life with us and brought a love to each of us we didn’t know existed. January 2, 2020 at 12 1/2 years old he decided it was time to cross over the rainbow bridge. I held him in my arms for the entire day and at the vets office. I tried to be brave for him and told him how much I loved him and understood he had to go as the tears slowly streamed down my face. I knew he was ready, but I was not. Chester was a very special bunny that loved his family and being an “only bun”. I still think of him every single day.
I was so grief stricken at losing him, but I was in no way ready to get another bunny. A friend of mine told me she knew a woman starting a rabbit sanctuary locally. I reached out to her, told her my story and asked if I could volunteer as a means to help me through my grief.
I attended the first meeting 3 weeks later in January and signed up to work at all of the fundraisers. I also signed forms to foster, but made it clear I was no where near being ready for that step. The sanctuary didn’t have a location or a building yet as it was just starting up so the only way to help bunnies coming in was to find foster homes for them to live in. A week later I got a call that a family of 3 were in desperate need of a home. Without even thinking twice, we said yes. I mean who wouldn’t? We had the means, we had the room and we had a hole in our hearts that needed to be filled.
The New Buns
2 years and 9 months later Grilly (9 years old) and Onyx (8 years old) are still with us. Our hearts broke once again when Avery crossed over the rainbow bridge Nov 1, 2021.
Since then we have added to our brood!
I started out by saying we were led to Chester by divine intervention. I believe we were guided to be his family so we could love and learn about rabbits. That made it possible for us to save these 7 precious souls. After all, timing is everything and it was just after Chester left us that we began our work with Hop on Home Rabbit Sanctuary.
Domesticated bunnies are the 3rd most neglected, abandoned and relinquished animals behind dogs and cats. Chester’s Corner is a means for me to help bring awareness and knowledge to having a lagomorph as a pet. I will have posts about the care as well as fun ones like my Valentine Bunny Hearts treats.