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  • Writer's pictureGail Petersen

My Honey Bunny

For me, the first rabbit I adopted, as an adult, was a dive off the deep end. I had grown up with dogs in the house. Airedales, dogs that weighed 70 pounds and were known as “ratters” as they were responsible for clearing the rats out of the coal mines in Northern England. Airedales have a kind nature, but they are predators. We couldn’t have any other animals in the house.

Why a Rabbit?

From the time I could read, my Mother took me to the library and we got all the Beatrix Potter books. Especially those about Peter Rabbit, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail. I was absorbed by the fantasy Miss Potter created with her words and beautiful illustrations. So from the age of four, I wanted a rabbit.

The Rabbit Frenzy Begins

Mom bought me a pajama bag in the shape of a rabbit that you put your pjs in the tummy and the rabbit sat on your bed all day. We bought rabbits in the form of Pendelfin, a British ceramic series of rabbits doing everything from fishing to sleeping on a bed. I collected stuffed rabbit figures and clothes with rabbits prominently displayed on the front. I couldn’t pass anything that was a rabbit.

As I aged, there were rabbit welcome mats, rabbit napkins, salt and pepper shakers, rabbit broaches…you get the picture. My Mom still bought rabbit books and other rabbit reminders. For years I threatened my husband that I would get a real rabbit. As a cat person, he just said, “hm mm” but thought I’d never do it. We both traveled with work too much to have pets.

Here Comes My Honey

Thirteen years ago my Mother passed away. We had spent 12 years caring for her with Parkinson’s. It was my other full-time job. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. When it was over, I had no one who needed the attention I was used to giving to her. I was a caregiver and that doesn’t leave you. My husband didn’t WANT all that attention.

Ah ha! A rabbit. Now is the time.

Along came Honey, a mini Rex at Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue. I found her picture online and fell in love with her classic rabbit look. She was beautiful – honey colored and had just given birth to three kits. Honey and the B’s, Banner, Bliss and Briana.

Once home with us, we found Honey had a fun and sparkling attitude (with plenty of honey…and vinegar). But what a handful. Although we had done our research, we weren’t ready for the speed, agility and strategy that she could apply when she wanted to avoid being picked up for grooming or to go to the vet. She was an amazing racer. Doing the bunny 500 through the house and often running over your feet on the way round her track. From her house in the sunroom, down the hall, through the family room, quick turn, back the same way then up over the ottoman and round again, and again, and again. She never got tired of running that race against herself.

Settling Down with Bear

We got a partner for Honey. He was a Lionhead that was nicknamed the fur-covered rock. He didn’t want to race, or nip, or challenge you. He wanted to be loved, groomed, licked by Honey. They adored each other. It was love. Honey never left him alone. He followed her when she raced but ended up standing in the middle of the room just watching her whizz by. He figured she was doing it all for him too. She licked his ears so much he often got up and walked away. He laid next to her every chance he got.

We loved watching bunny love.

The Legacy

Unfortunately, Honey got kidney disease. Not unusual for rabbits or cats. She was 6 years old. We loved her for her personality, all the lessons she taught us about patience and rabbit behavior, all the love she gave Bear and for being the “Peter Rabbit” of my dreams. She was a beauty. A spunky girl. She demanded your attention with a nip or zip. She was happy and that was what we wanted for her.

Honey passed over the Rainbow Bridge in my arms. My tears on her fine, soft fur. Wrapped in her favorite blanket and zipping off over the bridge to her next bunny 500.

She is a legend in our home and with our friends and family. Everyone remembers “Honey Bunny” as they called her. Bear never got over her. Many years later, when he passed, we are sure he was thinking of her. Bonded rabbits don’t forget.

Honey was the beginning of a lifelong love for rabbits in our home. We’ve fostered many, helped rescue even more, and adopted two more as our permanent house mates. Honey left us in a state of addiction. I am very grateful to Safe Haven for trusting us with her care.

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