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  • Writer's pictureGail Petersen

Saving Grace

We’ve all experienced times of poor health. We ask…why us? When will this end? How do I recover? Where can I go? Who can help me?

Bunny Love and Your Health

I have asked all these questions and more during difficult times associated with a chronic illness. The one thing that I always found at times of need, fortunately, was bunny love. Animals give us comfort. A furry body to hold next to us. A lick of a warm little tongue. A look into their sparkling dark eyes. Their chin on your shoulder. There aren’t many things that drop your blood pressure more than an animal hug. It’s proven. “Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.”

A Long-Distance Relationship

This doesn’t happen on the first day of living with a rabbit. It can take months or even years to earn a rabbit’s trust. It can feel like a long-distance relationship that has special moments then disappears for a while.

Trust isn’t something you get. It is something you work toward.

You don’t have a pet. They have a human.

You adjust to their habits and behavior. They don’t adapt to yours.

Your emotions reflect onto them. What you give is what you get.

A soft voice evokes patience from a rabbit.

A delicate touch encourages grooming behaviors…head down with respect.

Kissing the top of head might lead to a lick back on the nose.

When you make a new friend, it takes patience and an effort to get to know the person. It is no different with a rabbit. Your mistakes will teach you how to handle the situation next time. A nip is not a bite, it is an indication that you are overstepping your bounds. Take it the way it is intended, to instruct.

Saving Grace…My Fluffle

Each rabbit in our fluffle has given me joy. Each one offers a different comfort for me to find. The secret to their gift is theirs to hold until I unlock the mystery. Trying to bond with each one is a challenge. It is also fun, exciting and rewarding. When they binky or lick you or do a bunny flop – you know you are getting through the layers that lead to their special gift.

Ginger a.k.a GiGi

It has taken a year for our sanctuary rabbits to trust me. Gigi now takes her medicine with ease (no longer scared) and Rocky sleeps on me when we snuggle. The sign of true comfort and trust. I live for those moments when he feels completely safe and comfortable in my arms. For a prey animal, that is a big deal.

The health benefits of rabbits are real. Like dogs, cats, guinea pigs and horses, they share their lives with us and we have to earn their trust, work to develop a relationship and protect them. Give your bunny some faith in you. Be their saving grace…and they will be yours.

When you're out in the open And you're tired of hoppin' I'll be there in a moment I'll be by your side When you're scared and you're lonely And there's no one to hold you I just want you to know that I'll be by your side

Lyrics from Kodaline “Saving Grace” with one edit underlined.

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