|Parker, December 19, 2015 (approx. 1 year old)|
|Our beloved Harley, in his younger days at our friends' house.|
|Brad holding Harley -|
Bunny-sitting at friends' house
After losing him, we decided not to get another pet until the following year, to give ourselves time to get over our loss and to also go on vacations without having to get our pet sitter to come over. But fate has a way of changing things...
About two weeks later (April 18th) we were out shopping, and on our way back to our car we saw a couple of ladies sitting in front of Petco waiting to go inside with a bunch of rabbits in carriers. They said they were with the Contra Costa Rabbit Rescue and explained how they help save unfortunate abandoned rabbits and help them find new homes. They also help to find homes for the shelter rabbits. They were just getting ready to set up for the rabbit adoption day at the pet store, which they do every Saturday at different locations throughout the county. We decided to go in and check it out and spend some time with the bunnies to help us get over our grief. We told them our story of Harley to the ladies, and Deanna (one of the rescue ladies) kept trying to talk us into becoming a bunny foster parent. We tried to tell her we really wanted to wait because we didn't want to get another pet on the rebound and we also wanted take some much needed small trips because we hadn't been able to get away for awhile.
She insisted that if we decided to foster a bunny she would watch it at her house while we were on our trips. We weren't going to make any snap decisions at that point, especially in our emotional state.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks to Saturday, May 2, 2015.
We knew the rescue group was going to be at PetSmart in Pittsburg so we decided to go visit the bunnies again. My husband Brad got into the pens to sit with some of the rabbits for some social interaction. Most of them just kind of hopped around or sat there to get petted (they seem to melt under Brad's touch for some reason, like he's "the Rabbit Whisperer"), until he got into the pen with a small Himalayan rabbit they named Parker. When Brad sat down with him, it was love at first sight for Parker. Parker hopped right into his lap, crawled up his chest and started nuzzling his cheek by his ear. Other people had been in the pen with Parker, but Brad was the only one to get this reaction from him. This was special. Brad stayed in the pen and gave him the attention he needed and then at the end of the day we helped the ladies gather the bunnies and clean up the area.
We told them we could try to help them out on a regular basis at the Brentwood Petco on the third Saturday of each month since we lived closest to that store. They liked that idea since we could tell our stories about Harley to other people who were considering getting a rabbit as a pet. There are so many people out there that don't know about how to care for rabbits and also don't realize how intelligent they are.
Two weeks later we met the bunnies and their crew at Petco in Brentwood.
Brad made his social rounds once more with each of the rabbits in their pens and when he got to the last one in the row, guess who was there again? Little Parker! When Brad got into the pen with him, it was like they were old friends and Parker gave him the same "kisses and nuzzles" treatment as he did two weeks earlier. We stayed the entire day and unfortunately learned something we didn't want to hear as we were helping the ladies pack up at the end of the day. Deanna told us Parker was from the Martinez animal shelter and he had been there for about six weeks. She said Parker was only about five or six months old, but the shelter scheduled him to be euthanized that coming Tuesday (in three days!).
We couldn't believe our ears! That was the saddest thing we've heard! How could they do that, he's only a baby! They we learned that the white ruby-eyed rabbits are always the first to go at that shelter. (I think there is a horrible prejudice against those rabbits going on there just because they're different.)
We went home that night and couldn't get Parker off our minds.
We had a long discussion about how we weren't planning on getting another pet until at least that January, but we just couldn't let this horrible thing happen to poor innocent Parker who never did anything wrong to deserve this fate.
Sunday morning I emailed the rescue ladies and told them we wanted to save Parker and be his foster parents. They contacted the shelter manager and set the wheels in motion to save Parker's life.
The following Wednesday he was neutered and Deanna cared for him at her house until she brought him to our home on that Friday evening, May 22nd. When Deanna let him out of his carrier in our living room, Parker just lit up and literally jumped for joy when he saw Brad. We've never seen a rabbit do so many binkies. He was giddy with happiness. He ran and hopped about the living room and family room like he was thrilled that his plan worked and he had a new home. He was so excited we were concerned that he would pop his suture.
To give you an example of how smart he is, we have a two-story house and we had to keep him from going up the stairs until he was healed from his surgery. We put a baby gate at the bottom of the staircase as a barrier, but of course all he wanted to do at that point was get past the barrier. I think most rabbits don't like barriers when they can see what's on the other side. The trouble came when Brad sat on the futon by the staircase wall and picked up Parker to sit with him. (That's the only piece of furniture besides our bed he's allowed on now.)
Once he was up on that futon we could almost see the wheels of thought turning in his little head as he tried to figure out how to get onto that staircase. He kept looking at the wrought iron balusters on the staircase and within the next minute or so he jumped up onto the back of the futon and slipped right through between the balusters and onto the fourth step, and then all the way up to the top!
That's when we knew we were dealing with one smart rabbit! Luckily, I took a video of all of this happening. Click on the link below the picture to view the video:
Of course, the "nuzzles & kisses" still continue almost daily with Parker and Brad. He never does it with me. Brad is "the chosen one".
Video of Brad getting "Nuzzles & Kisses" from Parker
Video of Brad getting "Nuzzles & Kisses" from Parker - click on link below to view:https://photos.google.com/search/_tv_Videos/photo/AF1QipNUNZQVJ3jR2I8I1uMf4z-V5BAJ09FJ5QbloXxJ
We did our foster bunny parent duty and brought Parker in monthly to Brentwood Petco for adoption events, plus I started a blog to keep the rescue group informed of his care and activities.
We took him to our favorite veterinarian to get checked out when we first got him. The vet had treated Harley and knew we were very sad when we lost him and told us (jokingly) that he would see us next year for Parker's yearly checkup. (Hinting that we would end up keeping him.) Of course, we did bond with the little guy and after caring for him for six months we couldn't even imagine giving him up to someone else. It would be like giving your baby up for adoption after you had cared for it for the first few months of it's life. I think it would devastate all of us, especially Parker, since he chose Brad to take him in and care for him. He would wonder why he was sent to live with someone else and would probably get depressed from being separated from us. So at the next adoption event with Parker right before Thanksgiving 2015 we told the rescue ladies we wanted to adopt Parker and be his permanent bunny parents. We filled out the paperwork and it became official. I truly believe Harley was watching over Parker from the first time we met and was acting as his guardian angel to tell him we were good bunny parents and we would take care of him and not let anything bad happen to him.
So far, Parker has tested us a couple of times when he refused to eat his favorite foods and we took him to the emergency pet hospital, but thankfully we got him to eat the Critical Care, which started things up again and he got better that night. We really love Parker because he makes us so happy and he also comic relief after a hard day at work. He likes to play a chase game with us where he stops hopping just so we can catch up with him, then he takes off again and shakes his ears (his way of laughing), like he saying "ha ha, you can't catch me!".
It's so wonderful to have unconditional love. Parker is about a little over two years old now (as of December 2016) and still giving Brad daily nuzzles and kisses. He sleeps just outside our bedroom, guarding the top of the stairs each night and come in to wake us up at 6:00 am each morning like a little ray of sunshine, ready for his pets and nose rubs before breakfast. We wouldn't have it any other way.