Family, Pets, writing

Penelope Jane: A Bunny Story

I had zero intention of adopting a rabbit, certainly in the near future and possibly ever. It isn’t that I don’t like rabbits; I used to be a teaching assistant for a biology teacher who had rabbits in class and I loved those bunnies. In my past life, long long ago, I even worked with them in the lab. We took care of our rabbits, and never performed unnecessary tests on them, however they were not exactly pets. So when I arrived home from work one day to a very large Amazon box, I was a little confused.

Without asking, my son had ordered a rabbit cage with the stash of Amazon gift cards he’d received for Christmas and his recent eighteenth birthday. After getting over the size of the gargantuan box sitting in my living room, there followed an exchange that went something like this:
Me: What on earth is this?
Jacob: What?
Me: What’s in this massive box?
Jacob: Oh, it’s a rabbit cage.
Me: For what? We don’t have a rabbit!
Jacob: Well we can get one.
Me: Who’s going to take care of it?
Jacob: Me.
Me: Jacob you’re going to be leaving home soon anyway. No way. Log into Amazon and start a return.

That was in January. The weeks passed, and the cage wasn’t returned, despite reminders to clean up the garage where the box then sat. Then February came and was off to a rough start. We had been under much stress as a family as life has been changing at a rapid pace, and anxiety and depression have been experienced by some members of the family, myself included. On February 4, a particularly difficult day, Emily missed school and stayed home with me. To cheer us both up before what would turn out to be a disappointing appointment, we stopped at the Pasadena Humane Society. I planned on giving her 15-20 minutes to look at the dogs, and warned her that we wouldn’t be adopting anyone today. We looked at the dogs, and then she decided to look at the rabbits. I saw no harm in looking.

And then we met Penelope. She was a calico bunny with very short hair from what we thought was being shaved only to find out that her hair had been picked out by other bunnies. She had come from a house where bunnies were hoarded, with 60 being taken from the home. The animals were kept together in plastic storage containers. When they were removed from the house, they were sent to other shelters. Penelope was found to have a sweet disposition and was sent to Pasadena Humane Society and ASPCA in the hopes that she would be adopted into a forever home.

It was love at first sight so to speak. The humane society volunteer took her out to play in the pen, and Emily was instantly taken with her. I texted the husband a photo of Emily playing with the bunny and he half-jokingly suggested we get a therapy rabbit. While I had no intention of bringing home another pet, it wasn’t hard to convince me to bring Penelope home. After all, we already owned a rabbit cage.

At time of writing, it’s been two and a half weeks since Penelope became a part of the family. Her cage sits in the living room, against the wall where I found the large box from Amazon. We let her out a couple times of day to have a run of the house, and she’s finding her favorite hiding spots. Our dog isn’t fazed by her; hopefully they’ll soon become buddies. She enjoys being pet and cuddled, and her presence in our home has been a wonderful albeit surprising source of joy.

I learn everyday that life doesn’t always happen as we expect, but that there is happiness in the unexpected. We found our new fluffy buddy without a plan, and just so happened to be prepared to take on the responsibility and the joy. I do not recommend pet adoption without thinking through the effects, but I do recommend having an open heart. Your local animal shelter is a great place to find a furry friend, be it dog, cat, rabbit or other small animal. At the Pasadena Humane Society there are even birds and reptiles if you are looking for a feathery or scaly friend. So before you purchase a pet from a store or breeder, try adopting from your local shelter. There are many sweet animals just waiting for their forever home. Happy tails!

Our boy, Owen, was also adopted from the Pasadena Humane Society, as was our first dog, our patient and mature cream Labrador retriever, Maxwell. Our local shelter has been a wonderful place to find our fluffy buddies. If you’re local to the Pasadena area, check out

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