If you had asked me at the start of 2020 whether we’d ever get a rabbit, I probably would have said no way. Even though we had a rabbit cage that Jacob had purchased in hopes of getting a rabbit sitting in a box inside our garage. Jacob was supposed to return the cage, but as recounted in A Bunny Story, we instead adopted a rabbit, Penelope Jane, from the Pasadena Humane Society.
Fast forward 15 months. The Covid19 pandemic had since upended our lives since February 2020, and while we were slowly emerging from the restrictions of a global crisis and life was resuming a new normal, we were still dealing with the consequences of the extended stay-at-home measures. Life at home was certainly made more pleasant by the presence of our pets, and we were not alone in that. Throughout 2020, pet adoptions in Los Angeles County and nationwide saw a spike as more people were fostering and adopting dogs, cats, and other critters, making many shelters closer to no-kill than ever before. This was great news for both the dedicated humans caring for the animals in their respective capacities as well as the many animals finally finding their forever homes.
Like with Penelope, adopting yet another pet was not on my radar. I have held to a loose “two pet policy” in our home, occasionally making an exception for the Mickey Mouse platy bought at PetSmart for Nate or the beta fish party favor we got stuck with for four years. So with Owen and Penelope, it felt like our home was pretty complete. Enter “Twinkie.”
Twinkie was a rabbit who was picked up from the Monrovia PetSmart, abandoned with two other rabbits, and brought to the Pasadena Humane Society. This cute little guy had a large tumor requiring removal, and following a successful surgery, was taken care of by a foster family for a few weeks before being placed for adoption. The girls, who have taken to checking the humane society site for critters more for fun than anything else, found Twinkie and instantly fell in love. He was described as a sweet cuddler, and so they thought he would be perfect for our home.
They were not wrong. After a successful phone interview, we picked up our new bunny on Wednesday, May 26. He was smaller in person than he looked on the website, but he was hopping around the adoption area and seemed a curious little rabbit. He looked especially cute standing on his hind legs as he sniffed around. While a bit skittish, as would be expected after being in several different places in a short time span, he did strike us as very sweet. We brought him home, and began the process of introducing Henry James to the family. So in just over a year, we went from no rabbits to two rabbits in our 930 square foot home.
I would love to say that it was ‘love at first sight’ when Henry and Penelope met for the first time. But that’s not how most true love stories really start, despite what fairy tales and soap operas would have us believe. When we put the two together in a pen for the first time, Henry chased Penelope. As she tried to get away from him, Owen, who loves his ‘sister’ and was watching the exchange just outside the pen, began to cry. It was at once funny and sad, especially since our sweet dog didn’t seem to know that some conflict would be part of the bonding process. However, after that first night, some bathtub bonding, and many pieces of banana on the bunnies’ heads to kickstart bonding, Henry and Penelope are getting along great after only a couple weeks. He follows her around, and they share food and loaf next to each other. Henry is also beginning to get used to his very big brother, Owen, and is becoming more comfortable being out in the yard with him. It seems that sometimes he doesn’t quite know what to expect with a dog in his family, but so far they’re doing pretty well together.
With time and patience, I am sure that Henry and Penelope will forge a strong bond. After all, that is what makes a relationship strong- hard work, patience, and love. Henry is now a part of our family. And I think it is time for me to do away with the “two pet policy.” We might have a tiny house, but we do have a big backyard. And a bigger capacity for love.
Adoption over pet stores and breeders are becoming the more popular option for finding a fluffy buddy. We are four for four with the Pasadena Humane Society and ASPCA when it comes to finding sweet pets. Both of our dogs, the late Maxwell and Owen, along with our two bunnies were all adopted at the Pasadena Humane Society. We advocate for rescuing animals whenever possible; there are so many wonderful pets who could use a forever home. If you are looking to adopt, check out PetFinder powered by Purina for searches in your local area. If you are close to Pasadena, you can schedule an adoption with an adoption counselor by visiting their website or calling 626-792-7151. The San Gabriel Valley Humane Society is another great place to adopt. Just ask George and Amal Clooney, who adopted their basset hound from San Gabriel back in 2015. SGVHS was also featured on Animal Planet’s Pet Nation Renovation. Wherever you find your new best buddy, here’s to finding happy tails!