As Willow the wild bun’s kits grew older, they began venturing out into the yard. Dad noticed them occasionally eating at the food station or nibbling in the magic garden. But under the house, one kit stayed behind. She was afraid of the outside world, and preferred to stay by herself under the house.
Dad watched on the camera as Willow tried to coax her baby to come out. But the baby would run and hide under the plywood. She had a distinctive pattern in her fur, kind of like a tattoo, which made it easy for Dad to recognize her. Dad told Abigail, “There’s one rabbit under the house that’s afraid to leave. She’s very cute. She’s so tiny, she looks like what you probably looked like as a kit. I think I’ll name her Abby, after you.” Abigail thought that was just fine!
One morning, Dad was preparing breakfast for his buns when he looked out the window. There were two rabbits eating. One was Willow, and the other was Abby! “Oh my gosh, Abigail. Abby is outside!” he said, excitedly.
From then on, Dad would spot the two of them eating outside the rabbit burrow. Dad always made sure there was Small Pet Select alfalfa, willow leaves, and water available. At first, Abby and Willow would run and hide if they saw Dad moving through the kitchen window. But over time, they came to know him, and would just continue eating. Willow reassured her baby Abby, “Don’t worry, he’s OK.”
One morning, Abigail sat watching Abby eating outside. Abigail thought, “I wonder if she would like some of my cilantro and apple?” Dad said, “Good question! Let’s give it a try!” He went outside and placed some fresh cilantro and a slice of apple beside the willow leaves. Abby ran to the burrow and hid, but peeked out to watch. Dad reassured her in a soothing voice, “Don’t worry, Abby, I won’t hurt you. Here’s some other food. Try it! Abigail loves this. You might too!”
Dad went back inside to watch. At first, Abby ignored the new treats. But eventually, she sniffed them and decided to take a bite. And then another. And soon she was devouring the cilantro. “This is good!” she thought. Then she took a bite of the apple. “Oh yum!” she thought. Dad smiled. He had introduced the wild bun to some new treats.
Abby soon came to realize that Dad was safe. She would even let him get within inches of her to put out food when she was eating. But if anyone else came, she ran and hid. Clearly, she could tell the difference between humans.
Dad said to Abigail, “Abigail, watching Abby has taught me a lot about you. After watching wild rabbits, I see where your behavior comes from. It’s no wonder you’re so skittish. Your wild cousins always have to be on guard. But you’ve come a long way after living here for a couple of years.”
Abigail thought, “Yes, Dad, we can’t help it. When you’re low man on the food chain, you are programmed to not trust anyone. It takes a long time to build trust with us. Even though I know you love me and won’t hurt me, it’s still hard to fight that instinct.”
Dad gave Abigail a pet. He remembered when she first came to live with him and wouldn’t even let him pet her. She really had come a long way.