CHAPTER 202 – Bunny Whisperer
It was time for another adoption photo session at one of the local shelters. Every few weeks, Dad would visit the local shelters and take photos for the new bunnies who had arrived. They needed their “glam shot” so people could see how cute they are and want to adopt them.
Dad had been volunteering his service for three years, now. He’d met hundreds of bunnies and learned how to handle all the different personalities. He’d also perfected his technique in taking them out for photos. He knew bunnies weren’t mean by nature. They were just either scared or frustrated from being kept in a cage.
Today’s star model was Lavender, a little Netherland Dwarf just like Abigail. Except Lavender was gray instead of brown. Netherland Dwarfs tended to be a bit skittish, having been bred from wild Polish rabbits, but after years with Abigail, Dad knew how to handle them. Once she was comfortable with her environment, Lavender hammed it up for the camera, striking all sorts of cute poses. “You’re such a good model!” praised Dad, “You’re so cute. You’re going to be adopted in no time!”
The shelter managers had told him that some people had driven hundreds of miles to come adopt a rabbit after seeing their photo on the website. And many times, rabbits were adopted within two weeks of having their “glam shot” posted.
As he wrapped up the day’s session, he ran into the shelter manager who asked, “How’d it go?” Dad replied, “Went great!” The shelter manager asked, “How was Lavender?” Dad said, “Oh, she was great! What a sweetie. If I didn’t have Abigail, I’d want to take her home with me!”
The shelter manager looked surprised. She replied, “Oh really? She’s been very difficult. She lunges and tries to bite us! You must be a Bunny Whisperer.”
Dad shared his technique, “No, I think I’m just good at empathizing with bunnies. Instinctively, they want to run if someone tries to pick them up, so I try to prepare them for it. First, I always pet them and speak softly to them for a couple of minutes before I try and pick them up in their kennel. That way, they know I’m friendly and they can trust me. Bunnies are a quick judge of character. Then, I look them straight in the eye and tell them I’m going to pick them up while I gently and firmly wrap my hands around their body. I pause for a moment and ask if it’s OK if I pick them up. That way, they aren’t surprised. I scoop them up and make sure that I support their hind end and then hold them securely to my chest so they know they won’t fall. It pretty much works every time – even with the biters.”
As Abigail had always advised him, “Respect the bunny!”
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