CHAPTER 198 – My Space Becomes Our Space
Abigail continued to be curious about Enzo. During the day, she would saunter over to Starbuns Café and say hi to him through the fence. Dad watched the two of them sniff each other. There were still no signs of aggression.
Dad asked Abigail, “Sweetie, I think we’ve gone about as far as we can go with dates in the ex-pen. How about if we let Enzo play in your area for a couple of hours a day? I’ll be here to watch.”
Abigail thought, “Well, OK. I guess.” She still wasn’t sure about this new guy, but she knew her way around her territory and could out maneuver him and hide if she needed to. Dad said, “It’s your decision. If this bothers you, just thump and let me know.” Dad knew from past experience that when Abigail was unhappy about something, she would thump to let him know.
Enzo watched as Dad opened the door to the ex-pen. “OK, Enzo. You can come out and play now!” he announced.
Enzo was so excited! If he was a dog, he’d be wagging his tail. He had been waiting months for this! He hopped out and looked around. So much more space to explore and run around in. He spotted Abigail by the window and called out, “Hi Abigail! Wanna play?” He ran over to see her. Abigail was still shy and darted off behind the couch. She emerged from the other side with Enzo following. He was just playing chase, so he stopped. Abigail turned and thought, “Wow, you’re much faster than Dad is!”
Enzo decided to leave Abigail alone and explore this vast new area. Abigail watched as this visitor explored her territory. She didn’t feel the need to thump.
For the next couple of weeks, Dad let Enzo out to play in Abigail’s territory for a couple of hours each night. Abigail would only let Enzo get close to her if there was something between them, like the bars of the ex-pen or the spokes of the bicycle wheels. Every so often, he would chase after her, but always playfully, not relentlessly. Of course, being a rabbit, he also put up his “signs” in the form of poops in her area declaring this was now his territory as well. Gradually, her space was becoming their space.
Eventually, they reached a level of mutual coexistence. They would relax near each other, but not too close. Sometimes, Enzo would go rest inside his ex-pen even though the gate was open. Abigail would take advantage of the opportunity to go over and take a closer look at him.
There was still never any aggression. Dad noticed little signs that Abigail was warming up to Enzo. She wouldn’t run as far away and sometimes, she’d even sneak up behind him and sniff at him to get his attention, and then run away. Dad called it “flirty dancing.”
With conventional bonding, it’s often recommended to switch the bunnies’ territories. But in this case, they traded places all on their own. While Enzo roamed around in Abigail’s territory, Abigail would sneak into Enzo’s room to check things out.
Dad began leaving the gate open during the day as well. For the most part, afternoon was naptime. Enzo would sleep in his castle in his room and Abigail would rest behind the couch. After dinner, they’d play together. By late evening, Enzo would retire to his room on his own and Dad would close the gate.
It wasn’t love (yet, anyway), but they were becoming more comfortable with each other. Dad thought, “Bonding rabbits sure takes a lot of time and patience!”
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