CHAPTER 33 – PLAY DATE
“Abigail, let’s go on a play date today!” said Dad cheerfully, one morning. Abigail, relaxing in her loaf position, looked up at Dad and wondered, “What’s that?” Dad explained, “It’s called The Bunny Hop. You’re going to meet some other bunnies!” Abigail was curious, “Other bunnies? I haven’t seen another bunny since I left my mommy years ago.”
Dad set her carrier on the floor and opened the door. To his amazement, Abigail hopped right in without any prodding. “Well, I guess that means you want to go!” laughed Dad.
A short car ride later, they arrived at a local pet store where the play date was being hosted by The Rabbit Haven rescue organization. Abigail watched through the bars of her carrier as Dad took her inside. He placed her carrier down in the middle of a large area surrounded by a fence. The floor was covered with fleece blankets. There were many cardboard tubes and boxes and tunnels like the one she had at home. Ray, the man in charge of the bunny park, lifted her out of the carrier and placed her on the floor.
Abigail looked around, not knowing what to expect. Suddenly, a bunny hopped over and gave her a sniff. “Hi there! What’s your name?” he asked. Abigail wiggled her nose back at him, “I’m Abigail.” The other rabbit wiggled his nose and said, “My name is Horton. First time?” Abigail wiggled her nose some more and answered, “Yes.” Horton replied, “Welcome to the park!” and he hopped off to play. Abigail began sniffing all the new smells and exploring the many tunnels. Out of the corner of her eye, she kept a watch out for Dad, just to make sure he wasn’t going to leave her there.
Dad sat with all the other bun parents along the fence, watching all the rabbits. It was cuteness overload. Abigail overheard some of the parents talking to Dad, “Oh, is THAT Abigail? She’s so cute and tiny! I read her blog every week! Mine’s the white lop-eared one over there.”
As time went on, more and more bunnies arrived at the Bunny Hop. So many rabbits! One bunny would jump and five others would scatter in different directions, which would trigger even more bunnies to scatter. There was lots of commotion! This was a bit overwhelming for Abigail, who was used to living by herself. She ran over to the edge of the park and hid under a wheelchair to watch.
Dad peeked under the wheelchair at Abigail. “Are you OK, baby?” he asked. “It’s a bit scary,” thought Abigail. Dad went and bought an extra-small snuggle sack from the nice lady behind a counter. He gently scooped up Abigail and placed her in it. Abigail buried her head under the side of the snuggle sack, trying to disappear. “Oh sweetie. Don’t be scared. It’s OK. I’m here,” whispered Dad as he gently stroked her.
Dad knelt down and placed her on the floor in front of him. A large brown bunny hopped over to check her out. “Are you OK?” asked the bunny. Abigail just hid in the snuggle sack, trying to look invisible. Eventually, Abigail worked up the courage to try exploring again. She made another round through the play area, but then headed back to the fence to watch.
“OK, I think you’ve had enough for today,” observed Dad. Ray explained, “Usually, they do better the second time. The first time, they’re just getting used to it. But they remember.” Dad looked at Abigail. “Did you hear that? We’ll give it another try next month and see what you think.”
Abigail thought, “Well, maybe. We’ll see.” Right now, she just wanted to go back to her quiet home.