Carol Allison and her husband, Gerry Upton, are volunteers for several animal welfare projects. An extension of their work is a houseful of animal personalities. For three years, the dominant presence in their living room has been a sable-coated rabbit named Sarah.
Sarah was found at a nearby wild bird refuge and brought in a cardboard box to Carol and Gerry at a time when they had only one rabbit, Leo. Something was clearly wrong with her, and Carol didn’t want to handle her until she could take her to a vet. “But she jumped out of the box and headed towards Leo’s food dish.” A veterinarian exam and x-rays showed that Sarah’s front legs were permanently dislocated at the shoulders, possibly from an injury early in life. “The veterinarian was pessimistic. We didn’t know then how well she was,” says Carol. Sarah showed no sign of pain. Sarah was welcomed by Leo and took up residence on the comfortable carpeted floor.
“She couldn’t live in a cage,” says Carol. “She needs room to move.” Sarah negotiates distances in her own way, circling and backing up until she arrives at her destination. She requires shallow food and water dishes. “She grabs her dishes and pulls them to her,” explains Carol. Sarah is paper-trained.
As time went by, new companions arrived. Sarah now enjoys what Gerry jokingly refers to as her “harem”: six neutered male rabbits who share her space. Much of Sarah’s time is spent sprawled on a pillow, being groomed by several rabbits at a time.
But don’t mistake her indolence for passivity. “She can move like lightning if she wants,” says Carol. “She guards the room.”
“She’s the boss,” agrees Gerry. “She’s sweet, but she’s the boss.”
“Sarah’s a super-soul,” adds Carol. “There’s so much energy and willfulness-in spite of her deformity.”
by Holly O’Meara
House Rabbit Journal Volume I 1989