I didn’t want a second rabbit. Frederic is my pride and joy, my buddy, my lagomorphic soulmate. But I am, after all, only a human, with a full-time job. Little Fred was getting lonely, so I arranged some dates for him at his former home, the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary in Willis, Michigan. Fred was a confirmed bachelor during his time there, so we were all surprised when he took one look at Kenzie and hurled himself in a flop at her feet! Kenzie was a discarded Easter bunny, huge and white, with pink eyes. She’d been literally dumped at the sanctuary one night, tossed over a 6-foot chain-link fence into the snow.
Kenzie was lukewarm to Fred at first, and completely dismissive of me. Smitten Fred followed her around incessantly, gazing at her with adoring eyes. His charm and persistence paid off. Within a week the two were joined at the hip.
As for me, Kenzie considered me a necessary evil. I did, after all, bring the food. But I was always in the way! It was my habit to lie on the floor beside Freddie and stroke his little head. Kenzie disapproved. She would wedge her ample self between us, grasp my hand gently between her teeth, and shove it away. Then she’d lie down, practically on top of Fred, to block him not only from my touch but also from my view!
I respected her antipathy toward humans, given her obviously traumatic past. And her jealousy? Well, Fred was a looker, and I could understand that, too. Kenzie was Fred’s bun, not mine. She tolerated me. She might even come to like me. I didn’t expect anything more.
When Fred first came home, I spent hours with him, talking gently, stroking him, steadily assimilating him into my life. With Kenzie, I took a much different approach. Fred was in charge of making her feel at home. I’d wait for her to come to me, if she ever chose to do so. Kenzie explored the house and her new mate, and pretended to ignore me. But I saw her watching as I went about my daily routine. She listened to my inane chatter and silly “bunny songs.” She learned the all-important goodie schedule.
One day as I was stroking Freddie’s little ears, she thundered up as usual but instead of shoving me away, she shoved her own head under my hand! And later that evening, she slunk up beside me and lay down, leaning against my leg. I reached down and slowly petted her, and she didn’t skitter away. “Thank you, Kenzie,” I crooned. “I’m so happy you’re here!”
Today Kenzie is the most affectionate rabbit I’ve ever met. She starts and ends every day with binkies. She never tires of grooming or pets from her devoted servants, Freddie and me. I loved Kenzie at first because she made Fred so deliriously happy. I love her now because she does the same for me.
By Carrie Henderson
House Rabbit Journal Winter 2009: Volume V, Number 4