scan0016“We do have an elderly female bunny at our shelter,” tells me the lady at the other end of the telephone, “She’s been here for over two years, although I can’t remember her name… She was a classroom bunny but she bit the children, so the school got rid of her. She lives alone in a hutch, she sometimes goes out in a run but because there are so many foxes I can only let her exercise when I’m in the garden. She is very protective of her hutch and will bite most people who put their hand in.”

It turns out the shelter is closing down and the lady is keeping all the other bunnies as pets, except this one. The bunny isn’t spayed, which would help reduce territorial behaviour, and I was worried she may have developed reproductive cancers due to her age. That was it, I just knew we had to help Lulu – I’d already given her a name – and offer her a home. I had fallen in love with this bunny, who had been misunderstood all her life and had probably given up hope of anything better coming her way. She reminded me of another bunny, our beloved Peanut, who three years ago arrived at our foster home neglected and very frightened.

When Peanut died in June, I wanted to take some time off before fostering other rabbits, both to give myself the chance to grieve and because Cottontails is being renovated, and most of the rooms will be uninhabitable for several weeks. I was also concerned that our resident bunny Sweetpea, who is seven and a half years old and not very well, might find it too stressful to be introduced to Lulu.

But try as I may once I knew about Lulu I couldn’t get her out of my mind. Initially we thought about sponsoring her, but paying for her food and veterinary bills would be of little comfort to Lulu, stuck in a hutch on her own. So a few days later we called back the shelter to ask if it would be possible to send money to pay for Lulu’s neutering, vaccinations, and cab fares to the vet. We also reserved Lulu, and as soon as the builders have completed the first room (hopefully in October), we can bring her home!

We would love Lulu to become Sweetpea’s friend, as he looks a bit lost without Peanut and in need of some bunny company. But if things don’t work out between him and Lulu, she will remain here as a sanctuary bunny and will be introduced to the other foster bunnies. Lulu would then share their room and have full run of our foster home and garden for part of the day. Whatever happens she will have a comfy dog bed and fleece rugs to sleep on, lots of chew toys, tunnels and boxes to keep her entertained.

Although we will always miss Peanut, it is some consolation to know that in her memory we are helping another bunny who like her had a bad start in life. We are told Lulu is a beautiful floppy-eared brown and white rabbit, and we can’t wait to welcome her to Cottontails!

PS Lulu turned out to be a gentle and wonderful friend for Sweetpea; we discovered she was deaf and she lounged at people simply because she didn’t hear them approach.

Sweetpea and new friend Lulu