Friday, July 21, 2006

Ms. Spots Visits the House Rabbit Society

Ms. Spots went on her first House Rabbit Society get-acquainted visit this afternoon. I had gone over yesterday to take a look, and after four hours of hanging out with the rabbits, I had a couple of possibilities in mind. Quite a few of the adoptables were out of the question because they were either already paired or larger than I thought my mother would accept (although I was quite taken with a beautiful Flemish Giant). Unfortunately my top choices, currently named Florencia and Cami, were both does. It’s possible to bond same-sex pairs, but it’s usually harder if they didn’t grow up together. Florencia is a stunning little black rabbit with half a white collar, and she is both friendly and lively. Cami is an older English Spot, somewhat like Calypso Spots in appearance but with more white. She was initially rather shy but then decided that she wanted me to spend the afternoon petting her. After a significant petting session, she danced around the room for awhile.
Ms. Spots was opposed to having her nap interrupted, and made this clear in a relatively polite fashion on the drive over. She does not like having to go anywhere in the car if it can be avoided. However, she settled right down once we got to the HRS and returned to nap mode once placed in the get-acquainted enclosure. My parents and I were directed to make our rounds of the rabbits and make a list of those we wanted to try, especially males.
Ms. Spots is one of the friendlier, more easy-going rabbits I have ever encountered, but all the same she is particular about members of her own species. She fell in love with George almost instantly, but has been known to object to other rabbits who come into her territory. This is normal; the question was, how would she react to strange rabbits on neutral ground?
The first rabbit, a small male named Guinness, seemed to appeal to her somewhat. She was friendly towards him. Guinness behaved well, but seemed overwhelmed by the prospect of a doe three or four times his size. For the most part he sat in a corner and looked nervous while she introduced herself. We all thought Guinness could be a possibility, and that he was very handsome.
The second rabbit, Valentino, was closer to her size. We thought he was pretty handsome too, but Ms. Spots took an immediate dislike to him and tried to bite him. He appeared much alarmed.
Winter, a lively male who seems unaware of the fact that he has only one front leg, greatly took her fancy. Although he was a little hesitant, perhaps because she is significantly larger, she was eager to cuddle up with him. They were very sweet together. Unfortunately, my parents have a prejudice against pink-eyed rabbits, although they didn’t mind Winter being three-legged. I am not fond of pink eyes either, but I think we could all get over this for the right rabbit.
Ms. Spots took violent exception to poor Florencia, who is really a delightful rabbit. After being attacked a few times, Florencia decided that she had better mount Ms. Spots and show she was not a wimp. We gave them ample chance to get along, but gave up hope on this working.
Cami seemed quite interested in getting to know Ms. Spots, who by this time was trying to make clear to us that she had had enough of this adventure and wanted to return to napping. When obliged to meet Cami, Ms. Spots mostly behaved herself, but was erratic, apparently uncertain whether she preferred to be friendly or throw her weight around. She mounted Cami at one point, and at times was inclined to nip, but it seemed clear that the two were at least interested in one another. My impression was that the liking was stronger than the naughtiness, but unquestionably the two would have to resolve some dominance questions. I think Cami is a very nice rabbit, fundamentally much like Ms. Spots, so I would like to see them get along.
A handsome small male named Gumbo also seemed like a possibility. Like Guinness, he was a bit in awe of Her Abundance, but he was less shy. Ms. Spots appeared to be getting irritable at having her nap so consistently interrupted, and although she showed no sign of really disliking him in a personal way, she was testy and not remarkably friendly. As with Cami, she alternated between being rather nice and rather unpredictable. Gumbo was not really sure what to think.
The last rabbit brought out for her inspection was evidently the last straw, and she flung herself at him as if he had personally slaughtered George. We decided that she was definitely too tired for any more introductions, and as soon as he was removed, she returned to nap mode. She obviously didn’t like him, but it was also obvious that she had had enough for one day. We made arrangements to bring her back tomorrow to visit her favorites again. Since it will be later in the day, she may be in a better frame of mind.
Ms. Spots is, on the whole, an adaptable creature who doesn’t hold a grudge. Once we got home, she was ready for a little petting and further napping. In the evening, she woke up enough to ask for massive amounts of petting, and was extremely cuddly. She got an hour or more of intense petting out of me and then started working on my mother, who was more in the mood to give treats than to provide hours and hours of petting. Treats were simply not of great interest, however. Perhaps Ms. Spots wanted everyone involved to express their attachment to her and stop talking about how we should exchange her for a pre-bonded pair. One can hardly blame her for that. Fortunately, she knows no one is serious about wanting to trade her in. Penelope, her predecessor, would have reacted to such remarks with considerable paranoia. You couldn’t make any kind of joke around Penelope. Ms. Spots is much more secure. I feel sure she will soon be making one of these rabbits (or one we haven’t met yet) feel glad to be alive.

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