I’m a dog person. Sure, I had a few cats growing up, and I know cat people and sometimes I don’t hold that against them, but I LOVE dogs. God. I love how full of love they are and how much they care about whether or not you’re around and how they know when you need a cuddle. But I also love living in apartments so, sadly, having a dog at this stage in our lives was out of the question.
My partner and I put off the idea of getting a pet for quite a while. It was always a “future” thing that we’d be able to enjoy when we earned a bit more money, got a bigger place (for the first few years we were together, we lived in a studio apartment of 45 square metres) but it was really difficult for me.
I grew up in the country, on a pretty large block, with lovely and accommodating parents, so our house was always filled with furry things. I went through more mice than I care to admit, tried fish for a while, had the odd cat until they mysteriously departed to heaven via the street (or were adopted by lovely people just around the corner, depending on who you ask), and dogs (god, I love dogs) including Rocko, MY LOVE:
I desperately wanted to bring Rocko with me wherever I moved, but it is damn hard finding someone who’ll let you rent their property with a big ol’ labrador. So he lives with my folks and is pretty happy all of the time.
Missing the companionship of a furry creature was a bit too hard for me to handle, so we started researching alternative pets about a year ago. Ferrets were high on our list, until we met one, and as LOVELY as it was, goddamn they stank. We have had fish for a while and had plans to make a large paludarium with frogs and stuff, but we ran into some bumps and lost all passion for that project. Plus fish don’t give love, they just die out of spite.
Then I started thinking about bunnies.
I’d had a few rabbits before, but they were never trained to live inside, and I foolishly chose breeds known for angry, psychotic temperaments. It turns out, buying from a reputable breeder with a great track record of making cuddly, loveable bunnies with a very hands-on, four-year-old helper is a lot more pleasant than buying from a pet shop.
I spent months researching breeders in the area, looking up colours, breeds, youtubes of bunnies do amazingly adorable shit. Really, I agonised over stuff that ultimately wasn’t that important. I had my heart set on a blue or fawn coloured bun and was worried I would be disappointed with anything else. (I KNOW, DUMB RIGHT??)
Then I fell in love with this guy:
This is Charlemagne! You can call him Charlie. And holy shit, he is the cutest thing on the planet and I’m so happy to get to hang out with him every day. He’s a five-month-old dwarf lop and is full of mischief and love.
A few amazing things I’ve learned about living with a bunny:
1. They don’t bark or make any noise. Well, at least Charlie doesn’t. I have heard of particularly angry netherland dwarfs having a tendency to grunt, but not this guy.
2. Bunnies are so easily house trained. We managed to house train Charlie in a little over a day. He responds incredibly well to positive reinforcement, so all it took was a few treats every time he used his litter tray, and now he’s perfect. And most importantly, they don’t smell too bad when they do make a huge mess.
3. Oh my god, bunnies are so soft. I completely understand why people make coats out of these guys, but for now I’m content to snuggle him on the couch.
4. He knows what “our bedroom” and “our couch” are and he wants to be there all the time. He doesn’t poop all over the couch anymore, but that used to be a thing. He knew it was ours and he wanted to be a jerk and tell us who was boss. He knows better now.
5. You can put leashes on them and take them for walks. Just be careful of dogs.
6. They can be amazing companions. Charlie naps under my desk when I’m working from home, scrambles up to our laps for treats, and regularly helps us on our computers (see featured image. See? Helpful.)
7. You can teach them tricks. So far, Charlie has mastered standing on his hind legs on command + coming when his name is called, which I never knew was possible with rabbits, but hey, apparently they’re fantastic.
I still miss having a dog sometimes, but Charlie has been so wonderful to have around. He licks our faces for love, snuggles us and naps, and has been amazingly affectionate with all our friends. We love this little guy.