Bert is right up Ernie’s (Sesame) street!20 Sep 2012
When Michelle and Dave Calais were looking for a companion for their five-month-old neutered male rabbit Ernie, they knew Blue Cross could help them find the right match.
They were aware that rabbits can suffer from depression if they do not have the companionship of other rabbits, and finding a friend for Ernie was an important way to make sure their two daughters, Lydia, five, and three-year-old Millie understood the importance of looking after their pets properly.
What they didn’t expect was to find Ernie’s companion totally by chance
Blue Cross animal behaviourist Ryan Neile, who works at Burford rehoming centre, was walking his dogs in the nearby Bluebell woods when he saw a white rabbit in the distance. Suspecting something was awry, he put his dogs back in his car and went to inspect his find.
Ryan says, “It was clearly not a wild rabbit, so I sheltered her in my coat, took her back to the car and drove her straight to the Burford rehoming centre. It’s lucky I found her because abandoned rabbits rarely survive in the wild.”
The Burford centre gave the female rabbit – who was approximately 12 months old – a full MOT.
It was perfect timing for Michelle. She mentioned to her sister Claire Stallard, who also works for Blue Cross, that she wanted to get a neutered female rabbit as a friend for Ernie… just days after Ryan’s discovery!
After Blue Cross had neutered their new arrival, Claire drove her down to her sister’s home in Southampton and set up a crate in Michelle and Dave’s utility room to start the introduction process between the two rabbits.
Michelle says, “We needed to make sure we wanted the rabbits as much as Lydia and Millie, as we know that the novelty of having a pet can wear off with children.”
“Ernie and his new friend – who we’ve called Roberta, Bert for short – hit it off really quickly and now love snuggling up together.”
Rabbits aren’t often ideal pets for small children as they are easily scared by being handled too much, but Lydia (pictured, left) and Millie (right) enjoy spending time with them in a different way.
Michelle says, “The girls understand that if they try to pick up them up and cuddle them, the rabbits will get scared and run away. They know that sitting on the ground and offering them a tasty titbit is the best way to interact with their furry friends!”
Rabbit Awareness Week
Blue Cross wants every pet to enjoy a healthy life in a happy home, so we’re delighted to support Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW), which runs until 22 September 2012.
Visit the RAW website for more information about this annual event.