Entered our care: 19th February 2020
Left for new home: 13th May 2020
Time in foster care: 6 weeks
Abandoned in a pet carrier in a McDonald’s toilet (Stockport Road, M12).
Initial entry health check:
Considerable matting to rear end removed. Highly charged hormonally and attacking. Booked in for neuter.
Jimmy was found abandoned in a toilet of a McDonald’s restaurant. It is a little mind boggling that someone would choose there of all places to leave their pet. It clearly was a deliberate act, as we quickly learnt that he had behavioural issues. Initially we hoped that his behaviour was motivated by hormones. He would spray urine everywhere, circle us and charge at us. We kept in a side pen where he could not get aggravated by other rabbits, nor aggravate them.
As soon as his 7 day ‘hold’ was up we had him neutered in a bid to fast track him to more settled behaviour. Typically male rabbit hormones will take up to 6 weeks, if not long to settle but after being in our care for 2 months nothing had changed, although he was no longer spraying us! By this time he made himself deeply unpopular at the centre and we couldn’t allow any volunteer in with him such was his aggressive behaviour. We had spent weeks trying to alter his response to people but nothing had worked.
It seemed most likely that Jimmy had learnt to be defensive as a result of his previous home. Maybe he was kept in a small cage or hutch with infrequent access to exercise, no privacy and exposed to a stressful environment (e.g. proximity to other pets, children, noise etc). We often find rabbits behave defensively like him as a result of being kept in a hutch and being cleaned out whilst still in it. No wonder then they feel their territory is threatened when this happens. They then act aggressively, people back off and the rabbit has learnt how to succeed in maintaining a sense of safety.
We felt the best thing we could do for him was find him that special home he needed. On 18th April, the day after DEFRA gave permission for rescues to resume rehoming, he went up for adoption.
Jimmy’s website profile
Jimmy is a Netherland Dwarf rabbit approx 6 to 8 months old. He is looking for a home with a highly experienced rescue rabbit adopter. He is a little bunny with a big attitude (problem)……
Jimmy is a really happy and content lad who spends his days enjoying all the enrichment, burrowing in hay and playing. He is a confident rabbit and when the mood takes him he will politely take food from your hands. We let him run up and down the unit when we clean him out so as to not upset him whilst we are in his territory. He still can be unpredictable with his moods and you do need to be sensitive to how he is feeling. We are desperately seeking an experienced rabbit whisperer who can bond with him and bring him on. We honestly can’t say whether he will bond with another rabbit, the bigger hurdle right now is ensuring he can have a positive and trusting relationship with his care-giver.
We became inundated with offers of homes purely because of how cute he looked. No one appreciated the enormity of the challenge ahead but a little ray of hope was thrown our way by a previous adopter offering him to foster him. Her passion for rescue rabbits, in particular Netherland Dwarfs, had found her encounter similar troubled souls. It seemed the best solution all round and an essential lifeline for this little soul we were determined not to give up on.
Memories of Jimmy
In a recent team discussion the strongest memory was of Susie one day, in a rush to get to the vets, was being pursued down the length of the rabbit unit by the tiny dot that was Jimmy. He was in a particularly aggro mood and was circling, spraying and lunging. Susie was trying to navigate away from Jimmy and was keen not to see him escalate to biting. Jimmy was not for letting up and Susie swiftly reached for the water bottle basket and placed it over him to contain him. Having managed to escape the unit unharmed, the staff member cleaning out was left with a bunny is a basket to contend with!
What happened next?
“Hi Susie, I’m ready to adopt him.” That was the email that landed in the inbox on 26th June.
The answer to ‘how do you catch him?’ is simply that he comes for pets all the time and loves to be cuddled – he also has excellent bunny manners, and grooms me enthusiastically. I’ve only seen two reasons for him to nip – the first when he’s frustrated (but he’s now moved on to chittering at me instead), and the second is when he’s over excited – the ‘binky, bite, flop’ combination is quite surprising.
When we finally get past the social distancing, you must come out to see him for yourself – we’re going to name him Idris. He is pretty wary of other voices he can hear from the garden, but he’s met my mum and let her pick him up, so I’m confident that we can be his family and take care of him come what may. Your instincts about giving him a second chance have proved spot on, so I hope you can take satisfaction in a job well done (even if he is technically a ‘foster fail’!)
I don’t suppose we’ll ever know what caused his strange behaviour, but I feel blessed to have him. People thought it was mad to take him on, but I just had a strong feeling after seeing the post on Facebook. I was quite prepared for a long struggle with little reward, but it’s been quite the opposite – he’s brought so much love and entertainment into our family during these difficult times. Thank you for giving bunnies like him a second chance!”