Oddly enough, it was because of his teeth that I nearly passed him by when I was looking for a new rabbit. When my rabbit, Karnage, passed away in April of 2008, I was devastated, but at the same time, I knew I needed another rabbit. There are two shelters in my area; the first one I called didn't take in rabbits, but the second, Berkshire Humane Society , did. I made an appointment to check out the rabbits they had, then went to their webpage to see if they had any pictures of the rabbits they had. On their front page was a picture of the sweetest-looking little orange lop. I was immediately interested, since I hadn't owned a lop since my first rabbit. I went to their "small animals" section; the little orange lop was named Lolo and he had been brought to the shelter the month before. One thing I noticed on his description, though; he had some "tooth issues". "Tooth issues" can mean anything from slightly overgrown teeth that need maybe a trim and a better diet to "expect to spend a fortune at the vet for the next 10 years". I made a note to ask about the "tooth issues", but in my mind, I had already crossed him off the list. There were a bunch of sweet-looking bunnies available, even a bonded pair, and I was trying very hard to keep my mind open when I made the trip to the shelter.
When I got there, there were five rabbits available: a female with some major "bunnitude", mainly territory issues; a male mini-Rex who spooked easily and needed a quiet home, a bonded pair who I fell in love with but didn't have the room for, and Lolo. I asked about the "tooth issues"; they said that his back teeth were overgrown because of a poor diet and neglect and needed to be ground down, which they would do before he went to a new home. As far as their vet could tell, a proper diet would improve his teeth. I decided to see how he would respond to me, so we went into one of their introduction rooms.
My son wanted me to send him any pics of the rabbits I looked at, so I took pictures with my cell phone.
I sat down on the floor and waited, talking to him very softly. He didn't budge for a few minutes, but finally, he started moving around.
He hopped over to the door, then back under the bench, then back to the door again. I took a few pictures while he was at the door, then he started hopping around the room.
He began exploring the room, back and forth. Eventually, he started coming over to where I sat, letting me pet him a little before he'd toss his ears and dance away for a bit, then return for more. He made his way around the small room, then went back under the bench.
A minute or so later, he hopped over to where I was sitting on the floor. It was an unseasonably warm April day, so I was wearing shorts and sandals and had my legs stretched out in front of me. To my surprise and delight, he started licking my ankle. I'd known that some rabbits do lick, but had never had one lick me before, so I was thrilled. "Well, aren't you the little charmer?" I said to him.
He hopped further up alongside my leg, and started licking my calf. I said, "You are just the sweetest thing."
Then he tried to hump my knee.
Oh yeah, this one was coming home with me. :)
Surprisingly, he let me scoop him up so I could open the door and bring him back to the small animals area. The girl in charge was very impressed. She said he wasn't usually that cooperative. She gave me the rundown on his history. One of the staff, coming in to work for that day, saw a woman leaving a small box by the shelter door. He checked the box, saw the rabbit inside, and ran to catch the woman, who was about to get in her car and leave. He persuaded her to come in and formally surrender the rabbit, which she claimed to have found in her basement. They had him listed as a Holland Lop, which is the smallest of the lop breeds, and said he was about ten months old. I filled out the paperwork and made an appointment to pick him up after he'd had his tooth work done.
On May 1, 2008, I went to the shelter and picked up my new rabbit. Along with a new home, he got a new name: Mickey, so named because his orange fur reminded me of the hair color of Mickey Mantle, the legendary baseball player for the New York Yankees (my favorite team). Since then, we have determined that he is definitely a Mini Lop and not a Holland, his tooth issues are manageable but still require many vet visits, and he is the loviest, snuggliest bunny on earth.
"Well of course I am--now where's my treats? I've had a hard day."