Introducing Marshmallow and Sprinkles
A few weeks ago, on a local Facebook page, someone was looking to rehome their rabbits. They came with a hutch, bowls, sawdust and hay. I’d rather someone try to rehome their buns than “set them free”, so I offered to help, and went to see the “beautiful girls” that the advert described the next day. They were in a back garden, in a hutch, as expected. I am not opposed to hutches, provided they have a run, shade and are secure from predators. This hutch did not have these things. And based on the children’s toys in the garden, a paddling pool and no bunny proofing, I doubt these girls got much run around time. Instead, they were kept on the bottom level of the hutch only. I asked some questions. They were six months and four months old and needed to be rehomed/sold due to moving and the owner not being allowed to take pets with them. I enquired about vaccines, health checks and spaying; nothing. The owner said the price was negotiable as they needed to be gone ASAP. I gave each bunny a little boop through the bars. They looked so inquisitive. Marshmallow gave my fingers a little nibble – not aggressive, but I could see a small child being upset at this and the buns being deemed “unsafe”.
I came home completely disheartened. I wanted so badly to bring them home with me there and then; pop them in my bag and bring them to safety. But it wouldn’t be safe in my house. I have four buns in two pairs, one having been recently rebonded a second time. I contacted a local rescue, Homes for Hoppers. Sadly, due to lack of funding they were unable to take these lovely girls in. One of their buns had recently cost them over £800. They told me to contact Oxford Animal Sanctuary. I secured a place on their waiting list. It was still going to be at least 4 weeks until they could take them, as they were overflowing with rabbits and having to use their cattery to house bunnies. But in the meantime, Marshmallow and Sprinkles needed somewhere to stay. I thought about my parents, but my dad is going through some health issues and I couldn’t put more on them. I phoned my best friend (you know it is serious when it’s a call not a text) and begged her to take these little ladies for a few weeks. She, and, most importantly, her mum agreed. I frantically messaged the owner back and got the price down by half, saying we could collect the next day. Rabbit Retail was able to buy the bunnies. It is lovely to say we have reached a point where we can do this.
The next day, after the Rabbit Retail pop up shop, my boyfriend and I raced round to collect Marshmallow and Sprinkles. We collected up a box of their belongings, got the girls in a carry cage and dismantled the hutch. We brought them back to ours for a small health check before taking them to Becka’s. Thankfully, neither had any obvious issues (though bunnies hide illness very well). The only concern was how tiny they were. I went to pick up Sprinkles, and I couldn’t feel a belly. Nothing. Just fluff and bone. Marshmallow is a bigger breed of bunny, but she had no belly or squish to her butt either. Their box of belongings didn’t have any food in it. And the only hay was a bag of bedding hay, not feeding hay. They had a weigh-in, Sprinkles was only 790g and Marshmallow was 1.6kg. We then gave Sprinkles a mini fur cut – she had a few sizable matts in her fur, either from saw dust and one poop on her non-existent belly.
We drove them to Becka’s house where we… reassembled the hutch, fixed the ramp so they could get between levels again, constructed a mini run from shelving panels, put in a litter box with litter (not saw dust that had matted Sprinkles’ fur), got them fresh water and added some toys. Then we placed the girls in their newly refurbished foster home. They seemed excited, hopping about everywhere.
Food was next. I know that bunnies need new food introduced slowly and transitioned carefully. But there was no old food to transition from. We put in a small bowl of Science Selective (the food used at OAS). They both dived in. I have very food motivated bunnies, but this was something else again. They were starving. I had Becka keep a close eye on their tummies and poos (not very glamourous, but important). Everything seemed okay over the next few days. Sprinkles did have to learn about eating her cecotropes though.
A couple weeks have passed now. Sprinkles and Marshmallow are doing great. They have both gained about 200g and look a lot healthier. They eat hay, though they seem to prefer making a mess. They binky about all over the place and love keeping Becka’s lawn short. They tried escaping under the hutch a few times before it was blocked off. And the best bit, Becka and her mum adore them. They get two, sometimes three, run around times a day for an hour or 4. They love cuddles and getting used to being handled.
But I worry about them a lot! Especially outside. So, on Friday they are going for vaccines and a full vet check-up (goodbye any chance of them loving me). Then after that I will book them in for spaying. I would love to keep them where they are for all this, with lots of attention and hooms that adore them rather than have another move. And because I am completely in love with them. I know Becka most likely can’t have them for ever – they are a 10-12 year commitment and she is more of a cat person.
I have wanted to open a little rabbit rescue for a while. And now may not be the best time for me, but bunnies need it now so we’ve helped these two. Every rescue I speak with is at capacity, turning away rabbits daily. So, I guess the Rabbit Retail Rescue is born.
If you are interested in adopting Sprinkles and Marshmallow, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org