Visiting the Rabbits at Red Door Animal Shelter, Chicago
A few days ago, Liz and I headed over to Red Door Animal Shelter to visit a few of their rabbits. It’s been many weeks since Baxter passed away, and it wasn’t until very recently that Liz felt like she was ready to think about adopting another rabbit.
I know Baxter’s passing still hangs heavy with Liz – she had Baxter since she was a small bunny, and they were together for over nine years (at this point in time, she knew Baxter longer than she’s known me). And in the few weeks after Baxter passed, we also noticed that Quincy was a lot more despondent – normally a fairly active bunny, he’d just stay in his room for the majority of the day. In the first few days when he was on his own, Quincy hunkered down in the living room – a very unusual place for him to spend time, but it was near a spot where he and Baxter were last together.
When talking about adopting, we knew that one of the major factors is ensuring that Quincy gets along with the new rabbit. But also as important for us, we wanted to make sure he or she got along well with us. Liz in particular is looking out for a more outgoing rabbit, and is in many ways also looking to ensure that the rabbit will bond with her as well.
After looking at many of the bunnies up for adoption at Red Door, we made an appointment last Wednesday to go in. This wasn’t our first time, as we came here in 2009, when looking for a friend for Baxter (and it’s also where we found Quincy).
There were a ton of staff there that night, and they were all incredibly friendly and happy to discuss any and all of the rabbits up for adoption. They were also kind enough to set us up in a small area, and brought in a few rabbits to come hang out with us, over the course of the night.
// Note: if you’re curious, you can also read Liz’s recap on her blog.
Some of the occupants, hanging out in the rabbit room. I wish I could do this room more justice, as there were tons of rabbits hanging out in pens on the floor, along with a several cats just kind of roaming around, minding their own business and doing their own thing. It was pretty cool.
One of the first rabbits we met: Shelley Winters. So many of the animals have awesome (temporary) names – on a whiteboard near the room, I saw both Ned and Rob Stark listed. And we also met another white rabbit named Grace Slick (how hilarious is that?).
I found out from Liz that shelters oftentimes have a lot of large, white rabbits – people oftentimes buy them before Easter as a novelty, but then give them away to shelters soon after. One of the difficulties with placing white rabbits is that some (all?) have pink or red eyes, which some people don’t like.
Liz, hanging out with Fancy Pants.
Fancy Pants is one of my favorites and quite possibly my top pick. She was very cute,
Margarita was very reserved, but incredibly inquisitive. I’m not sure exactly why I thought this, but she struck me as an incredibly smart bunny.
Zelda was also very inquisitive. I think she was frequently on her hind legs, trying to get a better view and scan of the room. She reminded me of a female version of Quincy, albeit much younger and with a lot more energy.
Britt was a little nervous around us. Like all the other rabbits, it took a bit of time before they relaxed and got comfortable with the person in the pen. Britt though, was a little more wary of us… and it took a while before she would let us pet her.
The thing I’ll note here is that it oftentimes takes a while, before rabbits show you their true personalities. At a shelter, sometimes with a lot of noise or distractions, it’s difficult for them to really relax. When we took Quincy home from the shelter, he didn’t really show us his personality all at once – he kind of slowly emerged, bit by bit, the more comfortable he got with us and his new home.
This is Gum Drop, one of Liz’s picks and I think she’s the top of the list. Gum Drop is very young, and a bundle of energy (she was biting a bit, and really really got into chewing my shoes). Liz assures me that it’s simply because she’s young, and that she’ll grow out of the phase. But despite the high energy levels, Gum Drop was one of the few rabbits that came right up to Liz and hung out.
Even with the extra energy, the moment you started petting Gum Drop she stopped and basically settled in. Liz is pretty keen on Gum Drop, but the tough thing is to see how Quincy gets along with her.
Checking out some of the other rabbits in the bunny room – this is Mr. Lavender. Who is HUGE. I don’t know that this photo does his size justice, the dude is just massive and massively awesome.
We did not get to meet Rickon, but here I happened to interrupt his dinner I think.
This is Kiki, who we heard was a pretty tough chick. We heard some story about her “beating up” another rabbit that they tried to pair her with, which I think is funny because look at her – she looks like the tiniest, cutest thing.
Although, I have to say – the cutest rabbit award may have to go to No No, who was a boarder at the shelter:
Again, with the awesome names.
Here’s Britt, hanging out in her cage.
Back at home, Liz spending a bit of quality time with Quincy.
So far, we’ve got a shortlist of rabbits that we’re fond of. But the major test will be to return to Red Door and do another round of speed dating, to see how Quincy gets along with the rabbits we like. Hopefully we can find a good match.