I met Kingsley soon after he was rescued from a meat rabbit operation in Sacramento when this picture was taken.
When I saw this photo, my heart broke. I could not fathom the life that this big, beautiful bunny had. He was the “breeder male” and was confined to a small, dirty wire cage that was outdoors. It is likely that the only human interaction he had was someone grabbing him out of his cage by the scruff (as in photo), putting him in with another rabbit to mate and then returning him to his cage. Imagine what is must have been like not only to be handled and used this way, but also to see and hear other rabbits being slaughtered day in and day out?
When Kingsley came to SaveABunny, he was terrified of people. So terrified that he would run to the farthest point in his x-pen and cower and whimper anytime anyone came near. He was not only terrified, he was shut down and angry. He would not let anyone touch him. Initially, I would try to sit in his x-pen with him, but he was so incredibly afraid of people that I didn’t want to cause him more stress. I would visit him regularly and just talk to him from outside his x-pen as he would not let me touch him. Marcy worked with him for many months and over time he did let me sit in his x-pen and pet him and then one day he let me hold him. It was glorious.
Late last year I offered to foster Kingsley. He adapted amazingly well to our home, other bunnies and two cats. So much so, that we started leaving his x-pen open so he had full run of the house. We continued to work on building trust and Kingsley got more and more affectionate and comfortable. He loves to bunny flop and is a surprisingly sound sleeper.
While we were fostering Kingsley, our other bunny, Yuki, was diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer. On the night she passed, I decided to wait until the next day to clean out her area. It was just too difficult to look at her space and not see her there. Kingsley had never been to this area of the house before, and that night he went to Yuki’s space and slept there all night. I think Kingsley knew that it would comfort me to have him there and he was right. Now that we have adopted him, he has full run of the house, but prefers to spend most of his time in Yuki’s old space.
What a joy it has been to share our lives with this beautiful being. Kingsley is loving and funny, sensitive and brave. He holds grudges, particularly after seeing the vet. He loves snuggling and giving bunny kisses. He will stop what he is doing (even eating, unless it’s banana) to run over for petting and snuggling. He loves taking long naps.
Kingsley is extremely neat and has perfect litterbox habits.
Kingsley knows exactly when meal times are and lets us know when we don’t serve him on time by sitting on the edge of the entry to the kitchen, looking at us. He is very smart!
Although Kingsley was bred as a meat rabbit, he also has incredibly thick fur that our vet said is also the result of breeding as well. This means that he requires daily grooming, which he tolerates but doesn’t love. Since he is also a lop, he is prone to ear and teeth issues which means vigilant vet care. He came to SaveABunny with ear issues, so he will need regular care for the rest of his life.
I know that Kingsley is happy with his new life, but there are elements of his past that he will probably always remember and retain to some degree. Sometimes when I pick up his litterbox for cleaning, he gets very frightened and cowers. I always speak to him gently and tell him what I am doing, but I suspect he sees me over him and maybe sees the shadow of his litterbox and it triggers memories of the abuse and neglect he experienced in his former life. That may never go away, I don’t know. AS with most rabbits, he does not like being picked up, but since I have to give him medicine, I pick him up regularly so he has gotten more comfortable. Often, I pick him up just to snuggle so that he doesn’t always associate picking up with medicine.
For anyone considering adopting a shy, aggressive or frightened bunny, I would say that it is one of the most fulfilling things you can ever do. Many rabbits that are lucky enough to make it to a rescue facility are rabbits that have seen the worst of the worst and have no positive interactions with humans. This is what makes it so rewarding to gain their trust and love. For some it takes longer than others, but it is a rewarding experiencing regardless. I feel so incredibly blessed to have Kingsley in my life. He is an angel.
Good news about Kingsley from the Sacramento Meat Rabbit Rescue.
Kingsley shows just how far he's come since his rescue in February. See next post for video of him last month.
Kingsley photos: http://www.saveabunny.org/rabbit/kingsley
Posted by SaveABunny on Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Shiver me timbers! ~Kingsley
More Kingsley here: http://www.saveabunny.org/rabbit/kingsley
Posted by SaveABunny on Monday, October 12, 2015