We have a new addition to our family. She’s small, white, with red eyes and long ears. Yes, our first family pet has arrived!
My daughter decided last year she would like a rabbit (I had rabbits as a child and Megan is going through the ‘wanting to be like mummy’ stage – as long as we stick to pets and don’t move on to my gin habit we should be ok!)
Fully aware that responsibility for the animal would probably end up with me, I tried to put her off. We came to an agreement that if she still wanted a pet at her next birthday she could have one. It seems she has not just inherited my looks (!) but also my stubbornness (or as I like to call it ‘dedication’) as she has spent the last year dreaming and talking about her new floppy eared companion.
Her birthday is in April but it seemed like a good idea to get the rabbit during the Easter holidays so they could bond and she wouldn’t have to juggle looking after it with school.
I have to admit I was pretty daunted about getting a pet – despite having two kids, it seemed like a really big responsibility and a very grown-up thing to do. My kids would be looking to me to know all the answers so I decided to do some research. I discovered the daily treat of a slice of bread my rabbits had enjoyed was paramount to cruelty; too many carrots make them poorly; they don’t really like being on their own and they like their space.
Armed with this information I ordered a sizable run and hutch online and my husband reluctantly built the flat pack when it arrived – he loves animals but wanted a dog! Nana bought the imminent arrival a host of toys and treats and soon the basic hutch was a bunny palace Hugh Hefner would be proud of.
Then off we went to the pet shop and after a bit of coaxing, Megan fell in love with one of the rescue rabbits (I liked the idea of giving a home to a disadvantaged rabbit and the one I steered her towards was on its own – ideal as we had decided we just don’t have the space for two and we would be giving our lucky newcomer enough love and attention to keep it happy).
Then horror of horrors we saw the sign stating quite clearly that the pet shop wouldn’t be selling rabbits over Easter as they put the welfare of their rabbits over profit! Who knew that buying an Easter bunny and then dumping it had become a problem that needed legislating against? Do many children really expect to get a real life rabbit for Easter alongside a chocolate one?
So Megan had to put on her best brave face (another things she’s learned from me – true Yorkshire grit) and wait until after the Easter break before we could choose her new playmate. When we returned to the shop (48 hours later – is that really enough time to put off the heartless bunny buyers who are intent on abandoning their new pets?) her original choice had gone but her heart melted for a certain albino dwarf lop . So here she is – Woffles (named after the rabbit in Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree – my favourite as a child and so no prizes for guessing who also likes it!)
Now I just have to work out who’s going to look after Woffles when we are on holiday and stop worrying that she’ll get bored when Megan’s at school, will learn how to negotiate the slope to her hutch and is warm enough as night. As if I don’t have enough mummy guilt to deal with already!