I have a pet, and she isn’t your conventional cat or dog: She is a Netherland dwarf rabbit. When people come over to my apartment, the common first reaction Lizzee (that’s her name) is to swoon over her and talk about how adorable she is. Usually after the initial “Oh my god, she’s so cute!” and “Oh my gosh, can I pet her?” reaction, people ask what possessed me to get a rabbit. Well, here is the story of how Lizzee came in to my life.
I always wanted a pet rabbit growing up. Aways. My parents were against it for a few reasons. First, my mom thinks bunnies stink. Second, we always had a dog, and there was the chance he would try to eat my bunny (he always tried to eat the wild rabbits in our yard). Third, I was a kid—and as we all know, if you get a pet as a kid, your parents end up doing 90 percent of the work.
I’d lived in Toronto for two years when my wonderful roommate—who had two massive dogs that I loved as if they were my own—and I decided to go our separate ways. It was during my last month living with my her that I found Lizzee.
I went to the pet store one day to buy dog food with the roommate, and as she was shopping around, I found myself in front the small animal section. The first creatures that caught my eye were two baby rabbits, and in particular, one small black one that hopped towards the glass and began to lick it furiously when I approached. I instantly fell in love with her little face. Within about 10 minutes of holding her, I knew I wasn’t leaving there without that cute little ball of fuzz. So I got all of the necessary items, and then I took her home.
We fell in love right away. I have friends that say Lizzee has more personality than some people they know; she would love nothing more than to be your friend, play with you, then lay in your lap and snuggle. And she loves to lick dogs’ noses!
I have heard that a lot of people buy rabbits thinking they are an easy, low-maintenance pet, and then quickly realize these small animals can live for up to 10 years. As an unfortunate result, they are often given away, and animal shelters are always filled with the little critters. I do regret buying my rabbit from a pet store, but I wouldn’t trade her for the world. But if you are thinking of getting a little hoppy friend, check your local shelters before a pet store. I’ve been thinking of getting another friend for Lizzee lately, and the Toronto Humane Society has some cuties.
If you are going to get a rabbit, make sure you are willing to either let it have free-roam of your house, or ensure you can commit to letting her out to play for two to four hours a day. Rabbits need their exercise, so you have to be able to commit to giving it to them. And rabbits love to chew (ask my wooden table), so bunny-proof your house and supervise them when they are out of their cage.
I think that rabbits make amazing pets if you take the time to litter-train them, love them, and give them enough exercise—like any pet. And they are perfect for living in an apartment. But I can not emphasize enough that like any animal, they are a commitment. Still, if you take the time and put in the effort, you will have a furry friend that will run to greet you at the door and lay in your lap when you are watching TV.