THE STORY OF WISEMAN
Wiseman is one of the most incredible bunnies I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Full of character to the brim and then some. We named him Wiseman because when I first picked him out of the rescued group he looked very old and I thought he was sight and hearing impaired, he just didn’t respond to anything. I bought him inside to live because I honestly didn’t think he had very long left to live. He just sat in his cage, head down, didn’t make eye contact, didn’t interact, showed no interest in food or treats, he went about his daily duties of eating and toileting etc as if he were a robot.
As the days went by, I noticed that Wiseman started to move about more and become interested in his surroundings. It was like he had turned himself off and was now starting to re-engage with his surroundings. He started to nudge at his cage and demand pats as soon as he saw anyone. He seemed interested in his food and showed that he wanted to interact and try out new foods. It soon became apparent that he could hear and see. Where once he never showed any acknowledgement of me speaking to him or moving my hands around in his cage, I started to notice that his face seemed to change, no longer the droopy ears, his ears stood up proudly, twitching and turning to catch every movement. He started to have an interest in everything and would nudge, push and stand up to beg and ask for attention and the chance for a run around in the kitchen.
Into the kitchen we went. Where he once used to sit on the couch and not move a muscle, he started running and binkying. His binkies were a bit deformed at first because I think they were truly the first binkies he had ever done.
Once out and about in the house Wiseman will follow me about in the mornings literally right behind me and under my feet. When I have my breakfast I also use this time to checkout emails and Bunspace. Wiseman realised that this was a perfect time for him to try and get some pats and to sit on my lap and hope for a piece of toast.
I was amazed at how the aged look fell from his face and was replaced with a youthful looking bunny who appeared to be 5 or 6 months old.
As he has relaxed into trusting his humans he has started to shine, his personality can barely be contained within his little bunny body. He loves to sleep in the dog bag and when he crashes for a nap he really sleeps deeply. He also likes to fall asleep on his human whilst they are stroking his ears.
A few weeks of inside living and a completely different bunny emerged. A strong, healthy, happy and vibrant bunny started making his presence known. He was becoming more confident and comfortable, he will leap onto laps and demand full attention and then climb over his human to find a spot to investigate or snuggle, often draped around a neck meaning we can’t move until he was ready to do so.
One particularly endearing behaviour is that Wiseman loves to play chasings. He will chase and chase you and then flop down for a rest. The longer he has stayed inside being spoilt the younger he has started to look. His eyes which were once dull and uninterested are now full of a mischievious glimmer. His ears stand proudly to attention ready to catch any sound. He is brave and will investigate everything even the new feral kitten which when Wiseman was first introduced to the kitten he promptly sat on top off it.
I have had time to reflect on this amazing bunny and his amazing transformation. This magnificent bunny had in my opinion anethetised himself to his fate which included living in a factory farm, in crowded and shared cages, with wire floors and in a large shed. For any bunny full of life and curiosity, this type of behaviour must be one of the ways some bunnies deal with deal with their surroundings and complete lack of stimulation or care.
I’m not saying Wiseman is special out of all the bunnies from the meat farm, I think he is a great ambassador for what they go through and how they change their natural personalities and behaviours in order to survive the horrors of factory farm living. To me it appeared Wiseman had ‘shut down’ and went day to day the same as before with each day crushing him and his personality more and more.
Once freed and allowed to behave like a bunny and to have hope, a glimmer of promise in his life, he couldn’t wait to re engage with the world and is doing so with much gusto.
I think of Wiseman as an example of what is wrong with factory farming. He is an individual with the most engaging and wonderful personality. He was destined for slaughter at 12 weeks of age and for no one to have ever seen beyond him as a commodity, a product to be sold for his flesh is truly heartbreaking. When I stop to think of all the other rabbits that Wiseman is the representative of, it makes me realise how many wonderful animals are not only denied their natural lives and behaviours, but that we as people are also deprived of getting to know these incredible creatures, each with their own amazing personalities.
The fact that he had to stifle his own personality and natural bunny behaviours so that he could survive his surroundings is true cruelty in my opinion.
For me it is the transformation from what I thought to be an old, hearing and vision impaired rabbit that was near death to the most engaging and vibrant rabbit I have ever met that makes me smile, keeps me going from one rescue to the next and to feel so very lucky to have Wiseman in my life.