Previously, I wrote about how much Tigger hated being picked up and held. There came to be one place that was an exception for her where she wanted me to hold her and not put her down.
It was my custom at vet visits to keep handling of Tigger to a minimum thinking that was what she prefered. So I would pick her up out of her carrier, put her on the scale to get her weight and then put her right back into the carrier afterwards until the vet would come in to examine her. I discovered Tigger the Velcro Rabbit by accident. Usually, I am wearing knit tops, Tees for the most part. On one visit when she was about a year and a half old, it was chilly and I had on a sweater.
I was following my usual procedure and after the weigh in, I picked Tigger back up intending to put her back in her carrier. That was when I discovered she was attached to my sweater. She had hooked her little claws around the loose knit weave and wasn’t letting go. I held on to her petting her and talking to her while we waited for the vet. It was a bit of a problem detaching her from my sweater to then put her down for the exam when the vet came in. It occurred to me that the vet’s office was perhaps an exception to Tigger’s don’t hold me rule.
After that visit when she needed to go in, I would hold her and talk to her while we waited for the vet. Many times she would hide her head underneath my arm and not want to even look around. She would try to hold on to me and not want to be put down for the exam. At times if the vet or vet tech forgot and didn’t continue to hold her quite firmly at the end the exam, she would actually make a little leap off the table straight into my arms. I made sure to be standing right at the table at all times talking to her, petting her head or covering her eyes if she was getting really scared. My rabbit was like Velcro and sticking to me in preference over the vet. I was clearly her chosen security.
It was humbling and awesome to know that I had earned her trust to the level that she was placing herself in my care by her choice. From that time forward whenever I held her at the vet or later in life when we needed to hold her for medicine, feedings or to clean her up, she also earned the nickname Baby Girl. That is how we would be talking to her at those times: “It’s okay Baby Girl”, “It will be over soon Baby Girl”, “We’ll look after you Baby Girl’, “Good Tigger, sweet Baby Girl”.
If it hadn’t been for wearing that sweater, I might not have discovered how much Tigger had come to regard me as her protector and that she wanted me to hold her and comfort her at the vet’s office. So if you have a very independent rabbit and are trying to respect that, you might want to check to see if the vet’s office is an exception zone where they too would actually like some comfort cuddling. We never took Tigger to the vet unnecessarily just to get cuddles, but it was a bonus to the visits to be able to make the visits better for her and get some snuggles in return. Because of what we learned from Tigger, we also discovered that Shadow too sometimes wanted to be held and comforted while at the vet.