Meet the Velcro Rabbit

Tigger the Velcro RabbitPreviously, 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.  


3 thoughts on “Meet the Velcro Rabbit

  1. I can relate! Moshi doesn’t let me hold him. He hates it. Well, actually he has gotten used to the fact that Mommy likes to pick him up for a second, give him a quick squish, and then put him back down.(I’m the only one that can do it though; if anyone else tries to pick him, his escape mode is activated immediately).

    He hates the outdoors though. Snow and grass, no WAY! He is a carpet bunny. When molting season comes around, I do prefer to “furmitate” and pluck outdoors. He has gotten better now that he’s older, but the first couple of times I literally had a bunny climbing all over me. The first time I took him out to play in the snow, his disdain was such that he grabbed on to my coat with his little bunny paws while I searched for my keys with one hand and sort of held him with the other! Then at a vet exam, he actually hopped into my arms running away from the vet.

    You are so right. It is incredibly humbling when a vulnerable creature decides to put their trust in you. At home you are the slave, the one that provides the food, that cleans the litter box, and the one that pets them. But when the strangers approach, it is clear they know who you are. I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything.

    • I wonder if the little boy bunnies are more accepting of hugs? I could pick Shadow up and give him a hug. He would tolerate it, but if I decided to try to hold onto him too long he would give me a littly pinchy nip (never hard enough to break skin) as a reminder that it was time to put him back down.

      It is wonderful when the rabbits recognize others as strangers and make it clear we are considered safe. One vet told us that getting to see the rabbits true personalities was an indication that we had created an environment where they felt completely safe and not like a prey animal. It sounds like you have the same closeness we had with ours and it is such an enjoyable relationship.

  2. This one made me cry and cry and cry. I only took Ellefant to the vet one time but she climbed up on me and gave me the best hug I ever had. I really really wish she was still here.

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