June 18, 2010

My little visitor!

I've been working on my still life all the time but every now and then I pop up for fresh air.  I was so happy to see that a little rabbit my husband and I rescued when it was a newborn stopped by to say Hello.

I was shocked one day earlier this year to find that a neighborhood rabbit decided the base of our backyard tree was a perfect spot to give birth.  I didn't know it until my dogs discovered it. I was able to snatch the baby away from them in time as they had only pulled out the bedding of it's nest and were just starting to sniff the little guy.

After I secured the dogs back in the house, searched the yard to see if there were more babies, I reassembled the nest, placed the baby back in the middle and then prayed that the mom would not disown him since I had touched him.  I watched all day but she didn't appear to come back.  I did some research online and discovered they often only go back to the nest at night to feed their babies since they don't want to draw any undue attention to it.  So I hoped he would be OK because it was also going to be a very cold night (below freezing).

In the morning I had a look at the nest and he appeared to be missing.  I pulled the whole nest apart and discovered him way at the bottom and he wasn't moving.  He was so cold and it didn't look like he was breathing so I made preparations to bury him.  Just before I wrapped him up something came over me and I pressed on his little nose.  It looked like he had moved his head a touch but I couldn't be sure through all the tears that were running down my face.  I think I stopped breathing for that moment.  He still wasn't moving.  I touched his nose again (trying not to get my hopes up) but sure enough, this time his head moved and his mouth opened.  So I held him in my hands and started to warm him up.  I rubbed his little belly and his legs started moving.  He was a fighter!

After he seemed to recover to a point that I felt save to leave him on his own, I put him back in his nest and made sure he was in the sunlight so he would stay warm.  I'm pretty sure I spent the better part of the day watching out my window.  By mid-afternoon the mom was back in the yard and chewing grass about 5 feet away from him.  My hopes were up!  I went about my work in the house and went outside later that evening to check on him.  His mom had put him further into the nest but not as deep as the day before and his stomach was full so he had eaten!

My husband and I made sure he was warm every night and would check on him frequently over the next few days.  Then one day, he was gone but the mom was always around.  I had read that they will move nests so I figured she must have put him somewhere else nearby.  I searched but couldn't find another nest.  Then several weeks later there he was, a tiny little bunny but very healthy and happy.

Now months later he and the Mom still show up when I look out the window and he is almost as big as her.  I can't believe how quickly they grow and although I know they are pests I just can't help but melt when I look at their big brown eyes.

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