Rabbit Adoption and Speed Dating

Brayden, our foster rabbit, has been with our family for 10 weeks now. Our job is take care of him and give him the best possible life until he finds a Forever Family. We are committed to keeping Brayden for as long as that takes and are not ruling out the possibility that we may be that family. For now, Brayden belongs to Contra Costa Rabbit Rescue (CCRR). 

Part of our foster agreement with CCRR says that we will bring Brayden to adoption events, like the one where we adopted Trouble in 2011. On Saturday, Brayden attended his first at a Petco about 30 miles from home. Having the adoptions in a pet store means that it's easy for new owners to get everything they need, with help from the CCRR volunteers.  

The space was set up with pens for each of the 12 adoptable rabbits, plus one large pen that was empty. More on that later. There was also a pen with the adorable Butterscotch Babies who were there for socialization only. They're too young to be adopted yet. 

We found Brayden's pen and put him in it. Grisham immediately ran over to Brayden and they sniffed each other for a long time. 

Grisham and Brayden were extremely interested in each other, while the rabbit on Brayden's side never gave him a second glance. That's King in the back corner of his cage behind his litterbox. The cage with the red blanket has his two sisters (Melody and Duchess), who spent the whole time hiding. 


The adoption showcase ran for 3 hours. People who were interested in adopting a rabbit through CCRR were vetted ahead of time, then given appointments to meet the rabbits. If they found a good match, the adoptive family would fill out adoption paperwork, pay a fee, and bring home their new family member. Members of the public could meet the rabbits, but CCRR does not do same-day adoptions. Adopting a rabbit is a 10-year commitment and not something that should ever be done spontaneously. 

Back to the big cage. Its purpose is speed dating for rabbits, as many rabbits are happier living with a fellow rabbit instead of just its human family. "Dating" is a bit of a misnomer, as all rescued rabbits are neutered. Rabbits who go through speed dating are looking for a companion, not a mate. 

People with a single bun can make an appointment for that bunny to meet many potential companions. The black bunny below is Bun-Bun. She's 8 years old and has outlived two companions. She lost her most recent husbun three weeks ago and has not been eating well since. Bun-Bun's parents took her to an adoption event that morning closer to where they live. But she didn't enjoy any of her speed dates, and they were hoping she'd pick a companion at our event. 

That's Julie in the cage with Bun-Bun. Julie is with CCRR and is an expert at bonding rabbits. One at a time, she had the adoptable rabbits brought into the cage with Bun-Bun to see how they would interact. The first two didn't go well. Bun-Bun snapped at King immediately. She sat with Grisham for awhile. Things looked promising until she chased and nipped him. Brayden was Bachelor #3. 

Bun-Bun and Brayden were interested in each other and sat together for awhile. Then they shared some botanical hay with lavender and camomile. They happily ate while Julie supervised. 


Steve and I had spent an hour or so chatting with Bun-Bun's family and we were so hopeful this would work out. They are amazing bunny parents and I know Brayden would love his life with them. But after enjoying their time together, Bun-Bun suddenly lunged at Brayden and the date ended. She went on to have a few more dates. None were love at first sight, but Mario was the most promising with Brayden #2. Typically, people looking to bond their bun will do this first round of speed dating, then return a few weeks later for a second round. So we might get a call to bring Brayden back for a second date. Or we might not. There's a lot of uncertainty being foster parents. 

The whole experience was very emotional. We've grown quite attached to Brayden and want what's best for him. A loving bond with a fellow rabbit and wonderful human parents would be perfect, but the more time we spend with him, the harder it will be to give him up. We would like to keep him, but we would also like to be foster parents for the next bun who desperately needs to be rescued. It's tough. 

I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about rabbit adoptions, speed dating, or life with a house rabbit. Just ask in the comments!

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