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Lily’s story: A bunny learns to trust

A rough start for a tiny bunny

Lily is a red-eyed floof of a bunny with silky, white angora fur. Weighing only three pounds, she’s tiny as in teeny tiny. Yet despite Lily’s small frame, her guardian, Cynthia says, “she’s one feisty gal! But she had a really rough start in life, so it could be a defense mechanism.” 

When Cynthia first met Lily at the Humane Society of Utah in March 2015, she was four months old and in pretty bad shape. Not only was Lily horribly matted, but her previous owners had kept her in a small cage that severely restricted her movement. And she seemed to be terrified of human contact. 

“I was afraid of Lily when I first met her. She would lunge at anyone who tried to get close to her and even try to bite them. Nobody dared to touch her; she was that vicious.” But Cynthia has always had a soft spot for rabbits and has cared for many over the years. She believed that Lily could eventually learn to trust with a bit of time and patience. So, Cynthia offered to foster Lily to give her just that. 

Lily softens her guard

When Cynthia brought Lily home for the first time, she put her in a large kennel to give her plenty of space to move around. “For the first two weeks, I could only get her out of the kennel unless her back was to me. If Lily saw me coming, she’d go into full-on attack mode.”

Remarkably, it took just a few weeks for Lily’s guard to soften. Cynthia helped this happen by giving her nutritious foods and the occasional treat and spending lots of time with her. “Then, one day, when I was holding Lily, she started giving me little kisses on my hand. I took a chance and held her up to my cheek, and she kissed it. It melted my heart.” 

But Lily’s challenges didn’t stop there. Our veterinarian had found an abscess on her thigh, and she would need to have it removed. When Cynthia brought her to our clinic in Murray for the surgery, our medical team was shocked by Lily’s new demeanor. “She was so sweet to the staff, and nobody could believe it was the same rabbit,” Cynthia recollected with a laugh. 

After surgery, Lily’s defensive nature kicked in again – but only momentarily. She didn’t like her stitches, so she ripped them out. Cynthia and her husband, Greg, tried wrapping Lily’s wound in an ace bandage, but she ripped this off, too. “The good thing about this experience was that it brought the three of us closer because we had to handle her more. This is when she really started to trust us.” 

A happy ending for this bunny

A woman with short blonde hair sits on a teal green backdrop holding a small white bunny in her arms and large white and gray bunny in her lap.

Once Lily healed, Cynthia and Greg adopted her into their family. Eventually, they introduced Lily to one of their other buns, Cooper, a ten-pound lopped-eared rabbit. The two bonded instantly, and to Cynthia’s amazement, Lily proved to be quite the caretaker. “She’s an excellent bunny buddy. She loves grooming Cooper and is always glued to his side, even though she’s less than half his size. But she’s definitely the dominant one in that relationship – my forever feisty gal!”

Cynthia and Greg have been caring for Lily for over seven years now, and they love to reflect on how far she’s come. These days, Lily enjoys hopping around the house or digging holes in her outdoor playpen. While she still has mild reservations about humans, neither Greg nor Cynthia mind.  “It’s taken a lot of time and patience for Lily to warm up as much as she has, but she’s just precious and we love her just the way she is.”

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