When Jenn Eckert welcomed her daughter, Bailey, into the world in June, she could never have imagined how soon her bunnies, Alfie and Amelia, would fall in love with her.
There was no doubting Alfie and Amelia adored their new baby sister from the moment they met. With their huge ears nearly as big as hers, they stood tall next to the newborn in her carrier at the hospital.
Eckert told The Dodo, “Alfie tried to leap into the car seat, while Amelia merely sniffed.” “However, they were both very kind, so I knew they’d be best friends.”
Eckert was absolutely correct. Though rabbits might be distant at times, Alfie and Amelia, who live free-range in the Wisconsin family’s home, made it apparent from immediately that nothing else mattered when Bailey was in the room.
“She is the center of their attention at all times,” Eckert added. “When she sleeps, they’ll be by her side.” They tend to hang about her, as though she is suddenly their obligation to guard.”
Bailey has spent her whole life surrounded by bunnies, and she loves them just as much as they adore her. When Alfie and Amelia enter the room, she frequently rolls over to observe them and likes offering them food. The rabbits are both Flemish giants that can weigh up to 20 pounds, making them ideal companions for her.
Bailey’s family and the bunnies will be there every step of the way to teach her about the world as she grows older. Alfie and Amelia appear to have already taught her a lot about compassion and respect.
“They are obviously Bailey’s protectors,” Eckert added. “If Bailey is sobbing, Alfie thumps.” Both of them [kept] smelling Bailey when she’s sleeping to see whether she’s awake.”
Unfortunately, many rabbits are rehomed because some individuals do not feel they can cohabit with children. While children should always be supervised and gentle with rabbits, the animals can be fantastic friends for individuals of all ages and frequently have lots of affection to give.
Eckert has begun training Alfie and Amelia as professional therapy bunnies, working with an organization called Pet Partners, because they are so gentle with Bailey. They’ll start visiting hospitals and nursing homes on a regular basis once they’re certified, to meet and snuggle with patients.
The two have a lot of experience at home, and they’ve also had a lot of fun on practice runs at hospitals. On a Facebook group called Rabbitat For Humanity, Eckert keeps track of their progress, both in their therapeutic work and at home with Bailey.
“I believe people are extremely intrigued about them,” Eckert said, “since rabbits aren’t the first pet people would associate with a newborn.” “With Bailey, I now have the opportunity to teach people that having a kid does not mean you can’t keep your bunny.” I continue to advocate for rabbit therapy because it demonstrates how effective they can be with children. It also allows me to teach others about rabbit care – they aren’t just a pet that you can keep.
Rabbits are very clever and form tight ties with their bunny companions and human families, with a life span of over ten years. Many bunnies, such as Alfie and Amelia, have complete control over the house, allowing them to have enough of exercise and socializing.
Though they dislike being picked up as prey animals, they are typically content to sit near to their people and receive snacks or pets. “They are such kind creatures by nature, and because they don’t bark, they can be less threatening to a youngster,” Eckert said.