The Wererabbit Chronicles
Interview with Betsy and Walter
by Suzie “The Bossy Bunny”
I’m Suzie Meadows and I’m making my debut as a reporter for the Wererabbit Chronicles. I am a huge fan of the book series, so it is very exciting to have this opportunity. Plus it will look good on my resume. 🙂
I am here talking with Walter and Betsy from Rabbitat for Humanity – Betsy and Walter, the Therapy Buns. Walter and Betsy visit sick children at the Ronald McDonald House on a regular basis. They are kind of like superheroes in the bunny world. I think Snow would really enjoy hanging out with these two bunnies. It’s a big world and we need all the hero bunnies we can get. Hope everyone enjoys my debut interview!
How long have you two been a “couple”? And was it love at first sight?
Betsy: Walter has been my husbun for three and a half years! He moved in with me on December 24, 2013. I was NOT ready for a serious relationship. I enjoyed living the single life, not having to share treats, getting all the pets I wanted, and being able to play with toys when I wanted to play with toys. I had my stuffed elephant, Stewie, and he seemed to be just fine with me. Then, out of nowhere, this bunny named Wheelz hopped in to my room. He introduced himself as Wheelz, but Mom and Dad called him Walter, so that was a little confusing for both of us too. I couldn’t understand why they would let him use my litter box, drink out of my water bowl, and eat my food! I was not happy. So Mom and Dad thought it would be a good idea to put Walter in the cage and let me free roam.
Walter: I couldn’t understand why they let her have run of the house and I had to be locked up in a cage? So one day, when Mommy and Daddy were at work, I decided to make my big break! I broke the lock on the cage, and was free at last!
Betsy: So here I am laying, all comfy, and Walter comes hopping at me! He even tried to prove he was the dominant one! I was NOT having that. My house. My rules. So we got in a pretty big fight, but I let him know who is boss. Once we had that out of the way, we have been bonded since.
Walter: I let her win. 😉
How did you get into being therapy bunnies?
Betsy: I’m pretty sure Mom knew I who rescued who the first moment she met me. I had no clue what I was getting myself into! Once all the paperwork was signed, Mom drove me home, we picked up Dad (well, technically, he wasn’t Dad yet, because they were getting married in just a couple months!), and we went to get all the supplies I would need from the store. They should have had that stuff already picked out for me, but I gave them a break, because I was their first rabbit. Besides, it gave me the chance to sniff out the best snacks in the store to bring home!
So we got home, and just as I was getting comfortable, Mom picked me back up and put me back in the car. We went to this house where there were tons of people, and everyone seemed sad. There was a bed in the middle of the family room, and this lady, who apparently was my grandma, was laying in it. There were cords attached everywhere…normally I would have chewed them, but something told me that would be a bad idea. Mom put me on the bed, and I sensed the lady was sick, so I decided to let her pet me for a bit. She just smiled at me, and kept calling me sweetie. I looked at my Mom and saw her crying, and I knew, she was going to need me in the near future. I only got to meet my grandma, once, but boy was she special. Mom says she is in heaven now, making sure that we pay it forward to all the nice people who helped them when grandma was in hospice.
The next couple months were really hard. Mom and Dad were supposed to be getting married, but Mom would just lay on the couch crying. Dad didn’t know how to help her, so I stepped in. You see, sometimes, there are no words to be said that will comfort. Sometimes, the comfort is in the presence of another being. That’s why animals are so special. We seem to get that better than humans. Slowly, Mom seemed to cry less, and while I knew she was still sad, she started to get back on her feet…just in time for her wedding! *phew!* I think Mom knew then that I would be a great therapy animal.
Walter: I never planned on being a therapy animal. I was burned by my previous owner and humans scared the heck out of me! Even if I eventually learned to trust Mom and Dad, there are some pretty mean humans out there! But last year, Mom had surgery. I will admit, I am a Momma’s boy, and I knew I had to help take care of her. So I laid by her every day, just to make sure she was okay. Maybe I was a little overprotective, but even if she got up to get some water, there I was, by her side. So apparently, after this, Mom thought I might be ready to become certified. Man, I never knew what I was missing out on! It is a straight hour of head pets…..amazing!!! I think Betsy and I have a pretty good gig going now!
You two are kind of like superheroes at The Ronald McDonald House. Do you have any special moments that stand out?
Walter: I wouldn’t call us superheroes, but we do love putting smiles on the kids faces. There was this one little boy who seemed pretty sick….he had a feeding tube and had lost his hair. I hopped right up to him and he giggled and clapped and jumped up and down! It made me feel pretty good that we could give him something else to think about.
Betsy: There was also a time we went to a hospice facility and we were supposed to visit this little girl. Mom got a phone call on the way saying the little girl had already passed, and if we didn’t want to go, we didn’t have to. Well, you know how we love our head pets, so we decided to go anyways. When we got there, a group of people were in the hallway, crying. There was a younger lady, about Mom’s age, who was crying really hard. She seemed to know right away why we were there, and she came right up to us. Crying, she leaned down to me and put her forehead on mine. She said, “Therapy rabbits? Yes, yes you are.” We like to think we gave her a little comfort in the midst of her daughter’s passing.
You two are much larger than me. I eat a lot and weigh in under five pounds. I’m curious what you two eat in a day. My favorite snack is blueberries. Do you have a favorite (pretty sure I already know the answer to this one)?
Walter: Oh Suzie, you know this is a FAVORITE topic of mine! I LOVE to eat! One time Mom even caught me on the kitchen counter licking nacho cheese dip! Boy was she upset! She made me eat hay for the whole next day because apparently rabbits aren’t supposed to eat nacho cheese dip! On a normal day, Betsy and I split about 18 cups of greens. We get a pretty good mix, normally romaine, dandelion, bok choy, fennel, dill, cilantro, and parsley. During the summer we get basil too, which we love! Mom doesn’t like to buy all those treats from the store, so we normally get human food as a treat. We love apple, raspberries, watermelon, blueberries, and oranges (without the seeds)…but our absolute FAVORITE is banana! I could eat banana all day long! Mom says that is how she tells when I am not feeling well. If I don’t want banana, I have to go to the vet. We also get a small amount of pellets (about 1/4 cup each) and unlimited hay everyday. Speaking of this, if you could let Michelle know we charge a banana/hour for interviews, that would be great. 😉
Is there anything you would like our readers to know about you two? Or Flemish Giants in particular?
Betsy: We clean ourselves like cats (we should NEVER be bathed, except under the supervision of a rabbit savvy vet) and use a litter box, so we do not need to be let out. We may not be difficult to take care of, but we require a ton of attention! We are prey animals, so we hide illness very well. If you decide to get a rabbit, you need to learn your rabbit’s tendencies and routine, so if even the littlest thing is off, you notice and get us to the vet immediately (even if it means calling in sick to work!).
We are very intelligent and social, and will be your best friend and companion if you let us. Rabbits can live 10-13 years (larger breeds about 7-9 years), so we are a commitment. We aren’t an animal to be kept in a cage all the time, especially at our size! Mom says we have the needs of a cat with the personality of a social cat or dog. Every rabbit is different, though, so learning your rabbits personality and likes/dislikes will make for a lasting relationship.
Walter: And if all else fails, just give your rabbit banana.
**PLEASE NOTE from Jenn Eckert, BETSY WAS OUR FIRST RABBIT, AND WE WERE INEXPERIENCED AT THE BONDING PROCESS. THIS IS CLEARLY NOT A GOOD WAY TO BOND, AS WE FOUND OUT (BUT GOT LUCKY WITH THE OUTCOME)**