I grew up in the countryside, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland, Australia. We had pets galore. Cats, dogs, horses, cows and even a few goats at one stage! Rabbits are actually illegal to keep as pets in Queensland:
We now live in The Hague in the Netherlands though and rabbits are a common family pet. After moving between Australia and the Netherlands several times (see my Dutch Australian blog for more on this), we have now settled long term in a lovely area. I grew up on a 25 acre property in Maleny, and the last house we owned in Kallangur, Queensland had a 1325m square back yard, and the house we’ve bought here has a tiny back yard in comparison. Considering how densely populated the Netherlands is though, we’ve done well. Most importantly – we have plenty of room for 2 rabbits! So Mr Bean (the darker colour) and Phoebe have joined our family recently.
Mr Bean belonged to a friend who relocated to New Zealand, and the other to a friend whose daughter turned out to be allergic. So both have come to live in our back yard. I’ve learned loads on the internet over the last few weeks about how to care for and bond bunnies – like people, they often don’t immediately get along. It’s funny, spending the last few weeks trying to set the conditions for these two to play nicely together is very much like being a parent! And it seems to have worked.
The girls love them, and I have to say that I’m enjoying it just as much. My husband wasn’t super keen but I’ve caught him sneaking them fresh carrots and kale from his prized garden so I think he may like them just a little…
What I’ve been most pleasantly surprised by is how the “energy” in the family changes in a positive way when you have a pet. Bunnies in particular are not only super cute, they really have lovely personalities! Very playful and curious. Though they are a lot of work and commitment – and I wasn’t really sure I had time for that as I’m already balancing work and family – the benefits are great. I’ve found watching their antics has really lifted my mood since they have arrived and of course there is the age-old argument that having pets will help my children learn more about responsibility, and one day, the cycle of life and death. It will make going away on holidays more of a challenge but I’m sure we’ll find some solution.
Do you have pets? How have they become part of your family? -Renee