For going on two years, Waldo has kept us guessing.
In 2014, the fourth in a 4-H market rabbit project was delivered to the sanctuary. An attempt to contain the white rabbit, a Californian with a smudge of soot framing its ears and one rosy eye, resulted in a wilting creature. So we turned it out on the eight fenced acres for the day. The day became night into morning, then days as the rabbit did not want to be caught.
Live trapping efforts captured a raccoon and Snoopy the fox terrier (on separate occasions). We decided that the rabbit was on its own.
Rabbit sightings became a game. We named him Waldo, as in “Where’s…” When horrid cold arrived on Oct. 31, 2014 and settled in to stay, we put out food. This was eaten by the goats. Sure that Waldo was no more, it was a bright surprise when, on the first clear warming day, we saw Waldo nibbling on sprouts under the cedars. Waldo became a symbol of hope, for spring as well as the strength of the indomitable spirit. We found bolt holes carved in the hillside, at the bases of several trees, and under every outbuilding, including the port-a-let near Red Fox Cabin.
All fears that Waldo would crossbreed with wild rabbits evaporated as we observed the white rabbit chase Eastern cottontails from the sanctuary and beyond its borders.
A couple of months ago a neighbor asked if we would take in two more Californians. We separated the male from the female and have just found a home for her. Waldo seemed to disregard the male completely until it disappeared one night. Waldo remained king.
WAS king, until Waldo was queen.
Yesterday morning I turned around from filling the water buckets and tubs and saw a white ball of fur bounce from below the south deck. Three more followed.
Apparently, that male rabbit didn’t disappear fast enough.
It’s now Sunday evening. Steve caught up three and they are in the hutch. The fourth has his or her (we will never assume one or the other again) mother’s smarts and is eluding capture. But we’ll (Steve) keep trying. They are free to a good home, preferably one apiece in four good homes. Our purpose does not include allowing the animals who come here to procreate, and we don’t encourage it elsewhere. That’s how so many of them become homeless in the first place.
Waldeen/Waldette will have a little operation of her own before the snow thaws with spring. She will, just as soon as we can catch her.