“Kellie is a bulldozer of dirt, a TV-watcher, a chair Hopper, and a pick-up stick-and-run-with-it kind of rabbit.”
It was last October when the pure-white rabbit, Kellie, was brought to HSSA’s Admissions Department. A member of the public had found her outside and recognized that this stray, domesticated rabbit needed help. In fact, upon her medical exam, it was discovered that Kellie was pregnant and could be expected to deliver her bunnies at any time. Just a few hours later, she was in a foster home where she could be safe and comfortable as she nested and prepared for what came next.
By this point in Kellie’s life - living as a stray, entering the shelter, and delivering her young in a foster home – she had experienced more hardship than most pet rabbits face their entire lives. After delivering her young, Kellie returned to the shelter to await her own adoption. And wait she did, despite one amazing fact about this big, beautiful rabbit: Kellie brims with personality. She leaves an impression on everyone that interacts with her. For some, encountering a strong, alpha-female rabbit can be daunting.
Strong-willed and in-charge, staff and fosters quickly came to know that interacting with Kellie was to be done on her terms, not yours. She had a reputation of being somewhat temperamental and would charge and huff at anyone who tried to pet her or pick her up. It can be a shock to hear a rabbit growl at you! This reputation was well-earned and respected by everyone who cared for her. Of course, this also hurt her likelihood of adoption.
Concerned for her prospects of finding her forever home, HSSA Adoption Counselor Rick Givens worked with Kellie while she was in the shelter engaging her with a new treat each day. He was one of the very few she trusted enough to handle and pet her. HSSA’s Lost and Found Technician, Jennifer Stone, developed a ground-breaking pocket pet socialization program to help pets like Kellie. Through this program, Kellie further improved her interactions with people. It was also evident to those that spent any time with her that Kellie was intelligent and keenly aware, and that proper patience and respect would reveal her deeper, gentler nature.
The pocket pet socialization program was suspended with the arrival of COVID-19. Luckily, Kellie had shown tremendous improvements by this time. It was again up to selfless foster care volunteers to provide Kellie with the love and faith (and treats!) she needed and deserved. Her fosters each told the same story of how this grumpy girl bunny had touched their hearts deeply and personally. They each talk of her intelligence and soulfulness.
Each also describes with pride and wonder the little victories of having Kellie trust them enough to playfully nudge them, or take food from their hand, or – greatest of triumphs – give permission to be petted.
Kellie is a very special rabbit. The very next day after her foster Aerielle brought her to the shelter for her Humanely Speaking photoshoot, Kellie was adopted by an experienced pet owner who was able to provide her with her perfect forever home. She would have never made it there if not for the efforts of so many people on each step of Kellie’s journey, giving her their love and earning her trust along the way. Kellie touched many people with her unforgettable attitude and rich and unique personality. Fosters and staff keep detailed behavioral and medical notes on file for each pet. Reading through Kellie’s from the beginning of her stay until her happy adoption, one note can be seen over and over: “She’s a little sassy.”
Kellie was given a second chance to find her forever family thanks to HSSA’s dedicated staff and volunteers. Make an appointment to meet other adoptable pocket pets today.
To learn more about adopting a pocket pet, like Kellie, visit www.HSSAZ.org/Adopt
or give an adoptions counselor a call at 520-327-6088, ext. 173.