Well… We've Done It Again…

There’s animal people…and then there’s animal people. I fall under the second category.  Now, I’m not talking reality-show, animals-piled-to-the-top-of-the-ceiling-animal hoarders, but we’re a multiple-pet household. Not only that, but a multiple species household.  And now we’ve gone and done it again…

Meet our newest family member!

As a newlywed, I had a cat who’d been my kitty and best buddy since I was eleven.  She really loved me. She hated my husband.  Try as he might to win her heart, she’d hiss and scratch whenever he was near.  So we got another cat, one that would be “ours”.  Then a dog, Teddy, who we then felt needed a buddy, so we got another dog, Phoebe.  Then we met Apollo, a doberman who’d been so badly abused before being rescued, it wasn’t positive he’d make it. He was desperately in need of a home, and so easy to love.  When another doberman rescue needed a home, you guessed it…we took in Dino, too.

Dino the Doberman

Audrey and Phoebe share a tender moment.

When my old, sweet kitty fell ill, my vet introduced me to a homeless cat, Badger, who needed someone to love him.  These were our ‘pseudo-kids’, before our daughter was born. Apollo lived seven years with us, passing away at the ripe age of thirteen, a month before our daughter was born. When she arrived into the world, we had three dogs, three cats, and a turtle. We were always compared to that Christmas carol.  All we were missing was a partridge.

As the years wore on, we lost animals to cancer and old age, but haven’t found our home or hearts empty from the pitter-patter (and sometimes loud crash) of four-legged, furry, finned, and/or shelled creatures. The proverbial apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and my daughter loves animals. “Animal obsessed” is how one teacher described her.  Audrey’s got a big heart, wanting to love and care for any animal in need. We’ve become “that” home again, the one with multiple pets: a dog, two cats, two fish, four hermit crabs…and now a bunny.

During the heat wave a few weeks ago, our house felt like an oven, even with air-conditioning.  The heat was inescapable, and even our fish’s water felt overly warm.  Pumpkin, our betta, started looking ragged around the tail and fin.  On “family day”,  we decided to grab a pizza and eat it in the park near where we had errands. Waiting for our lunch, we ducked into a pet supplies store to see what we could do for our fish. (For reference, it’s called “Betta Fix” a $3.00 water additive made of Malaluca Oil.  Worked like a charm.  Pumpkin’s now on his fourth or fifth life, I think). By the counter, on the floor, sat a little crate with the cutest little bunny.  My daughter suffers from the same affliction I do, lacking the ability to pass by anything covered in fur without turning into a melted puddle of mush.  My husband, realizing what was about to happen, tried to make a dash for the door.  Too late.  Both of us were smitten by the little ball of fluff, and despite his protests, we girls were asking how much said bunny cost.

Turns out, she was free, and she came with all her bunny “belongings”. The young man working there found himself with too many bunnies, and wanted her to go to a good home.  Audrey had been asking for a bunny for several months, since attending a birthday party at a farm where the kids pet and cuddled baby bunnies, who were, coincidentally, for sale. I wasn’t there, and wasn’t about to let Audrey buy a pet without seeing if it was sickly or not. So here was this adorable, furry little soul looking to be adopted.   My husband had gone back to pick up our pizza.  Audrey and I bolted in, excited by the “bargain” bunny.  Shocking us both, he smiled at my daughter, saying, “Go get your bunny.”  The big softy.  (He checks on “Patches” first thing every morning, before he makes coffee).

We brought the bunny home, an adorable seven-month old Holland Lop. She’s mostly white, with soulful brown eyes and floppy brown ears to match, that ever so slightly drag the floor. The back of her neck and top of her head are extra-fuzzy, softer than cotton candy.  At three pounds, she’ll only gain about a half pound more.

Now, Patches isn’t a meat rabbit, but a “house bun”, a sweet addition to my suburban dream “mini farm”.   Her crate’s in the basement hallway. She loves her toys and toilet paper tubes.  We feed her Timothy hay and rabbit food, (no veggies until a year old). Her crate’s padded with fragrant Aspen wood shavings. (Never use cedar, it can make them deathly sick.  Caution…we saw cedar shavings in stores with bunnies still on the packaging).  We use a litter scooper to remove her waste, which goes into the compost bin.  It’s gold for the garden, so Patches earns her keep!  Pets should  be seen, not smelled, but there’s no odor in the house since we keep her home really clean.

Pets give us love, companionship, and make us laugh.  They’re family.

They’re also teachers.  They teach responsibility, patience, unconditional love, and how to say goodbye when time comes for them to cross the rainbow bridge. My daughter takes really good care of her pets.  We think with animals, the more the merrier, don’t you agree?


Farmgirl Hugs (and twitching noses)!  Until Next Time…Nicole

  1. Diana Henretty says:

    Love your story and your compassion for animals, I don’t know who is more blessed, the critters or you!
    Right now we have a 17 yr. old dog that sometimes gets me up 6x a night to go outside, a 18 yr. old Siamese that needs special care, a stray mama cat that we just found homes for her 4 babies and now cannot part with her, so she is ours,
    and 2 other house cats!
    I believe there are people placed on this earth just to show love and compassion to those who are not loved or have been mistreated, whether pets or people, finding room in their hearts for "just one more".
    Here’s hugs from the Ozarks this thundering, stormy morning! Diana

    Hi Diana!  Wow, your pup is 17!  That’s awesome, and I know you don’t mind getting up with your fur-baby during the night.  When one of my doggies got elderly and very picky at what he would eat (Apollo), I actually cooked three meals a day for him! Love how you have taken in and helped all those animals.  You are a special soul, indeed.  You are so right, all of our animals are our blessings.  Big hugs right back to you, and to all your dear, sweet fur-babies!  -Nicole

  2. Laurie Dimino says:

    Oh Nicole,
    Patches looks so similar to our Riley! We have had Riley for about a year and a half. She is actually in a huge outdoor hutch, and yes…her rabbit gold fertilizer goes straight into my gardens. And, we too just got another (indoor) bunny, the same way you did. He is a lion head, and was at the pet store for free with cage to a good home. My daughter named him Leroy. He is in our basement, and gets much love and attention, and in return brings us much joy. In fact every time I go downstairs to do laundry he instantly comes running over to the side of his hutch, so that I will scratch between his ears. He is a love!
    Congratulations on your new addition…together we are each building our own mini farms, here in suburbia! (Chickens next for you???? Can’t remember if you are allowed to have them in your town)
    My girls that I got back in April should hopefully start to lay in about 6 weeks. We are excited to see the different colored eggs they will bring us. My "older girls" are in retirement mode and are no longer reliable layers, but we still greatly enjoy their personalities!
    Please tell Audrey , this Long Island fellow farmgirl sends her best, and to have fun lovin Patches!
    Hugs to both of you!

    Hi Laurie!  Everytime you leave a comment, I realize how very much we have in common!  I just can’t wait to meet you.  I know when we finally do meet face to face, it will a great, big, fun gab-fest! 

    I love the names your bunnies have been given.  And yes, I can’t wait to get my chickens.  Been saying it for years, but have so many other things to get to first.  This year, for sure.  I’ve got the area cleared out where I will put the henhouse.

    Our bunny purrs at us and loves the top of her fuzzy head scratched.  She is so sweet. 

    Hugs right back to you and all of yours at your "mini farm", too! Can’t wait to meet up.  -Nicole

  3. Diane Loehr says:

    I loved your article and the photos. We are also a family of saving animals and it doesn’t take much for me to change my mind about taking them home once I have held them in my arms. This is why we have Herman (our cat), Alice (our rabbit which we saved at a farmers market), and we are going to be adding a small dog (from a rescue) soon I hope! We also had mice, hamsters, birds and betta fish. Looking for a maltese/mix or a dachshund, but definitely want an older dog and not a puppy. They are cute, but a lot of work! Good luck with your new addition! Animals are definitely worth having in our lives! 🙂

    Hi Diane!  Hope you get your new pup you are looking for.  So exciting!  I giggled at the part of how you saved your bunny from the farmer’s market!  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  4. Adrienne says:

    Congratulations on your latest addition! Looks like the "free love" movement continues from the ’60s to your home.

    Well, with furry creatures, yes, (giggles). Although I draw the line at indoor birds.  I’ve told my daughter she can adopt birds when she has a home of her own.  (Chickens not included in that rule, of course). – Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  5. Jan says:

    I am so happy that you have passed on your love of animals to your daughter! We are down to one cockatiel, one cat, one dog. We once had an iguana that grew to over 4 ft. long. My husband made ‘Little Ricky’ a custom cage, complete with smoke detector…
    Good luck with the fuzzy bunny..

    Hi Jan!  Sounds like you are in the same boat we are!  Love how your dh made "Little Ricky" such a ‘Home sweet Home’!  Love iguanas.  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  6. Sherry Lynn says:

    Love your postings. I have been a small town Farmgirl since 2008. My three adult children each left a pet when they left home. So we have an "empty nest" filled with a rooster, six chickens, one 18 year old cat, and four dogs – 10, 7, 6, and 2 years of age. Love my menagerie!

    Hi Sherry!  Sounds like my kind of household!  I’m sure that when my daughter leaves the nest, I may be left with a few animals that are "hers", too, which will be fine by me!  Thank you for reading and commenting!  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  7. Mindy says:

    We are an "Animal House" also, filled with furry friends. We also foster animals for the Humane Society here in Phoenix, Arizona. We just gave back 3 Australian Shepard puppies yesterday. Hopefully they will be adopted out this week.

    Mindy, A big thank you goes to you and those like you, who foster animals.  The sweet lady, Jess, who was the foster last year for our kitten, Mittens, worked so hard to take care of all the fosters in her care.  She amazed me.  I would find it so hard to give the fosters back…thank you again for what you do. -Nicole

  8. Barb says:

    Congrats on the bunny, so funny I was just remembering the "Ali cat" story. I wonder what will be next.

    Hi Barb!  Chickens.  Chickens will be next! Big hugs farmsister!  Miss ya-Nicole

  9. Marge Hofknecht says:

    Such a sweet little furry friend. My daughter was soft on animals, too. She brought home a stray cat who was a runt of the litter. She and I tried so hard to help that little kitty make it but it wasn’t to be. The little sweetie died right in my hands on a Friday evening. It was awful. But the good part is that after experiencing that little bit of cat we went to the local shelter the following Monday and brought home Lizzie. Lizzie lived with us for eighteen years before passing on into kitty heaven. I loved her so much; she was my constant companion whenever I was home. Enjoy your bunny because she won’t be a bunny for long. Soon she’ll be a beautiful rabbit with so much more to love. Marge

    Hi Marge!  Thank you for sharing your sweet story with me.  I like to think that when our fur-babies cross that rainbow bridge, they are waiting for us. Heaven wouldn’t be Heaven without them! Big farmgirl hugs to you, Nicole

  10. name Beverly says:

    Nicole I love this blog. The pictures of Audrey with Phoebe are precious. And with Mittens Kitten in her arms holding so tight. Cute. Love you,

    Hi Mom, Glad you liked it! Phoebe always was "Audrey’s other little mom".  She fussed over her so much, remember?  Miss you…Love, Nicole

  11. name Beverly says:

    Nicole I love this blog. The pictures of Audrey with Phoebe are precious. And with Mittens Kitten in her arms holding so tight. Cute. Love you,

    Hi Mom, Glad you liked it! Phoebe always was "Audrey’s other little mom".  She fussed over her so much, remember?  Miss you…Love, Nicole

  12. Joan says:

    Oh love your story and hints about the Beta. I had an ‘in house’ bunny – BunBun – oh what a joy for a long time. Good luck with yours and enjoy.
    God Bless

    Thank you, Joan!  We are really loving having Patches around.  Love your little bunny’s name. Happy to report that our Beta fish Pumpkin is as good as new! Thank you for commenting!  Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. Linda says:

    I fall under the 2nd category of animal lovers as well. When my dog was diagnosed with cancer, they gave him several weeks at best to live and I slept with him every night. A year later he was still doing well though he later needed surgery and died from complications. A few months passed and we rescued another dog. Life is so much better when family includes animals!

    Your little animal menagerie is adorable!

    Hi Linda,
    I’m sorry to hear of your loss of your dog, but I’m sure he knows how loved he was.  He was very blessed to have you for an owner,  glad to hear you have a new rescued fur-baby to love.  They really do bring so much joy.  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  14. Joey says:

    Hi Nicole,
    Thanks for the pics of your latest addition. SO cute! would love a bunny.
    When we lived on the farm we had 4 dogs and 6 cats. I’ve always had animals. We even travelled with our 2 labs until they passed on. Where we live now won’t let us have dogs and OH, how we miss them. We’re thinking about getting a cat. It just doesn’t seem normal not to have a fur baby. Rod just started volunteering with the pet shelter and he so enjoys it. Thanks for this post. Hugs, Joey

    Hi Joey!  How good to hear from you, farmgirl sister!  I’ve missed you and we need to catch up. You have been on my mind for sure. I know you and Rod would make the BEST fur-parents for some lucky little animal!  Big Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  15. Cassie says:

    We are most definitely kindred spirits when it comes to loving pets. I also have a multi-pet household and my furry friends are my greatest joy. If you are looking for a great place to buy online rabbit supplies or rabbit carrier cages I recommend http://yourrabbithutch.com/. I bought the cutest little carrier there for my little bunny Patches.

    Thanks, Cassidy! I will check it out.  Our Patches has really grown to be a treasured member of our family.  She is just the sweetest and knows we are her "family".  She’s even let me trim her claws with no issues!  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

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